Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Deliberate Practice

At our school we have been having fantastic conversations about how we structure Mathematics lessons and the key components of these.
One question that has generated a great deal of conversation has been...
'How do we develop students' understanding and automaticity at the same time?'.
We have come to the conclusion that we need to explicitly teach children how to understand numbers (for example: counting, place value, renaming) alongside developing automatic skills - in a logical order and as students are ready for them.
Deliberate Practice is the strategy we are using to encourage students to build automaticity as they develop a deepening understanding of a topic that is currently being taught. Deliberate practice is undertaken every day for approximately 15 minutes.
An example:
Teaching focus: learning multiplication tables (this is introduced in the form of skip counting in Year 1 and develops to multiplication facts in Years 3 and 4). This focus is a basis for further learning in computation and allows students to undertake problem solving tasks with greater ease.
Teachers explicitly explore multiplication concepts and strategies with students while, at the same time, providing time for targeted practice (based on individual student's needs) of these on a daily basis. Each child has a goal and is able to manage and reflect on their own learning independently. A range of practice tasks are available for students to select from. Students then undertake a test to show their progress before they are able to move on (a minimum benchmark has been set). We use many resources from the QuickSmart numeracy intervention program, however, there are many resources available both on and off line. We also have an iSURF bundle available to support the teaching of multiplication tables...
This is one expample of many Mathematics topics that are being developed through Deliberate Practice across our school.
We are enjoying watching our student's understanding, knowledge and confidence soar!
If you have a strategy or lesson focus that you would like to share - please let us know at