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 Post subject: Maths help for Year 7
PostPosted: Mon Jun 15, 2015 5:33 pm 
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Wonder if anyone can help.

One of my sons is really almost phobic about maths. His mood can go from good to bad in a nano scond when he is doing maths. The sad thing is he is good at it. Sits near the top of his class, does really well. However, at home, the second he gets a maths problem he cannot immediately solve in a moment, he loses it. We are always patient in helping him. This is not new - we had to do mental maths schofield and sims really carefully. He qualified in the 11+ and don't know maths mark, but suspect much lower than verbal. The thing is he wants to rush so much that he makes silly mistakes. If you are with him, he will chatter through a problem so quickly that you cannot follow him. He refuses to write down his steps in working out. This is ok if he is right, but if you notice a mistake and try to slow him down he turns into a whirling dervish of temper and stress, and we cannot help him.

I am e mailing his teacher, who is very pleased with his progress and his effort, so don't think he shows this at school.

But other than that, what can we do? This is in danger of really affecting his exam marks because he will panic, rush and make mistakes. Not a problem in Y7 but I guess I'm hoping it will improve......any encouraging stories??

Thanks


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 15, 2015 6:12 pm 
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Be interesting to know how much of the 'harder' maths they are actually doing in school or if lessons are a format of teaching, start the exercises with the easy questions , finish off for homework (when the trickier problems appear).
If this is the case it would explain why the issue doesn't arise in school.

It sounds possible that his maths brain is rushing away so when you stop him he can't find his thread and gets frustrated, which comes out as temper.

It could be that he has a natural talent for maths that will get him up to a certain point but possibly he isn't learning fundamental processes - he just 'sees' answers. Once he gets to harder maths this probably won't work and he will need to apply processes in a logical way.

The teacher should be making sure he shows his working in his homework so if he isn't doing this then the teacher should have some concerns.

Guest55 will have way more experience with this.
I would say he needs some unemotional one-to-one help in how he approaches his work and to check he has good skills in place that he can build on.

If the school can't provide this then a tutir for a few weeks might help but it would need to be a very good one!


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 15, 2015 7:27 pm 
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It's a problem I see most years and, as you say, usually with bright children who rarely get things wrong.

My first suggestion would be that he needs to see getting stuck as an opportunity to learn - I have a poster that says this in my classroom - perhaps if he read about some famous mathematicians e.g. Enigma code and how they had to work for ages on a problem?

The second is the word fail - 'first attempt in learning' is a better way to see it - no-one can get everything right first time. In fact if a pupil does then I'm not challenging them enough!

The third area is working out - a constant battle in Year 7 usually with boys who can 'see' the answer. I have to get tough and make them realise that communicating the answer and the thinking to get there actually is the maths and not just the number at the end! That's what makes a 'real' level 6 child ... and I mark down every piece of work that does not give some explanation - yes, it's hard but they won't get A* (or a 9 as it will be) at GCSE without setting out their thinking clearly.

You are welcome to pm me ...


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 15, 2015 8:09 pm 
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You are both spot on with his ability to 'see' the answers. And guest55 it's comforting (if frustrating for you) that this is a problem you meet fairly often with bright year 7 boys.
It doesn't help that he does seem to have a somewhat 'fixed growth' mindset and really struggles to see this idea of maths being a problem that you solve in an ongoing fashion, rather than question = answer pdq.
I hate to see the state he gets into, and of course it just winds me up so I have to walk away while I am still calm. I agree KB about a non emotionally involved third party at some stage, but I hope that can be his teacher.
I would PM you guest, but to be honest I'm not quite sure what to ask you next! We do try vey hard to expand his growth mindset, I have little sayings all over the house to that end, and, having been an o level fail followed by a B in retake thanks for someone taking the fear out, I know how powerful state of mind is in maths. In my adulthood, and with various maths explanations on YouTube etc (I appreciate not necessarily good for children, but great for me) I am understanding more than I ever did and it's only now I am seeing maths a beautiful. But I'm not a teacher and cannot convey it.

