Mathematics School Plan

Introductory Statement and Rationale

Introductory Statement

This document is a statement of the aims and objectives, principles and strategies for implementing the mathematics programme at Lisaniskey NS. It was formulated by the school staff and informed by the Curriculum Statements and Curriculum Guidelines, needs of the children and the expertise and experience of the staff.


  • Pupil and teacher learning is enhanced;
  • Shared view of school’s philosophy regarding maths;
  • Children will benefit from structured approach regarding content and methodology;
  • To increase the standard of maths in our school
  • Teacher’s workload is shared;
  • Self esteem of staff and pupils is enhanced;
  • Most effective approaches are shared;
  • Resources are researched and shared;
  • It is the most effective instrument by which efforts and strengths of both teachers and pupils are harmonised and co-ordinated;
  • That revision and assessment form an essential part of our maths teaching
  • Guide for coping with change/ future action

Eg. Due to maths in-service we decided to review the teaching of maths throughout the school to conform to principles outlined in the revised curriculum.

To ensure that each teacher meets the learning needs of each pupil.  Continuity is maintained without overlap; and there is uniformity of attitude and approach on certain issues.

Vision and Aims


  • To aid the children in achieving their true potential in maths
  • To give all pupils an opportunity to succeed regardless of ability
  • To foster in them a love of maths
  • To provide the child with the necessary skills to live a full life as a child and later as an adult
  • To emphasise the practical aspects of maths using problem solving and social maths
  • That maths is fun and can be enjoyed by all members of the school community.


Eg.  We see maths as being very important in relation to our school and very necessary in the development of all our pupils.  It is a subject, which has many values including practical and aesthetic and can benefit all our pupils.

Aims:  (PG 12-14 of Content statement)

We endorse the aims and objectives of the Curriculum for mathematics.

  • To develop a positive attitude towards mathematics and an appreciation for its practical and its aesthetic aspects.
  • To develop problem-solving abilities and a facility for the application of mathematics to everyday life.
  • To enable the child to use mathematical language effectively and accurately.
  • To enable the child to acquire an understanding of mathematical concepts and processes to his/her level of development and ability.
  • To enable the child to acquire proficiency in fundamental mathematical skills and in recalling basic number facts.

Content of Plan


  1. Strands and Strand Units:

(For content overview see Curriculum: Infants p.17; First & Second classes p. 37; Third & Fourth classes p.61; Fifth & Sixth classes p. 85)

 In order to ensure that all teachers are familiar with the curriculum for their class level, we will consult our Curriculum Handbooks, and our Maths at a Glance cards.

  • In order to ensure that this familiarity is maintained if teachers change classes or if new teachers join the staff, we will have a Staff meeting as early in the school year as possible, (or before the school year starts if possible); regular formal and informal review and planning between teachers of same level classes.
  • With regard to multi class situations, at the middle and senior levels of the school, topics/themes will be introduced to the whole class at the same time, with development and differentiated teaching as a follow on. This will also be done in the Junior room, as far as possible, but, there is little scope for this. Generally, lessons will be on a class basis, as opposed to a whole room activity.
  • When there is a split class within the school, it is envisaged that the relevant class teachers will plan each week what content and methodologies will be used in the following week.


A cross curricular approach will help the child to make connections between different curricular areas, add to the child’s enjoyment of mathematics and encourage the transfer of learning.


All the strands of the mathematics programme will be seen and taught as interrelated units in which understanding in one area is dependent on and supportive of ideas and concepts in other strands.


  1. Approaches and Methodologies: SEE APPENDIX 2 “USE OF MATHS LANGUAGE IN THE SCHOOL”



Schematic Teaching of Addition Tables

            Addition Tables

  1. + 0 When I add 0  I make no change
  1. + 1 When I add 1  I “jump on 1 place on the number line”.
  1. + 2 Using a number line (e.g. magnetic counters/peg boards).and I “jump on 2 places on the number line.”


3 + 2 = 5 Language: “3 and 2 makes/is equal to/is the same as 5”

  1. Doubles one to one correspondence e.g. using counters.
* * * *

* * * *





4 + 4 = 8




  1. Near doubles             4  +  5 =           4 + 4 + 1          or         5 + 5 – 1

5  +  6 =           5 + 5 + 1          or         6 + 6 – 1

* * * * *

* * * *




  1. Commutative Law      Buy one get one free.

4 + 3 is the same as 3 + 4.


  1. Ten Facts          1 + 9,  2 + 8,   3  + 7,   4  + 6.  Use the ten frame. NUMBER STORIES


  1. Through ten  10  + 2  = 12 ; 10  +  4  = 14  etc. Use the ten frame.



  • Do addition practically first (e.g. using counters, number lines, 100 square,) and then abstractly.


