Big Maths is a scheme that we use to develop children's mathematical fluency and recall of facts and ideas. It is based upon five principles:
- Children become numerate through following a natural sequence of progression – we call these steps ‘Progress Drives’.
- Children need to have basic skills in order to use them – we call these basic skills ‘Core Numeracy’ and the use of them ‘Outer Numeracy’.
- Children acquire the basic skills through CLIC: a four stage process:
Counting (children learn to count and to ‘count on’)
Learn Its (children recall their ‘counting on’ as facts).
It’s Nothing New (children then ‘swap the thing’ to realise that the counting fact, or ‘Learn It’, can be applied to any object, amount or unit of measure).
Calculation (the previous 3 phases are combined to provide a calculation structure).
- Children need a structured and regular basic skills session in order to become properly numerate. We will hold a daily CLIC session, with plenty of repetition, revisiting and reinforcement to ensure children keep moving up the Progress Drives.
- The CLIC framework ensures continuity across the school.
When using Progress Drives we will follow a 5 stage model that puts the child at the heart of the learning experience:
- Know which step the learner is currently at (current attainment).
- Know the next step (this comes from subject knowledge).
- Re-locate the learner by teaching him / her well (this ‘next location’ comes from subject expertise, i.e. we apply our subject knowledge in a teaching and learning situation).
- Check the learner has re-located by assessing collaboratively (this requires a further assessment).
- Communicate the next location to the learner as a target.
This has four main areas:
- Maths Breadth: this includes wider subject areas within the Mathematics curriculum, such as measures, probability etc.
- Problem Solving: these are purely mathematical problems that in Big Maths we rephrase as ‘Number Challenges’
- Word Problems: these are mathematical problems wrapped up in a real life scenario. In Big Maths we rephrase these as ‘Real Life Maths’
- Multi-methods: here we look at different ways of solving the same Mathematics question. The focus here is on efficiency rather than on understanding, and this leads us to look at the Column Methods for Calculation.
One of the key teaching strategies from Big Maths is to provide children with a ‘brain only’ way of solving questions. However, the development of mental maths is not left to chance, there is a deliberate and strong structure that leaves all children empowered to think quickly, accurately and therefore successfully! This happens through a three part process called FAB:
F is for Full: We start off with a full written method that is high on understanding.
A is for Abridged: Now we take the writing away, gradually, over time while training the brain to hold numbers in the head.
B is for Brain: Finally, children are left with the ability to solve the question with nothing except their mind.