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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!