Numeracy is an integral part of life and if we want to raise standards in numeracy, it needs to be an integral part of what we do in schools. We need to make sure that our schools are numeracy rich environments.
So where do we start? Well, first of all, we need to know how numeracy rich our environment already is. Completing a numeracy learning walk highlights good practice, already taking place within the school, which can be shared. It also flags up any issues such as lack of progression or patchy numeracy opportunities.
It can be useful to categorise areas for developing a numeracy rich environment under three headings: Displays; Activities; and Culture. The next step is deciding on an area to develop. We can feel pressured to tackle everything at once but mustn’t forget that we are aiming to change the mindset of the school community and need to give changes time to embed. Setting up working groups, with each group containing representatives from across the school, can be an efficient way to approach creating a numeracy rich environment.
If we want to develop a numeracy rich environment, we need to ensure that there are lots of numeracy rich activities taking place. Many schools already have various activities and resources that are numeracy rich and just need a small tweak to focus on the numeracy.
Does your school have a tuck shop for example? Set up a management team to look after the budget and collect data on the most popular/profitable snack. This could be MAT learners or representatives from each class on a rolling basis. Classes can take it in turns to create and sell healthy snacks such as smoothies which will develop budgeting, measuring, number and data skills. For further ideas on developing a numeracy rich school, including using numeracy buddies to create a numeracy rich playground, see ‘Developing a Numeracy Rich School’.
Developing a numeracy rich culture is perhaps the most important part of creating a numeracy rich school. There are numerous ways to do this as outlined in ‘Developing a Numeracy Rich School’. A great way to get everybody on board and ensure an impact can be to hold a launch day or week. Launches can be focused on mathematically rich books such as Math Curse, with classes completing various numeracy activities based on the book. This is particularly effective when combined with numeracy characters that visit the children.
Next month’s blog: Tools and tips for numeracy rich FP classroom