Online digital curriculum resources are game changers at an inner-city primary

 Online digital curriculum resources have proved to be game changers at Snowsfields Primary School in London, which has been using the Mathletics, Reading Eggs and Spellodrome online maths and literacy  digital resources from 3P Learning as part of its efforts to improve results as it moved from an Ofsted rating of ‘requires improvement’ to ‘good with some outstanding teaching’.  Acting assistant head and maths subject leader Zohra Benotmane explains how the resources have made a significant impact on children’s learning, particularly in improving the profile of maths within the school.

 

About the school

Snowsfields Primary School in Southwark, London is a one-form entry, inner city school, very close to London Bridge and within walking distance of some of the capital’s greatest attractions – which also make fantastic teaching and learning resources - such as the Thames, Tate Modern and Shakespeare’s Globe theatre. There are 28 pupils in each class, with the majority from minority ethnic groups. The proportion speaking English as an additional language is above average at close to 60 per cent and pupil premium children is also well above average. It has a dedicated resource unit for children with autism which takes 14 children from Reception through to Year 6 (age 4 to 11), with two pupils per year group. It is situated in three purpose-built rooms, but most pupils will integrate into the mainstream school for varying lengths of time during the week. 

 

The challenges faced
As a fully inclusive school we take a wide range of pupils with differing skills and abilities and a varied spectrum of needs.  All teaching is planned to develop outstanding learners who, among other things, have high expectations of themselves, take responsibility for their learning and use a range of resources and strategies effectively. We want ‘I can” children.

To promote this, we foster a culture where children have ownership of their learning. We want to ensure lessons are fun, interesting and accessible. It’s also vital that we recognise and praise their efforts and celebrate all successes and achievements.

When children have special educational needs we make every effort to give extra help in the usual classroom setting. This may mean that some children are given similar work to the rest of the class, but at a different level of difficulty.

 

The solution

I first came across 3P Learning and Mathletics five years ago when I was a Year 6 teacher. My topic was the rainforest and I was having trouble finding suitable activities related to that around maths. I discovered Mathletics, which had this link to the rainforest – and more!  I liked what I saw and so I pleaded for the school to buy it for one year. They did - and after which there was no turning back.

The children loved the interaction from the start. It was the first platform where they could compete and they especially loved the element of competition and the World Maths Day.  

Over the years we began to investigate some of the other tools that Mathletics offers, such as the courses that we could set up for the students and the lesson plans we could use as teaching tools.  There were, and there still are, many many positive resources, really powerful ones, that make a difference to pupils’ learning and teachers’ planning, homework, revision and so on. Mathletics is now thoroughly embedded in the teaching cycle. Since then we have begun to use Spellodrome and Reading Eggs in our literacy lessons and these resources are proving popular too.

 

The benefits

All the children love Mathletics– it’s now embedded into our teaching practice and I think it has made a significant impact on the children’s learning overall.  Crucially I have noted a clear link between a pupil’s SATs results and the number of times that child logged on to Mathletics.  Our SATs results in both Maths and English have been improving year on year and our use of 3P's resources has contributed to this success. 

Secondly, it has given maths a far higher status within the school, a more cool status, thanks to the avatars and all the other incentives and certificates.  It has really put maths at the forefront of their learning. The fact that it is highly interactive has really given the children the incentive to say; ‘I’m going to have a go here – let me see what this is all about’.

Because they are based on a system of ‘challenge and reward’ these resources definitely help us fulfill our aim of celebrating pupils’ achievements. It also promotes differentiated learning because the class teacher can set the level at which an individual student is working, without that child being aware if that level is higher or lower than others in the class. 

One of the most pleasing outcomes of all is that 95 per cent of our students now list maths as their favourite subject – it has even overtaken sport.

 

What does a typical ICT Maths Lesson at Snowsfields Primary look like?

After introducing the lesson objective on the whiteboard, we usually begin with some whole class work using a Mathletics curriculum activity, with the children working on mini-whiteboards.   

Children then move onto about 10 minutes of independent work with related eBook activities. Unfinished activities are often completed in class or set as homework.

The main part of the lesson uses a Mathletics curriculum topic, which I sometimes create myself for a specific lesson, using the ‘Courses’ facility.   The children work through the activities at their own pace, accessing the ‘Support’ feature when they need help.

Pupils then consolidate their learning, usually using a problem-solving activity from the eBooks which I display on the whiteboard.  

Sometimes the focus of the lesson is for pupils to beat their best scores.  After the starter activity, pupils move straight onto the curriculum topic.  Before beginning their activities, each pupil takes a screen shot of their gold, red and blue reward bars. They then have 20 minutes or so to improve their best scores.  We then stop, assess any misconceptions and move back to the activities.  At the end of the lesson, pupils take another screenshot and examine their progress.

 

 

For further information on 3P Learning please visit 3Plearning.com

For Mathletics please visit http://www.3plearning.com/mathletics

For Reading Eggs please visit http://www.3plearning.com/readingeggs/

For Spellodrome please visit http://www.3plearning.com/spellodrome/

 

     
   
   
 
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