So.........enigma code, accepting 'first attempt at learning'. Rewards for showing working out at home maybe? Or just discuss with the maths teacher and take it from there?
You're right about the level 6, he has gone for them but has settled in a robust level 5 for now.

Thank you


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 15, 2015 8:48 pm 
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Would it help to look at a GCSE paper and see that you can't do Higher questions 'in your head'? Also there are questions where you need to give a reason for your answer - one board uses a * against these so pupils know there are marks for writing!

Geometry is also a topic where they need to not just say what the angle is but why e.g. angles in a triangle add to 180. You don't get the mark without the reason.

Would he look at NRICH problems? I like the statement on there "There is a difference between not knowing and not knowing yet." Sheila Tobias

https://nrich.maths.org/students

Do they do the UKMT challenges?

Maths is so much more than 'sums' ...


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 15, 2015 9:00 pm 
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'Yet' one simple word that has helped encourage a growth mindset in our house.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 15, 2015 9:02 pm 
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Guest55 wrote:
Would it help to look at a GCSE paper and see that you can't do Higher questions 'in your head'? Also there are questions where you need to give a reason for your answer - one board uses a * against these so pupils know there are marks for writing!

Good idea, I'll see if I can get one.

Geometry is also a topic where they need to not just say what the angle is but why e.g. angles in a triangle add to 180. You don't get the mark without the reason.

That might be a good place to start as he is relatively calm about those. The flash points are algebra in equations (again, he can do the ones you can 'see' 4x + 12 = 20 type as he can almost guess the answer. He can do the ones where you cancel out one side and balance them too, but we always go through much hair tearing first.....) and the other is the more 'hidden' ones like "I think of a number, I double it, I etc etc, what was the first number? Anything that needs 'steps' so that all fits with what you say.

Would he look at NRICH problems? I like the statement on there "There is a difference between not knowing and not knowing yet." Sheila Tobias

This looks like a great site, the difficulty is getting him to loom at it when he doesn't have to, but I Wil try as it looks really good. He does mymaths too.

https://nrich.maths.org/students

Do they do the UKMT challenges?

They do a weekly maths challenge with a prize, which he avoids, but I'll print it off this week......

Thank you so much :D

Maths is so much more than 'sums' ...


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 15, 2015 9:16 pm 
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I am suddenly faced with this problem with my YR 9 dd. She has never liked maths but has always done well enough to end up in top table at primary and top set in Secondary but suddenly she seems to be struggling. I have resorted to a tutor as her school maths teacher does not want her to move down a set but dd is not confident with the teaching she is getting but wants to improve as she really wants to do computing. She has only had 2 sessions so far but she already seems much happier. I wish I could help her at home really but we would just rub each up the wrong way. :?


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 15, 2015 9:18 pm 
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Edexcel past papers - look at higher papers - the first half of the paper are all grade D/C - Maths (Syllabus A) June 2104 paper 2 Q7 typical geometry question. Question 6 and 11 are multi-stage - not advised to do those in your head!

http://qualifications.pearson.com/en/su ... e10-mathsa

UKMT challenges:

http://www.ukmt.org.uk/individual-compe ... challenge/

All our Y7s and 8s do these - not all good mathematicians do well as they seem to attract a particular 'type' of maths brain.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2015 7:13 am 
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These are great Guest, thank you. I would say that more than anything else this week, these GCSE papers helped illustrate how the workings out are so important, as the marks allocated for showing them were actually written in black and white on the answer sheet.
Also, that even the back half of the paper is mostly stuff he has already done, certainly in a basic way and all of the non-calculator paper, so, although of course still a long way to go, carefully selected it was also quite a confidence boost for him that he IS capable.

Add to that that the teacher, who I got in touch with, was really helpful and got the class to do a mock exam paper in exam conditions and he got a level 6a, this hopefully may eventually get through, though I suspect its work in progress.

Thanks very much for your help


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