numeracy


Numeracy Working Walls

Setting Up A Numeracy Working Area

Whiteboard MathsNumeracy working walls are becoming ubiquitous in UK primary classrooms but  they run the danger of becoming just a display. Displays that the children don’t connect with and use regularly quickly become ‘wallpaper’.
I think it is important to put the emphasis on children using displays as a visual tool to help them learn. It helps to talk about how ‘real’ mathematicians use whiteboards to help them do their work and to encourage the children to see the wall area as a tool rather than a display. You can set up a numeracy work board like this on a fairly small scale and still have a really useful learning zone.
Ideally you’ll need a wipe clean surface, perfect for quick working out, jotting things down, trying out solutions, or even just some fun shape drawing! You could use blackboard paint on a board but using a whiteboard  ‘idea paint’ and colored dry wipe markers is much more interesting. Idea paint can be painted straight onto the wall and gives a wipe clean surface just like expensive whiteboards. Amazon do some self-adhesive, wipe clean Magic Whiteboard stickers that look very good. (Perhaps you saw them on Dragon’s Den?)

Limit Your Colours

Limit the number of colors you use in this area. It is tempting to make everything bright and colorful but that can be distracting. Try to stick to a neutral  (white or black), two main complementary colors and a bright accent color. Sticky putty will hold up any light items but sticky pads or small velcro squares work better for heavier things. You can also put up trimmed plastic wallets mounted on colored card to easily slide in work or pictures.

Ideas to Help You Set Up Your Numeracy Wall

Use some of these ideas to get the children thinking positively about maths. Of course what you choose to use depends on the age of your class.

  • A puzzle challenge area for quick activities. You can get as creative as you like with this area. Change the challenges frequently, get children setting the challenges. Maths cube (Unifix) art  would make an interesting challenge. If you are practicing mental maths you could record the questions on a ‘talking postcard’. These re-recordable ‘talking’ or ‘voice postcards’ are not too expensive  A child can listen to the question then record their answer on another.
  • A  maths words area – cards with math vocabulary for the topic you are currently exploring printed on one side, definition on the other that can be taken down to copy, use for games etc. Don’t forget the children can make these and will learn a great deal by doing so. Definitions they have found for themselves, either from the internet or from a book, are much more memorable than anything we tell them.
  • A working area that focuses on one area of maths that you are currently exploring – this is where children can stick up work they are pleased with, questions they are interested in, things they want to find out. One way of doing this would be to divide the area into 3 sections using paper tape. Add the headings What We Know, Our Questions, and How We Plan to Find Out. This sort of self-directed working is really useful for all learners but especially for independent learning times.
  • Take lots of photos of the class doing things that involve maths. Get the children to sort and label  the photos into groups according to the kind of maths involved. Throw in some wild cards and see if they can work out how something like driving the car or tidying the room might involve maths. Make a display of the sorted and labeled photos. You can use bright colored post-it notes to label the groups of photos, that way it is easy to take them down and re-sort them in a different grouping. (Most activities will involve more than one kind of maths.)Everyday maths is also part of putting up displays. From measuring the spaces between letters and working out proportions and ratios, to getting the angles for placing things right.

It is best to avoid too much visual clutter in a learning area so just choose a couple of these ideas at a time. Change them  frequently so they never become just pretty wallpaper. There is lots of evidence that involving children in making choices about their learning environment improves their engagement so get them involved at every stage.

Suzanne says "I link the QR code to theme of week. Children use class ipad to link to file or game! Last week we were fractions so the link was to fraction games." (via the Classroom Displays Facebook Page)  Learn more about using QR codes on displays in the  Advanced Course

Suzanne says “I link the QR code to theme of week. Children use class ipad to link to file or game! Last week we were fractions so the link was to fraction games.” (via the Classroom Displays Facebook Page) Learn more about using QR codes on displays in the Advanced Course

Working wall

Heidi says “I’ve velcroed clipboards to my display board so I can quickly change children’s work according to the topic. I also use speech bubbles which the kids can write in to explain their work.” (via the Classroom Displays Facebook page)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Resources
Idea Paint (US)

Muraspec (UK stockists)

They do a Home kit which covers 6 square feet or get a 20 square feet can and make a literacy working area  too. You will also need a special base coat and the area needs to be specially prepared.  This is probably a job for the school caretaker or janitor and not a DIY idea.

