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Maths

Why Not Try Short Blocks Instead of Weekly Plans?

Ruth Merttens By Ruth Merttens

Are you still using Hamilton weekly plans? Can I encourage you to have a look at our short blocks? These have all the benefits of the weekly plans but they also provide a wealth of support and a whole raft of resources which were simply not possible when we produced the weekly plans nearly six years ago.

Like the weekly plans, Hamilton's short blocks provide a loose spiral curriculum, allowing children to revisit each topic (for example, place value) within a fairly short time span. This ensures that children’s confidence is boosted by regular encounters with a specific skill or concept, and also that there is not the exasperating need for re-teaching when some of your class have forgotten something that was taught some months ago!

  • Slide presentations for every lesson contain starters, teaching input, practice sheets and mastery questions – everything you need all in one place. Practical activities are signalled on the slides so that children continue to learn by doing.
  • We have more than doubled the number of group and practical activities, and also augmented these with an outline instruction sheet which is suitable for use by a Teaching Assistant working with a small group.
  • More differentiated activities have been added, both to the group activities and also to the practice tasks. Three levels of worksheet practice accompany every lesson.
  • Mastery assessments make it possible to quickly assess children’s progress as you go through the units.
  • A page of Common Misconceptions accompanies each unit. This helps inexperienced staff to understand and avoid any potential pitfalls and provides a quick reminder for more experienced teachers of vocabulary to use and words to avoid.
  • Investigations and problem solving activities are indicated for each unit.
  • Extra support activities are provided in the form of outlines for the Teaching Assistant and child-friendly sheets for the children who struggle.

I perfectly understand that many teachers have been comfortably using the Hamilton weekly plans since they first appeared, and that these have a loyal following. However, I genuinely believe that most teachers would find that the short blocks retain all that is good about these resources, but actually enable even more focused and well-targeted teaching. And, importantly, they could potentially reduce the time spent planning…

As always, at Hamilton we keep working to Save Your Sundays!

Collections: Extra Support and Investigations

The termly sets of extra support activities and in-depth problem-solving investigations that ran alongside the weekly plans are now available in a new, and more searchable, format.

You can now find ALL of our extra support activities together in one place. You can filter this collection by year group and you can input search terms to find particular mathematical areas that you want to focus on. Use the drop-down menus and the search box to find the right activities for your children. Explore extra support.

Similarly, you can now find ALL of our in-depth problem-solving investigations together in one place. You can also filter this collection by year group and you input search terms to find particular mathematical areas . Use the drop-down menus and the search box to find the right activities for your children. Explore mastery investigations.