Multiplication/Division Tables


  • Multiplication/Division tables will be introduced as repeated addition and repeated subtraction.
  • Begin with 10 times tables followed by 5 times tables because they are the easiest ones to remember. These two will be the benchmarks for all others.
  • Then teach 2X, 4X and 8X, followed by 3X, 6X, 9X
  • Drill the multiples up/down the multiples ladder.
  • Children will be taught strategies to assist understanding and easy recall of the basic facts.


  1. Commutative law
  2. Doubles
  3. One set more/one set less.
  4. Use of fingers for calculating 9 times
  5. Twice a known fact



Activities for tables


  • Use of games e.g. Snakes and ladders, Dominoes, Playing cards
  • Use of dice
  • Loop games: Marbles card game, Basic Doubles card game
  • Competitions eg. Knockout, Buzz, Beat the clock
  • Videos, computer software, cassette tapes, web-sites


 – Talk and Discussion

The school will adopt a common approach to all areas to ensure continuity and consistency especially when transferring from the Junior groups to the senior groups.  This policy will be communicated to parents so they can help children constructively with homework.  The school as a whole will encourage the accurate and effective use of mathematical language.


Language of tables

3 + 0=3                        eg. Three and zero equals three

5 – 5=0                         eg. Five take away five equals zero

0 x 2=0                        eg. Zero times two, zero multiplied by two, two zeroes ( senior room)

10 ÷ 5=2                      eg. Ten divided by five equals 2, five into ten goes twice/two times.


Language and the number operations


Addition with regrouping


  1. 1. We introduce the addition of 3 addends horizontally but this must lead to addition vertically.




In senior infants and 1st class 4 + 3 + 2=        is the same as:            4


+ 2




Always start adding from the bottom. When the children have mastered this process, they can then apply the commutative property of addition, ie start with the biggest number and add on the next one; look for the tens and add on the other number.


  1.   Introduce addition with regrouping using Dien’s Blocks,



T      U

1          8

1 4

2          2


  • four and eight is twelve.
  • Twelve is too big for the Unit house, so I swap ten units for a stick of ten, and he goes over to the ten house. The two units stay in the unit house.
  • How many tens in the tens house now? Two.
  • Now I have two tens left in the Ten house and two units in the unit House. That makes twenty two “22”.
  • Demonstrate this first using Dien’s Blocks and then introduce the actual sum as well.



Subtraction with regrouping


  1. Introduce subtraction with regrouping using Dien’s blocks:



  T   U
2 3  13 3
  2   4



  • 3 take away 9 you cannot do. Where could we get some more units from? We’ll borrow a stick of ten from the ten house. To come into the unit house, he has to change back to ten units.
  • Now we have 13 units in the units house. 13 take 9,  we can do.  We have 2 tens left and         4 units left and that makes 24.
  • Demonstrate this using only Dien’s Blocks first and then introduce the actual sum as well.


  1. When the children are comfortable with the procedure you can suggest writing the sum like this to save time:



T   U
 2 3   1 3
  2    4






It has been decided to standardise the following mathematical procedures throughout the school in order to help children with learning difficulties.


  1. Subtraction: From 2nd class on we should use the decomposition method throughout the school as shown for 2nd class.



  1. Long Multiplication:            54

x  23

162  —– 54 x 3

1080  —– 54 x20


Always remember the zero for the 2nd line (multiplying by the ten)



  1. Long Division:


0214              EMSD strategy (Estimate, Multiply, Subtract, bring Down)

28     5992







  1. Time Calculations:


1 hr    35 mins.

+   2 hrs   45 mins.

3 hrs   80 mins. (1hr. 20 mins.)

=   4 hrs  20 mins.


  1. Finding a Fraction of a Number:


(a)  Use Unitary Method.  e.g.  Find 3/8 ‘s  of 72


8/8  = 72

1/8  =  9                       8   72


x 3  


3/8  = 27


(b)  of = multiply


Find 3/8 of  72            3  x   72

8        1


  1. Given a fraction find the whole number:


e.g. 7/9  of a number is 42 find the whole number.

7/9  =  42


1/9  =  6  (42 ÷ 7)


9/9  =  6  x  9  =  54


9/9  =  54


  1. Fractions: Addition of Mixed Numbers.


2 5/6  +  3 ¾      add the units first; 2+3=5      LCD  = 12

=    10/12     +    9/12


=    19/12            (1 + 7/12)      go back for your units


=  5 + 17/12   =   67/12


  1. Subtraction of mixed numbers:


3 1/5  –  2 7/10                        Subtract the units first 3-2=1              LCD = 10

= 2/10  –   7/10      2/10  is too small, borrow one unit. That leaves me with no units.

