This was the first time that most of our network group of 12 had got together since the residential at half term so it was really good to see each other again.

It was also interesting to share our experiences of the university meetings. Most of us had gone to NTU but we had had different tutors. One or two had gone to Northampton instead. The experiences were very different which is interesting and maybe a bit alarming. Those who had gone to Northampton had a very formal lecture session which was mainly note taking. The NTU sessions were a lot more practical and aimed at classroom practice but even these varied from tutor to tutor. We felt as a group that there ought to be more consistency as we are all supposed to be doing the same course. I wonder how much it all varies across the country if there is this much variation on one course?

We then looked at our Professional Learning Logs and the reflections that we are supposed to be putting into section 2 of these.

We need to record examples of things that we have noticed ‘Critical Incidents’. These should refer back to the 5 big ideas or the 8 mathematical powers and should ideally cover a range of these. We should be aiming for one incident to be written about and reflected upon each week.

The session also looked at the work we are expected to do with another colleague in our schools. We have been given references to read on coaching and collaborative working in schools.

Then we looked at practical pattern activities that we can use to improve the children’s understanding of maths.

We looked at trapezium numbers which are exactly the same as triangular numbers but without the 1 on the top. We looked at which totals could be created and what rules and patterns could be found.

We then looked at how a multiplication grid can be used to look for patterns. We looked how the children can look for arrays, especially for prime numbers and square numbers. This could be a good visual reinforcement of work on factors.

The grid is also an excellent resource for seeing equivalent fractions, the top two rows are all equivalent fractions for 1/2 and other fractions can easily been seen.

We finally looked at how the Multiplication Grid ITP can be used to look at pattern in a similar way and also extend this by changing the number of columns.

For our next session which is straight after the Easter holidays, we have to work with a colleague to develop the use of arrays in multiplication or division or the use of a number line , in either case we are to try and extend the use beyond what we usually do. This could be difficult as the next meeting is only 2 days after the start of term so not leaving a lot of time for working with another person.

I am finding the course incredibly stimulating and already feel that it has had an impact on my maths teaching.