UK stockists Muraspec say:

Kit options
 We can offer customers Lil’ Bit Kits that cover an area of 3 square ft (0.28m2). At just £24.67 (ex VAT)  these kits are perfect for testing ideapaint out on a small area and contain; a roller sleeve & handle, stir stick, tray and installation instructions. Each standard kit covers 4.65m2 (50ft2).

Ideapaint is available in five colours: White, Off White, Light Beige, Light Grey and White Sand.

Dry Wipe Stickers  from Amazon

Try Magic Whiteboard, or even blackboard stickers if you feel retro! Less fuss than ideapaint these are better for making temporary display whiteboard areas.

Click here to find these and other similar products in the Classroom Displays Amazon Bookshop

 

Re-recordable ‘voice postcards’ from TTS

These are excellent but be sure to get the 30 second version as the 10 second ones will be too short for your working area. Talk Time Postcards

Talk-Time Postcards


Pirate Ship and Other Pirate Displays

Pirate boat literacy display


Pirates are a great theme for classroom displays and this ship is a particularly lively one. Lots of super vocabulary words and phrases, dastardly pirates and a rather good sea really make this an excellent learning and reference resource.
I think this may be a Year 2 class, as they are working on speech bubbles. Year 3 and 4 are also ideal for pirate topics. It fits very well with the literacy target of writing a story in chapters and working with the adventure story genre. It’s much more fun though if you can bring in some cross curricular elements.
Some of these ideas have been adapted from the Belair display books, which are a great source of inspiration. You’ll find a range of them in the book store

aaar!, originally uploaded by Sunflower Lily.

Captain Capacity

Captain Capacity (adapted from the Belair series)

Pirate Role Play Area

Pirate themed role play corner

Update -More Pirate Resources

Pirates-Display-BannerTwinkl have some lovely pirate resources (free to download or order them printed and delivered for a small fee), including some lovely banners to print, a treasure map design activity and role play masks. Well worth looking at – find them here :

Pirate Resources on Twinkl

Even more Pirate goodies on Teaching Ideas – Pirates

See Also:

Pirate Pop-Ups – moving toys in Year 3


Hallway Display – Slide/Flip/Turn hand project 3

Classroom Displays Slide/Flip/Turn

This is an interesting numeracy display which a 4th grade (Year 3) class have done. It’s obviously been the result of a whole class activity and I think using the children’s own hand prints makes quite a strong impact.

I do think it could have been more clearly labelled though. It’s not always obvious what operation has been performed and that could have been used to advantage. Had it been a classroom display a bit more interactivity could have been added with questions and cards on string to turn over to see if you were right.

Although I like the idea of the display I think it’s a bit messy. The layout spills over the edge of the board in a slightly random way which I don’t think works. I would have preferred to see it within a frame and with more even spacing. But then I’m a bit fussy like that 🙂 Actually, classroom displays that aren’t mounted absolutely straight and evenly spaced drive me nuts!


Interactive numeracy display – Maths Questions 6

Interactive Maths Display

It can be hard to get creative with numeracy classroom displays. Here’s a lovely interactive numeracy idea to challenge early finishers. It’s also great use of the, slightly grim, brick corners many classrooms have. Rosa says:

Children have various questions to answer. This is used at the beginning of the lesson and the end, for those ‘what do I do now ?’ times.

questions1questions2

This display could be adapted for any age just by varying the questions based on their current targets. The questions are colour coded and differentiated so they give a great opportunity for independent work.

The laminated digits and posters make this an almost instant display and, by varying the questions over the year, it can have a permanent place in the classroom. If you look closely you’ll see there is even a space underneath the questions for the children to post their solutions:

answers1

Quick to make, easy to copy with an element of interaction and space for children’s voice. All together a really great use of classroom displays as learning objects.


Maths Words 2

Maths Words, originally uploaded by angela_oxon.

Continuing the theme of quick classroom displays I noticed that quite a few people were searching for numeracy ones this week. This one is simple enough. I think if I’d been doing it I would have grouped the words ‘add’ ‘subtract’ ‘multiply’ and ‘divide’ into the centre next to the symbols. I might also have colour coded each group.
This displays is only a quick one if you already have the letters cut out or are lucky enough to have a school alphabet die cutter. I have done a similar one with the words hand written (large) in vivid marker pen colours and then cut out and laminated. This gives you the opportunity to use them as a class or group sorting activity.
Top Tip
Once you have cut out the letters, laminate them and store in a plastic envelope. Ideally each word should be held together with a paperclip. Saves ages sorting them out next time you want to use the display!