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How one teacher linked a working wall to a learning journey

Monday, 16 September 2013

I’ve had an interesting contact from an Australian teacher who has sent a photo of his maths working wall. He used my idea from a blog this last year to link a learning journey to a working wall and it has been a real success for him. 

Have found it a really good process and worth the effort. Made us think about all the prior knowledge we needed to address and was excellent for giving the vocabulary a really good focus. When Hayley tested them, all students were able to identify at least two strategies to solve the problem and have a clear preference to one particular strategy.
Gary, Australia.

The focus was on commutative properties and using mental maths strategies to multiply 2-digit numbers. I’ve included Gary’s feedback as two things stand out:
working wall
  1. It ‘made us think about all the prior knowledge we needed to address’
Small steps of progression are useful for this, and in this case it highlights that a good grasp of place value is essential if pupils are partitioning numbers into tens and ones for calculation.
  1. It ‘was excellent for giving the vocabulary a really good focus.’

You might like to take a look at Gary's class blog In the Den with Room 1. He has a maths page and other work too on writing and science 
I like the idea of having a focus on one of the ways we represent the mathematics for the pupils – language, pictures, concrete experiences and symbols. This working wall highlighted appropriate vocabulary, whereas perhaps the next one could look at pictorial representation of the particular maths area.
Gary has had a look at my planning package too – Australian schools are in the middle of curriculum changes, and, as here in England, skills and concepts are being introduced earlier. I think that, whatever the changes a Government makes to a National Curriculum, it is getting the small steps of progression right, connecting areas of mathematics and using sound pedagogy that will ensure effective learning.

My planning scope and sequence is based on the National Curriculum here in England. However, I have written books for the Middle East, Africa and the Caribbean so know that the progression and approach would work for other countries too. Do let me know if you do use it for a different curriculum. 

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