quick quiz

Do you teach maths in a primary school? If so I need your help? The decision to drop a single student mathematics text book from all grades was made several years ago at my school. As a result we use a variety of resources when planning and delivering maths lessons. In stage three this year, we are guided by the series ‘Go Maths. Go Maths is topic based, each unit contains a series of five lessons and an investigation. Each lesson starts with a question to promote discussion and develop number sense, this is followed by a series of mental maths problems, then an activity and finally a worksheet.

So why do I need your help? Let me try and explain. I have just spent the past two weeks of my holidays programming our Go Maths units for next term. I am planning these units for three different maths groups. So in my planning I have to attempt to second guess exactly what resources, ideas, worksheets, videos, links etc each teacher will need for the unit. In order to assist us and for the benefit of future planning I have been building each unit of five lessons and an investigation in SMART notebook. Last term I was lucky enough to only have to modify previous units created by the amazing @karenfalcs who kindly gave me ones she had created previously. This term though I was on my own, so I have now created nine SMART notebook files one for each unit. Every lesson has a daily number sense, a quick number quiz with answers followed by links to possible worksheets, links to possible explanatory videos, links to possible websites, links and ideas for games and more. Fabulous I hear you say, what a great resource. And indeed they are. Except that each unit has taken me a minimum of eight hours to prepare.

I know that once I start teaching these mathematics units all the work will seem worthwhile. I know also though that depending on the day, the stage or the students I will almost certainly ditch some lessons and extend others.I know that no matter how hard I have tried to second guess their needs I will not have fully managed to do it.

So why do I need help? Well my question today is what do you do? How do you plan your mathematics units or lessons? Is is worth my spending so much time on just one subject?

  • Do you use a text book and work your way through it?
  • Do you spend hours trying to find just the right video to help explain a concept, tearing your hair out at just how many truly bad ones there are out there?
  • Do you use online resources, if so which one?
  • Do you create Power Points or SMARTboard files in the hope you will use them again one day?
  • Do you have the time to prepare your maths lessons daily? If so how on earth do you manage?


Just how do you ensure you are the most effective mathematics teacher you can be?

Other posts on the teaching of Maths.

Teaching Year 5 Mathematics

Another year of Mathematics draws to a close

Leave a Reply


  1. Lee Emerson

    Your problem isn’t just a maths one. It’s a curriculum content one. If you’re too prescriptive with your planning then in effect you’re narrowing your learning “window”. And what part do the kids play in all this? What prior knowledge do they have in key areas? What flexibility are the teachers AND the kids left with to pursue areas of interest and challenge. Some of the best learning experiences are unplanned. Maybe more planning of strategies rather than content would be more effective…

  2. I am a Primary Prac student, and a Secondary Teacher for 15 years. Good practice is using the syllabus (Use NSW Board of Studies K-6 stage 3) to guide you as to what content to cover. What you wnat to do is work on the strategies and skills components. In the NSW syllabus, this is called “Working Mathematically”. 8 hours is way too long per lesson for planning. You should program briefly for the term; and once you have a feel as to how students are grasping the concepts and skills; then move one. There are many resources online that other teachers have used and created – Don’t reinvent the wheel. Just make sure you give credit to the creator of the source. Good Luck. I am happy to help you.

  3. Thank you for your kind words and offer of help Claudine. I most certainly do use the syllabus especially the ideas it contains in the section of work samples.Striking the right balance between planning in advance and going with the daily flow is certainly a tricky one and one I will continue to strive for.

  4. Hello..

    You should program briefly for the term; and once you have a feel as to how students are grasping the concepts and skills; then move one. I most certainly do use the syllabus especially the ideas it contains in the section of work samples.

  5. Liz

    Check out Maths 300!