That becomes 10/10,   and add it to the 2/10 . That makes 12/10

12/10   –   7/10

5/10   =  1/2


DECIMALS:             When dealing with decimals we will use money so that children will understand the place-value of the digits within a decimal number and learn from the physicality of the operation:



€38 . 38    =>          T        U    .   1/10      1/100      Money

3        8    .      3          8        Place value


The decimal point is used to separate the pieces from the wholes.


Fractions:       Fractions will be introduced by using Fraction walls and Fraction Circles:


○   ○    ○

1 unit       =                 2 halves      =      4 quarters



Paper folding will also be used to explain the equivalence of fractions:












 2/8  = ¼         4/8 = ½           6/8 = ¾

Decimals:        The decimal point never moves:

e.g.      2.4 + 3.76 + 1.957                        2.4

3.76          Snowman effect/ Buttons on your shirt.

+ 1.957


Estimation skills are developed in all strands and at all levels.

In teaching Measures at all levels we take every opportunity to have the children practise estimation of

*Lengths    *heights

*widths      *distances

*weights     *volume



Key strategies for Measures

  1. Estimate
  2. Discuss or consider
  3. Measure or do
  4. Record or report


In teaching Number we develop estimation skills by  practising a

variety of strategies including:

  1. Front-ended strategy,
  2. Clustering strategy,
  3. Rounding strategy
  4. Special numbers strategy


Estimation Procedure for number:

  • Estimate first
  • Write down your estimate
  • Solve the problem
  • Compare your estimate with the actual result



Children from Third & Fourth Class using calculators are encouraged to estimate first what the answer to a problem should be. Calculators are generally used for correcting sums. They are also used by some children with special needs, having been shown how to use them properly, to facilitate speed and proficiency, thus developing confidence and self-esteem.


Mental Maths

It is school policy that mental arithmetic is a feature of regular mathematical activity.

Resources used:

  • Bingo Boards
  • Target Boards
  • Number fans
  • Tables


– Active Learning and Guided Discovery


It is school policy to use materials at all levels and appropriately because …..

  • Concrete materials play an important role in concept development. They provide a link to connect the operational to real world problem-solving situations.
  • Experience with concrete materials also facilitates the development of appropriate language as children communicate about what they are doing and what they see happening.
  • As they use models children should also begin to understand the symbolism related to the operation.
  • Models can then be used to help children learn new thinking strategies.


Discussion skills


  • Turn-taking
  • Active-listening
  • Responding positively to the opinions of others
  • Confidence in putting forward an opinion
  • Ability to explain clearly their point of view


– Problem-Solving

The focus is on real life problem solving.

Types of problems

  • Word problems
  • Practical tasks
  • Open-ended investigations
  • Puzzles
  • Games
  • Projects
  • Mathematical trails
  • Missing Contradictory Surplus Data


Strategies used

  • The Rose Approach
  • RUDE


– Using the Environment

The children are learning all the time from the people and materials around them .In our teaching we look to the environment of the classroom, the school grounds, the locality of the school, the children’s homes and the wider world for opportunities to make maths more real, more interesting and more fun.


Creating a maths rich environment


  • Benchmarks e.g.card marking ‘1 metre’ on wall
  • Special box or shelf for maths books
  • Puzzle of the day/week on flipchart
  • Maths games
  • Maths trails
  • Number rich environment in Infant rooms
  • Playground markings


– Skills through Content


  • Applying and problem-solving
  • Communicating and expressing
  • Integrating and connecting
  • Reasoning
  • Implementing
  • Understanding and recalling


The skills “span the content” and the methodologies to develop them are modelled by the teacher.


  1. Assessment and Record Keeping:

Assessment is an integral part of the teaching and learning process. All strands of the maths programme will be assessed using a variety of assessment tools.


  • Teacher Observation

The teacher observes the child’s activity, written work, discussion and questioning during class or group work.

  • Interview Method[talking to children formally and informally ]


  • Error Analysis


  • Home work/Parental feedback


  • Work samples, projects.


A systematic collection of children’s work is kept in a folder and they provide a tangible record of development over a year, the child can play a part in the compilation of his/her own portfolio by choosing a piece of work for inclusion.

  • Mastery Records



  • Teacher designed tasks and tests



Oral tests of recall skills [tables, counting in groups, number patterns continued]

Written tests


  • Criterion Referenced tests


  • Standardised Tests



Sigma-T tests will be administered in May each year. Records will be kept safely in the filing cabinet. They will be available to parents on request. They can also be used to determine children who need learning support/resource hours. = or <10%. These results will form the basis of Individual Teacher Planning.


