Low Attainers in Primary Mathematics: The Whisperers and the Maths Fairy

By Jenny Houssart | Go to book overview

6

Written work

As the children came to the mat, the teacher remarked that they would be working in their books today. Claire said, 'I love sums, I love writing in my book.' The first task on the mat involved children being chosen to write on the board. After two children had been chosen, Claire said, 'I want a go.'


Introduction

This chapter concerns what I will loosely call written work, though 'recorded' might be more accurate, as writing of words was less common that recording numbers, symbols and calculations. Mostly this chapter is about children working from worksheets or in their maths books. The chapter will consider issues about recording mathematics including the writing of numbers and symbols and the use of written methods of calculation. My observations show that many children had difficulty with the reading and recording involved in written tasks and therefore performed poorly compared to their performance in similar tasks presented in an oral or mental way. For a small number of children, the opposite was the case and they actually did better on written tasks than on comparable practical or mental tasks. Standard written methods helped some children but appeared to confuse others. However, the same thing happened when a teacher introduced non-standard methods.


Background

Worksheets, schemes, textbooks in primary maths in England

In discussing changes in primary mathematics in England, Brown (1999) talks about commercial mathematics schemes. A key part of

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Low Attainers in Primary Mathematics: The Whisperers and the Maths Fairy
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgements vii
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - The Children 8
  • 2 - Maths Talk 24
  • 3 - Mental Work 41
  • 4 - Number Equipment 57
  • 5 - Practical Work 74
  • 6 - Written Work 91
  • 7 - Calculators and Computers 109
  • 8 - Easy Tasks, Hard Tasks, Elastic Tasks 127
  • 9 - Assessment Tasks 145
  • 10 - Conclusion 163
  • Index 177
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