Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Pirate Maths

Part of the responsibility of being a Governor at the Infants School is, occasionally, to visit officially to examine an aspect of the school’s work. I haven’t done one for a long while and have not pressed to do so as I never feel entirely in command of the facts, struggling even to remember the names of the Teaching Assistants (I think I’ve memorised most of the teachers). But I was in school yesterday to look at how it was managing maths. I had an initial discussion with the headteacher who handed me a sheaf of background paperwork which she knew full well I should have in a file anyway but also that I wouldn’t be able to find, and then went touring around the classrooms watching what they were doing. The children, as well as the teachers, were obviously expecting that I might turn up and chatted with me about their work. Apart from a group in one class who were working on their standard tests, most children were embroiled in the start of (breathe in) Pirate Maths Week, an in-house initiative intended to make maths more attractive to pupils who might not feel very enthusiastic about it. There was a range of pirate-themed maths tasks which will produce a series of numbers that, at the end of the week, will allow a treasure chest to be ceremoniously opened in Assembly and the treasure distributed.

What actually struck me most was moving from one class which contains mostly Reception children with a smattering of Year 1’s and which was bedlam (‘Ethan, you’re not on-task, are you?’ hollered the class teacher more than once) to the top Year 2 class which was a silent oasis of 7-year-olds completing their Science projects (not Pirate Maths). ‘It happens with every group and every time we marvel at it’, the headteacher told me. ‘It’s as though over those two years they become completely different creatures’.

Pirate-themed school activities lend themselves to ribald comment. As a parishioner said to me, ‘It’s good to know that the children are getting a grounding in the Three Aaarrrgghs’ …

No comments:

Post a Comment