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Teaching Approaches


Once your children are up and running with the online activities you will want to use them to support your teaching programme. Here is a quick summary of possible approaches, with links to further information.


The Online Activities


Whole-class investigations with pupils working in groups or pairs using tablets

The online investigations are ideally suited to children working in pairs using tablets, such as ipads.

The best approach is to gather all the children round a table and give them some teaching on a new concept using practical equipment as necessary. For suggestions of concepts to cover for the activities in the earlier levels, see the pdf Guide to the Wise Owls. Then give the children their own sets of the practical equipment and set them to work through an appropriate activity step by step together, with the more confident pupil(s) in the pair having the responsbility for ensuring that the other(s) fully understand everything and are fully engaged in the thinking.

1-1 tablets is best if you can manage it, as the pupils can then collect their own points as they work. You can have pupils working in pairs through one of the online investigations, specifying that the pupils have to keep pace with their partner, talking about the 'Think and Talk' pages together, but practising the skills pages individually. When they complete the investigation, they can then complete the corresponding quiz on their own.

If you don't have enough for 1-1 you can suggest that the pupil who has collected the least number of characters logs on and the other one can work through the activity again at home.

This peer-supported approach can be very effective for supporting the less confident pupils who might otherwise founder in whole-class work. All children are fully engaged the whole time and you are free to circulate and interact with groups and individuals at a deeper level, asking really probing questions to establish their level of understanding.

Blog Link: How can I teach the link between division and multiplication?

Blog Link: Tablet Team Work

Blog Link: Maths Investigations with Ipads


Small group using tablets with the rest of the class doing something else

If you only have a small number of tablets or laptops, it can be very effective to use the online Maths Investigations resources with a small group.

You can introduce an activity to the group using the interactive whiteboard, and then, once you are sure that they are all clear what to do, they can work through activities that you have set for them individually.

You are then free to support them or to move on to work with other groups in the class.

Blog Link: One of those beautiful moments

Blog Link: How do you motivate the mathematically challenged?

Blog Link: How can I challenge the high flyers at P3/Y2?


Quizzes and Stars Sessions

If you have set up activities for your pupils in the Our Activities section, if can be valuable to have a weekly session where they all work 1-1 on a tablet or laptop on their 'quizzes and stars', either tackling new Quizzes that you have set up for them, or returning to previous ones.

The children find these sessions very motivating and are likely to be fully on task the whole time. You are then free to circulate with the pupil record loaded on your own tablet, and use it to drill down to and discuss the specific questions that individual pupils have got wrong.

Blog Link: iPads one-to-one

Blog Link: Can your pupils score a hat trick?


Quizzes for Homework

If you have set up activities for your pupils in the Our Activities section, then one of your homeworks each week can be working on quizzes and stars.

I would normally direct pupils first to complete any new Quizzes set, then work on quizzes where they have previously scored less than 10 out of 10 and try to improve their scores.

After this they are free to go for stars on any of the quizzes they have done previously.


Whole-class lessons with the interactive whiteboard

Many of the online activities can be used effectively with the whole class to stimulate discussion. The Online Investigations provide a structured approach, while the Skill Checks, and Pattern Builders allow for more open-ended exploration.


The Photocopiable Activities


Whole-class interactive mental Maths sessions

Gather the children round on the carpet and play one of the interactive games with them. Try these for starters:

  • Wake up Chum
  • The Clock Rap
  • The Counting Stick
  • Thigh Clap Snap Snap

You could also try some teacher-led dialogue activities this way. These are listed in the photocopiable investigations section. The following would be good to cut your teeth on:

  • How many each and altogether?
  • How many fingers?
The general instructions for Using Dialogue will give you guidance on using these effectively.


Whole-class practising the same skill at different levels

Several of the resources allow you to have everyone practising their same skill, but each at their own level of challenge. Perfect differentiation!

Several of the photocopiable games lend themselves to this approach. You teach the game to the whole class first, making sure they are all completely clear of the rules, and then the children all select the level which is right for them.

The following would be good to start with:

  • The Counting Caterpillar
  • Tap Say Turn

If you have enough technology for one computer between two you can use the Pair Games in the same way and if you are lucky enough to have 1-1 you can having pupils setting their own questions using one or more of the Skill Checks.


Whole-class investigations with pupils working in teams

Many of the photocopiable investigations allow you to engage pupils in exploring a Maths topic, or a real-life context through an investigative approach. The best way to tackle these is to alternate whole-class teaching or discussion with team working, where pupils are given clear roles and are trained to ensure that every team member is involved in the thinking process. The guidance on Thinking Teams will help here.

The following are examples of investigations that can be used in this way:

  • Perimter and Area of Triangles and Quadrilaterals
  • Chopping Up a Metre Stick
  • Train Journey
  • How much snow would fill the classroom?

Blog Link: Let pupils take the lead in their learning

Blog Link: How much snow would fill the classroom?

Blog Link: How can you make 2D shape more interesting?


Self-marking, Self-differentiating Homework Sheets

The self-marking, self-differentiating homework sheets allow you to select a particular skill, and then set homework where pupils have to make up and answer 10 or 20 questions of their own.

When they have completed each question, they mark it using the appropriate online Skill Check and then adjust the difficulty of the next question accordingly.

The children are trained to mark their answers as they go along, so when the homework is handed in it is all marked for you, and you can focus on noting whether pupils have challenged themselves appropriately.

Parents and children love this approach, since the homework is no longer 'boring'.


Self-differentiating Homework

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Teacher Guide
  (tablet activities)



Quick Start Guide

How it Works

What you Need

Logging In

Getting the 'App'

The Owls



Your First Lesson

Colours and Stars

Tournaments, Triangles, Eggs

Curriculum Guides



Learning Ladder



Skill Checks

Pattern Builders

Pair Games

Our Activities

Points & Characters



Admin & Teacher Options

Creating Classes

Teacher Logins

Pupil Logins

Editing Class Lists

Setting up Activities

Monitoring Progress



General Guidance

Info for Parents

Teaching Approaches

Self-differentiating Homework

Maths Investigations - Challenging Children to Think about Maths