It seemed to be during my GTP year that tutors. mentors and others were all endorsing the importance of AT1 in maths: Using and Applying. To be fair in my experience children do often learn best when things are linked to a real world problem or situation. It was with this in mind that during my GTP year (last year) I planned for a lesson observation revolving around the use of money. The head, my mentor and the chairman of Governors was coming to watch so I wanted to make the lesson as hands on and interesting as possible. I had raided my change pot, stolen a bag of twenty pence pieces from my girlfriend (she still hasn’t got them back) and thought long and hard about making my lesson as practical as possible.
My class as behaviour goes were not the easiest and never had been. I spent a good part of the first half term doing PSHE activities and fostering a relationship with the children, this seemed to be working and the children responded well in most situations. So it was with enthusiasm and a trust of my children not to let me down that I propelled myself into my lesson. My observees (is that even a word) looked happy as I launched into my Mike Fleetham style starter (It’s a shame the Numeracy Shed was not created at the time) … “The answer is 15 what is the question?”, children tossed answers my way, their thinking was amazing, those that were wrong I praised etc. etc. Then it was time for my main lesson, we looked at different types of money, why it is important? where do we use it in real life contexts? Objectives and success criteria were covered, then I dished out the money. I asked children to find me different amounts using the coins. Check observees – they are smiling and scribbling madly, then the first disturbance came, Molly (I change the name to protect the not so innocent) started wrestling money from her partner, I asked her to stop, she argued, I warned Molly I would put her name on yellow (We use the Good to be Green discipline chart, green-good, yellow-warning, red-consequence). This subdued her for a few minutes, as I was sweeping around the groups helping any children struggling to find amounts there was a scuffle behind me. Molly was again arguing with her partner, so it was with my last observation in mind (I was told I needed to be firmer with discipline) I approached Molly, “Right Molly”, I said with my firmest voice.
“Please go and put your name on yellow”, Molly didn’t budge…I repeated my instruction, still no move.
“Molly if you don’t put your name on yellow it will go straight to red!”, Molly begrudgingly stood and moved slowly towards the chart ‘chink, chink’ . I heard a sound and by the look of my guests faces they had too ‘chink, chink’.
“Molly what is that sound?”, before she had a chance to answer her ‘friend’ piped up.
“Molly has got money in her knickers!”
My guests stifled a laugh, I tried to keep my composure “Right Molly when you have put your name on yellow I want you to take the money out of your knickers and to wash it…and your hands”
The rest of the lesson went reasonably smoothly, the feedback was good and my use of discipline was a strength. A warning to you all though, when using money practically try to keep an eye on where it is going, some slots are not made for cash.