Pembroke School: ALiM report

Number of
Year Initial stage
Final stage
Time in programme Predominant
4 Senior Basic Facts:
3 students - stage 0/1
1 student - stage 2
Basic Facts:
1 student - stage 2/3
3 students - stage 4
6 weeks
Number knowledge
4 2 Add/Sub:
4 students - stage 3
4 students - stage 4
3 weeks

Pembroke School is a decile 3 school consisting of ten classrooms and approximately 230 children, in Oamaru.

After spending some time in Auckland, listening to some possible programmes to trial and giving careful consideration of the needs of our school, I chose two programmes to implement; one in the junior school and the other in the senior school.

One of the main concerns in our school was the increasing number of students in the senior school who were still advanced counters and had been so for two years. The programme I chose was “Targeted Learning”. I worked with four students for six weeks, four times a week for 30 minutes.

The second programme was for students after 18 months of school. I took a group of four students for three weeks and worked with them for 15-20 minutes a day, four times a week. I repeated this programme with another group of children.

Both these programmes were designed to be in addition to the normal classroom numeracy teaching, so the timing of these programmes was important.

For the Targeted Learning Group (TLG), the first thing was to consult with the teachers about possible candidates. These children were assessed using  a PAT (Maths) and NumPA, as well as being given an attitude form to complete. These data were recorded on the resource database. After looking at the data to see where the children were at and after making the required resources, the teaching began.

In the beginning I followed the programme as it was designed, but I realized that I needed to modify it to suit the learners, as they struggled with counting in 2’s, 5’s and 10’s. Also,  because the number writing component was too hard due to lack of place value knowledge, they needed to use the arrow cards to make their numbers. I soon realized that lots of knowledge work had to be done in order for these children to move. We continued with lots of counting, doubles and halves work, and making numbers to 10. These were also activities given to them as part of their homework which was game-based wherever possible, and the children were encouraged to play with their family. We also had some strategy work in the programme and I needed to push the children to apply the knowledge they did have wherever possible and  to help them to make the links from the known to the unknown in very small manageable steps.

It was a very fast paced programme that children seem to respond well to and they enjoyed the variety of activities. Their classroom teachers gave some very positive feedback.

Three out of four of the students had global learning issues. They were lacking so much key knowledge needed to make the transition to stage 5. The maths programme was intense but there were shifts in knowledge. Those that were being supported at home had greater gains than those that didn’t have support. Their attitude towards maths in general was positive, however they were very aware that they were in the bottom maths group in their class.

The second programme was designed for students after 18 months at school. Again, after consultation with their teachers, a group of children was selected and given a NumPA and attitude test.

Because I hadn’t taught any of these children before, I used this testing time and the first week of the programme to get to know them and to develop a supportive relationship.

Over the next three weeks I worked with this group to develop their forward and backward counting skills and their memory by using the listening tin and lots of 10’s frame activities. I also squeezed in some strategy teaching, introducing them to counting on.

Soon after following this programme I saw the need for some number formation work so that was added in as well.

The children were given homework. I printed off some games from the Families section on nzmaths website. This was doubles work and flashcard activities.

After the three weeks, I retested these children using NumPA and got some really positive results. All of the children had moved to stage 4 and their forward and backward counting had moved at least two stages. I noticed however that their basic facts had not moved so, with my next group of four, I added a short basic facts component as well. The first group enjoyed coming daily and I was given some positive feedback from their parents.

The children were a delight, they were all motivated to learn and were positive about maths. This programme was fast paced and very focused. The students seemed to enjoy this and responded positively. Again, greater gains were made by those with home support.

It was great to see, with the introduction of daily basic facts and number writing, that all children had moved on basic facts.

Key Points

  • Modify the programme to suit the learner.
  • Ensure the withdrawal of the children suits the classroom teacher and will be in addition to  normal classroom teaching (an hour a day).
  • Ensure that there is time to work with the classroom teachers to help them build onto what the group has been doing.
  • Ensure that Numeracy homework reflects their current learning.