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Introducing Rainbow Maths at Bowmansgreen Primary School Wednesday 14 th January 2015

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Fluency in the new National Curriculum One of the three aims of the new curriculum states that pupils (of all ages, not just primary children) will: become fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics, including through varied and frequent practice with increasingly complex problems over time, so that pupils develop conceptual understanding and the ability to recall and apply knowledge rapidly and accurately.

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What is mathematical fluency? Mathematical fluency is the ability to recall number facts, to know when to use these number facts and to be able to apply these readily to a range of situations. There are certain aspects of maths that children need to be fluent in. Children need to be fluent in addition, subtraction and multiplication bonds. This is not an end in itself but so that the children’s working memory can be freed up when tackling other, often more engaging aspects of maths. Knowing these facts enables children to focus upon understanding the concept of fractions, for instance or to solve problems.

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What is Rainbow Maths? Rainbow maths involves a series of steps towards the end of the Rainbow that enable practice and testing on number bonds and multiplication tables.

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When does Rainbow Maths take place? Rainbow maths is timetabled after lunch for 10 minutes for years 1 to 5. This happens every day to ensure consistency throughout the school and to allow rapid progress! Year 6 do Rainbow maths sessions during the maths lesson starter because of timetabling requirements.

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What are the expectations for our children? We now have very high expectations! These are from the new National Curriculum and apply to all primary aged children. Year 1 “Represents and uses number bonds and related subtraction facts within 20” Year 2 2, 5, 10 x table and division facts Year 3 3, 4, 8 x table and division facts Year 4 All tables and division facts up to 12 x 12 Year 5 “Multiplies and divides numbers mentally using known facts” e.g. 50 x 6 = 300 Year 6 “Continues to use all known facts to calculate mental statements with increasing complexity”

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What are the stages of learning in Rainbow maths? There is a system of stages to challenge children and these are in order of the colours of the rainbow. Red level Addition and subtraction facts to 10 We start with facts to 5 and build up. We use concrete apparatus to teach before using number tracks rather than lines.

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Orange level Addition and subtraction facts to 20. Bridging through 10 using apparatus to develop mental images and then without. Use the Numicon 10 frames and rods or multilink to fill up from bottom left to top and then start again bottom right. Use two colours to make this clear. Alternatively use egg box 10 frames and small cubes.

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Yellow level 0, 2, 5 and 10 x tables We use equipment to support learning. We use a variety of methods e.g. Songs, chants. We also use arrays and look for patterns on 100 square. We refer to division facts so that the children make the connection between multiplication and division.

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Green level 3, 4, 9 and 11 x tables As above, we continue to use equipment to support learning and a variety of methods. We continue to connect multiplication and division facts.

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Blue level 6, 7, 8 and 12 x tables

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Indigo level Up to 12 x 12 and division facts

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Violet level For two days a week; Children revisit basic skills revising multiplication facts up to 12x12 and division facts, or for example, find common factors and multiples, prime numbers. For three days a week; Problem solving to apply these skills.

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How do we assess children? Testing happens when we feel that children are ready to move to the next level. We need to make sure that we are not over testing, rather than teaching, particularly in the younger age groups. However, children need the opportunities to be extended if they have completed a level. To move to the next level children have to complete the assessment accurately within 2 minutes (30 questions). Where children are working below age related expectations, they are given opportunities to have some access to age related learning as well as working at their level. For instance, they may be working at yellow level but they join in and say times tables with the rest of the class at times.

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We display a chart like this in the classrooms and the children are proud to see their achievements and progress.

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How do we reward success? When children complete a level successfully, they can receive a certificate to take home.

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How can I help my child to succeed? Talk to your child about Rainbow maths and find out which level they are working towards and take it from there. One of the most powerful things you can do is to link maths to real life – ‘mathematise’ experiences. (Freudenthal). Look for opportunities to use and apply times tables and addition and subtraction facts to every day activities – this is meaningful to children. Use objects to support counting in 2’s eg. knife and fork on dinner table. There is evidence from research that children learn best when they are enjoying themselves! There are many times tables games available online and children are much more likely to be motivated by playing games than rote learning from a book – Woodlands Junior Kent is always a great website to visit but there are many others. Alternatively, you can download many free apps, for instance on iphone or ipad. At shops such as WHSmith there are many workbooks that you can buy, to help practise times tables and number facts. Try to choose one together as different children are motivated by different things – some love collecting stickers for instance. A golden rule for work at home is that little and often is better than a long frustrating session! Try to work with your child when they are not tired and try to involve them in the decision making process about what you choose to do together. Above all, be a good maths role model and let them see that you value the importance of maths! Adults are far more likely to put down their own maths abilities and express strong dislikes about maths and this can effect children. You don’t hear many adults saying that they are useless at reading and that they hated it at school but it is common to hear this about maths! We believe that all children can achieve to the best of their potential if they are given good teaching and we have high expectations! Thank you for supporting us with this at home.

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