Sally Smith, Maths Lead and Year 6 teacher at Old Town Primary School in Hebden Bridge, tells us about how she uses MyMaths to support her maths teaching.
Tell us a bit about your school and class.
Old Town is a primary school in West Yorkshire with around 100 pupils. I currently teach Year 6 and prior to this academic year, I taught mixed year group classes (Year 5 and Year 6).
How long have you been using MyMaths?
We’ve been using it for a number of years. Because I’ve been using it for a long time I notice when there are changes on the site, and it’s clear to me that MyMaths keeps abreast of current pedagogy. For example, I’ve noticed more bar modelling materials appearing recently. I like that it keeps up with areas I try to develop with my pupils following professional development courses that I attend.
How do you use MyMaths in class?
In recent years we’ve taken on a mastery approach and whilst I am teaching everyone in the class the same thing, I’m very much of the view that children will need to learn in different ways to be able to achieve their best. Some pick up a concept very quickly and want to move on to other questions that will stretch them while I’m digging down with other children to help their understanding. MyMaths is invaluable with that, especially when you don’t have a lot of human resources to work with different groups. It’s almost like having another teacher in the classroom. Because MyMaths is easy to use for targeting specific areas, I can set an activity with a group of pupils and feel confident as a teacher that they’re working on something focused on the area that I’ve been teaching. I found this especially helpful when I was teaching Year 5 and Year 6 together, but whether you teach mixed years or single years, you will always have differences in ability in your class.
One of the things I’ve always liked about MyMaths is that it uses animated visuals and models to demonstrate concepts – that’s why I would feel comfortable leaving a child to go through a MyMaths lesson because I know it covers the concept as I would in class, and sometimes I use the lessons at the front of class with everyone – for example, with translating shapes that are difficult to demonstrate by drawing on the whiteboard, or for showing decimals on a magnified number line.
Do you set homework on MyMaths?
Yes, one way that we use it across the school is for setting homework, which I find incredibly useful because you can target specific topics and can keep track of how children are doing too. I find it really useful for setting homework matched to what we were covering in class so children can go home and consolidate their learning.
Homework also makes it easy for parents to engage in what’s going on in the classroom so that they can support their child as well. MyMaths takes a lot of legwork out of this – it generates parent letters with the children’s log in details, and it doesn’t take much time to get your head around the system.
Do you find that MyMaths generally saves you time?
With the self-marking homework I’m sure it does save time, as I’m not handing out 30 paper copies, taking them back and marking them all. In terms of the time I put into homework for what I want out of it, it’s probably the most efficient way of doing it. Homework is for consolidation and setting good habits in the children, but their results aren’t going to tell me anything I don’t already know. So instead of spending two hours marking homework that isn’t going to tell me anything new about my pupils, I set it on MyMaths and the children still get their consolidation, I still get confirmation of their marks and I can use my time instead for planning the next lesson to address whatever misconceptions I can see are cropping up in the homework.
Would you recommend MyMaths to other teachers?
I have done! Teaching can be a hard enough job as it is and when I find something that makes my life easier I try to pass it on. And I find it good value for money for how much use we get out of it.
Contact your local educational consultant to try a free trial of MyMaths today!