Early Bird Maths

I shared some pictures of my most recent Early Bird Maths Smartboard file on Twitter. I asked if anyone would be interested in them, expecting a handful of people to ask. I did not expect over 30 people to express an interest. So, I have put the resources, along with a little explanation, in this blog. Thank you for your interest! I hope you find them useful. please note that I only started making these resources at the end of the Autumn Term.

I got this idea from my visit of Parklands school in Leeds (the famous Chris Dyson). Brooke Nolan, the Maths lead at Parklands, shared some of her resources and showed me it in action on my school visit. I have been doing it for two months now and the difference it has made has made has been incredible. Well worth the effort! The average percentage on an end of Year 5 arithmetic paper have gone from 43% the first week of this academic year to 77% on the first week of Spring 1. My lowest score has gone from 13% to 41% too so works for all the kids. An incredible difference. My aim now is to see if I can get the average to around 80-85% and increase the lowest score to somewhere above 50%. As I say to my class, “It’s not how you start, but how you finish!”

Spring 2 update: the lowest score is now 59% and the average score is up to 87%. Very happy with that!

The Early Bird Maths is worked on for the first 20-25 minutes of every day. Monday and Friday they do it completely on their own. On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday my LSA and I move around the classroom and work with specific children who struggled with certain questions from the previous day before leaving them to attempt the most recent version. All I do is change the numbers of each question and occasionally the format of a couple. Most of the questions are based on previous work we have covered (recap) or things which I spotted they’d made mistakes in their end of Term (White Rose) assessments and the half termly end of year 5 arithmetic papers. The kids have 15-20 minutes to complete the questions (depending on how many there are, how many are written method practise and how difficult they are) and then I work them out out loud or on a flipchart so all the kids can see. They mark their questions. I put them in three groups depending on how they’ve done. Lowest group for me to work with later on in the week, middle group for my LSA and top group I make sure have completed my bonus question. Sometimes I give them an even harder bonus question. We have separate books which the Early Bird Maths goes in, which makes it so much easier.

I have included some examples from Parklands so please only use these for yourself. Don’t share them about. If you do your own versions, I would appreciate it if your shared some in return as no doubt you will have different and better ideas for questions or format.

N.B. Don’t sell these on TES.

Here’s a Dropbox link to download the files I have created so far (updated with a few files on 10th March):


Mark Gilbranch


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