Hamilton now has two ways of providing maths planning materials. Our Weekly Plans are familiar to many as a source of reliable, pedagogically sound sequences of maths lessons that ensure consistent progression through the whole school. Our equally authoritative new Flexible Blocks present maths planning in a mastery framework that lets you tailor a blocked structure to your teaching and your children.
How do you decide which to use - Hamilton's traditional Weekly Plans or our new Flexible Blocks?
Tailor your teaching with Flexible Blocks
Using Hamilton’s flexible blocks, teachers are easily able to tailor their teaching, adjusting the length of time they spend on a topic to suit their class. Hamilton’s flexible blocks keep the teacher in control, so that you can plan sequences of lessons specifically tailored to suit the children in your class – plus it doesn’t take ages! Saving your Sundays is still important to us. We now provide everything you need to differentiate on the way to mastery together in one place:
- Blocks of coherent content - each block is comprised of a small number of units which cover one or more related skills within that content area.
- Teaching for understanding – the unit plan outlines the whole class teaching to cover the relevant skills.
- Mastery activity - group activities are differentiated at three levels for each teaching day – working at ARE, working toward ARE, working at greater depth.
- Procedural fluency - practice sheets are similarly differentiated for children working at ARE, children working toward ARE and children working at greater depth.
- Problem solving - investigative activities within the units develop maths meta-skills.
- Reasoning questions - reasoning questions allow you to assess mastery for each unit.
- Mental/oral starters - starters facilitate the practice of skills required for the day's lesson or those not being revisited for a while when using a blocked curriculum.
- Extra support - small-group activities for children working well below ARE can be run by a TA or another adult later the same day or at another time.
All the above materials are provided for each year group. Autumn Term is currently available on Hamilton's website and will be complete by the end of June, while Spring and Summer Terms will appear over the next few months. We shall be doing mixed-age plans as soon as the single age blocks and units are all available.
The length of the blocks is fully flexible. Each teacher can select the appropriate number of units to match the amount and distribution of time spent on any one block to their class requirements.
Progressive Short Blocks
We also have shorter, progressive blocks. The many advantages of these include:
Children struggle to really remember all the content of a particular block if that topic is not re-visited for another 5or 6 months. Re-teaching is time-wasting and can be soul-destroying. Revisiting indubitably prevents the necessity.
In maths, more than in many subjects, the order in which we teach things matters. Shorter blocks take a more skill-based approach to the order in which specific mathematical topics are covered.
Some mathematical subjects need to be introduced to children in short bursts, so that no-one has time to get discouraged. Later in the year, we can to re-visit these, by which time our previous teaching will have had time to bed down, and we are likely to find children much more receptive to the learning required.
It is almost impossible to prevent both teachers and children from simply losing the will to live as long blocks wind interminably on. There is a certain amount of time after which it is really good to get a break with a different topic.
All these issues persuade us at Hamilton that the ideal person to decide the length of a specific block is the teacher. The shorter blocks further enable a more tailored approach. We thoroughly recommend them.
Hamilton’s Weekly Plans are the right choice for those teachers who prefer to use a spiral curriculum organised by weeks and terms. Differentiation is built in to each plan, which includes:
- A starter
- Whole class teaching
- Guided group work
- Paired and individual practice activities
- A plenary session
We also encourage you to use our Problem-Solving Investigations and Extra Support materials alongside the weekly plans – find them in the left-hand menu.
Explore Hamilton's weekly plans:
Mastery is not new to Hamilton - and we can help your children achieve it whether you use our new flexible blocks or our adaptable weekly plans.
All Hamilton planning materials are focussed on Mastery - we always teach and provide learning experiences in the three required areas:
- underpinning children's conceptual understanding through the development of a consistent set of images and models;
- engendering procedural fluency by suitable activities and practice;
- providing investigations and frequent opportunities for reasoning and problem-solving both within the weekly plans and also alongside them.
Whether you choose Flexible Blocks or Weekly Plans, you can rely on Hamilton's methodological consistency and child-friendly pedagogy to teach maths to the wide variety of children in your class.