  • DiagnosticTests


Our Sigma results will be used as our Diagnostic tests.


  1. Children with Different Needs:

Children in each class will show a wide range of ability, attainment and learning styles.  Consequently the mathematics programme will be flexible to accommodate children of different levels of ability and will reflect their needs.


Adapting to the needs of the less abled mathematical child

  • Use easily computed figures when introducing new concepts
  • While the children will be exposed to all aspects of the curriculum, certain areas must be prioritised
  • Adapting the programme to suit their ability
  • More individual attention
  • Peer Tutoring
  • More concrete approach
  • Emphasising maths language
  • Maths games
  • Maths software
  • Resources
  • Learning support guidelines


Suggested strategies for challenging the better abled mathematical child


  • Problem solving books/Brain Teaser Books
  • Maths Facts Book
  • Maths games
  • Maths software
  • Additional class appropriate work-books.




  1. Timetable:


Maths will be allocated           –           3 hours per week in Classes 1 – 6

2 hrs 15 minutes for Infants

Discretionary time can be allocated, at the teacher’s and at the school’s discretion, to any of the six curriculum areas including Maths.


  1. Homework:


Maths homework will generally be given every day, Monday to Thursday. Homework should             not require teaching at home. It should be reasonable and achievable. Concepts for            homework should be already well established in classroom practice. To prevent parents             giving a child the wrong methodology no homework will be given on a particular concept until              it has been well established in classroom practice.


Types of homework


  • Written consolidation of work done in class
  • Tables
  • Problem solving
  • Practical assignments
  • Research
  • Collecting data


  1. Resources and ICT:

Teaching materials will be provided at all class levels and in every strand. Children will experience a variety of materials and will have the freedom to choose from these when exploring a mathematical task. A variety of teacher designed worksheets, photocopiable master books, teacher reference books and textbooks will be used in order to present work to the children in a variety of ways. Calculators,(3rd to 6th), and computers will enhance the implementation of the curriculum.


Maths Equipment

Inventory: See Appendix 1



Pupils in Third, Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Class learn to use calculators for some maths activities. *** See Section on calculator use and Special Needs Children.                                       Children will always be encouraged to estimate first before calculating exact result on the calculator.

Using a calculator

  • The first reason for using a calculator is for checking answers.
  • If problem solving is the main objective of the exercise, use a calculator.
  • Use a calculator for teaching place – value: g. 7846  –  change to 7046
  • (800 has to be subtracted, not 8) 7846  –  change to 7806


  • Use a calculator for teaching tables in 3rd Class.
  • For repeated addition: press the number, then press +, and finally press = as often as required. g. Press 6:         Press + Press   =   Press    =    Press    etc.
  • (The display should read 6, then 12, then 18, then 24, then 30 ….. etc)
  • For repeated subtraction: press the number being subtracted from, then press = as often as required. g. Press 60:          press -, press 7, press =, press = etc.
  • (The display should read 60, then 53, then 46, then 39 …. Etc.)
  • For directed numbers: press a number, then press –  , and finally press = as often as required.  The calculator will show minus numbers below zero.
  • g. Press 31: press – 8 , press =, press =, press= etc.
  • The display should read 31, then 23, then 15, then 7, then –1, then –9 etc.,
  • Mental Strategies: g. 85 + 96.    The 9 key is broken.  How do you do this sum on the calculator?            Find ways of making 96 without the 9 key, e.g.  85+ (100 – 4).


  • Maths and ICT

Like the calculator, the computer is a tool to enhance the implementation of the Revised Curriculum.


Some of the uses of ICT in Mathematics are:

  • drill and practice
  • adventure programs (See appendix)
  • data bases
  • spreadsheets
  • using the internet to access materials and information


  1. Textbooks

Textbooks will be evaluated by the Staff, and will include a balanced treatment of all strands, varied presentation of problems and an emphasis on the use of manipulatives.


A variety of textbooks could be made available to the children based on the quality of their content in particular strands e.g. Mathemagic, Action Maths, Ready Steady Maths, Figure it Out.


Also having a selection of different mathematic books or graded workcards will help provide extension work for children who have mastered a concept. Supplementary Maths workbooks, BrainTeasers, New Wave Mental Maths, Sum Detective, Maths Challenge.



Each class grouping will work from a core textbook, but a variety of supplementary books will also be used for reinforcement.


  1. Parental Involvement – Home School Links:

Communicating with parents about the correct terminology/language and methods being used

  • Advisory notes as the need arises
  • Write language of tables in the table book
  • Parent -teacher meetings
  • Open door policy


Other ways Parents can be encouraged to help their children

Paired maths, encourage parents to buy maths games at Christmas/Birthday times, etc.

Parents and maths information leaflet