Teacher Talk: Numerous Uses for Numicon!

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Our primary specialist Vikz has introduced a fantastic new tool to Spark this year – Numicon. Already this amazing addition has had a profound affect on our lessons. Students, teachers and parents are finding that Numicon is a wonderful supporting tool in lesson time. But what is it really and how does it work?

Numicon: What is it?

 

The Oxford University Press describes Numicon as ‘a multi-sensory approach’ to maths. It is used both at home and at school. This means that using it at Spark has unlimited benefits for our students. Vikz teaches several of our Maths classes up until Year 7 and has found Numicon is a wonderful tool to use for all ages.

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These fabulous brightly pieces are useful for addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. They can also be set out next to each other or piled on top of each other. Even more, you can use any of the different sized blocks together – it all depends on what types of numeracy you’re learning that day!

 

How does it actually work?

 

Numicon works by giving students a visual and physical representation of the sums they are doing. Have a look at this picture:

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If you are working on addition, the pieces let children see different ways of making the same number. Students can literally fill in the gaps to make 20!

If you were looking at subtraction, you’d simply use the pieces in reverse. Ask a student to answer 20-10 using two 10-pieces, and they are able to lift away a 10-piece to help them work out the answer. For students who struggle with numeracy, this tool can make a huge difference.

 

How are you using Numicon at Spark?

 

Have a look for yourself!

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Understanding the four times table can be as easy as reaching for a new 4-piece. First the students get to grips with their times tables using Numicon… Then their overall understanding is improved from a ground level up. Vikz often has students compete against themselves in ‘speed runs’; how many correct times table answers they can write down

at the beginning of the lesson versus at the end of the lesson. Unsurprisingly, a little work with these amazingly colourful pieces and the second ‘speed run’ is always an improvement!

 

Here you can see one of our Year 3 students working hard at his 3 times table. In addition to Vikz’s teaching, Eshaan finds Numicon a great benefit in his lessons.

 

 

Here at Spark we are always looking for new ways to teach. We are passionate about helping our students. You can see already, in only October, how helpful Numicon can be for our classes. Of course, it is our brilliant Vikz who has been able to use this educational tool to such great effect. You’re doing amazing work there, Vikz, keep it up!

 

The Spark: Successful SATs Support

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Welcome to this week’s edition of The Spark. Tuesday is News-day and this week’s article ‘Sublime SATs Support’ showcases one primary school’s gratitude to Spark Academy…

Sublime SATs Support

Spark Tuition aids ‘amazing results’ in SATs Scores

 

This week Spark Academy has received an email from a primary school close to their hearts. Sacred Heart Primary School in Leicester contacted founder Mital Thanki to thank her for tuition support provided to their Year 6 students in the last academic year.

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The multiplication dice game is popular with all of our students, giving them the power to create and solve their own sums!

 

Sacred Heart contacted Mital last year to organise intervention support for some of their struggling students. The school was determined to help students achieve in their SATs in May. Spark Academy was part of their plan to support students as well as improve their results.

 

Bespoke Support

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Brutus the Roman helped Nic teach students about roman numerals

 

Over a period of five weeks Nic Hey went to the school to offer bespoke support to ten students. Our tutors designed each lesson to target areas of concern for those pupils. This meant that the students received tuition that was truly tailored to their needs.

Nic was able to work with the students on the topics of roman numerals, percentages, angles, long multiplication and division to offer individualised support to aid student’s understanding. In addition to useful support, Nic provided continuously enjoyable lessons using resources created alongside Chris Nelson. Sacred Heart viewed the support provided as ‘amazing’.

 

Fantastic Results

 

These 10 students sat their SATs along with all other Year 6s in the country in May of this year. Both the school and Spark Academy eagerly awaited the student’s results. Everyone wanted to see what effect the extra support provided had on the results.

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Starters were a fun way to test students’ basic numeracy skills

Sacred Heart told Mital: ‘We achieved National Average in Maths – we’ve never done that before’.

The incredible results achieved by these students are due to several factors. These were the hard work of the students, the dedication of Sacred Heart’s teachers and the ‘tutoring Nicola delivered added’ to this success. As a result, Sacred Heart is hoping to involve Spark Academy in supporting its students again this year.

Mital and the Spark team are looking forward to supporting Sacred Heart students. They are also celebrating these amazing results and excited to building on their good relationship with Sacred Heart.

 

 

 

Student Thought: ‘Challenging but fun’

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Student Thoughts is a new feature for us at Spark Ideas. At Spark, we always value what our students think of us and this seemed like a good place to let their opinions shine!

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This week we spoke to one of our Year 9 groups to see what they think of Spark. These are a group of English and Maths students from the Oadby site. They had a lot of nice things to say!

 

What do you enjoy about learning at Spark Academy?

 

 I enjoy working with the people I get along with.

Anaya

The work is challenging but fun and you easily get on with the other people in your group.

K*

Group work is a staple in a lot of our English lessons at Spark. It’s fantastic to hear that students are not just benefiting from this, but building friendships to enjoy working with their classmates.

 

That teachers give you extra help and are by your side to help you exceed your best. And you have more attention from teachers.

Rhea

 

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It’s brilliant to hear that our efforts aren’t going to waste – our small classes really do help the students succeed!

 

Did you look at other tuition services before Spark? If so, why did you pick Spark Academy?

 

Most of the students said they hadn’t looked anywhere else – for Aman and Rhea, Spark has been their first and only tuition provider. As Dhruv says:

This is really good!

 

I also found out lots of students have come to us through recommendations:

My cousins recommended this tuition and I had a free trial lesson which I loved. I have been coming here now for 3 years.

Rhea

 

My friend recommended it.

Aman

Those students who had tried elsewhere before Spark were definitely happy to be here now:

 

[I did go to another provider] but they weren’t as good because this [is] more modern and I really enjoy it.

K*

 

I didn’t learn anything at my other tuition.

Anaya

I think we’re all glad to hear you’re learning a lot more with us, Anaya!

 

Anything else to add?

 

Tuition has helped me massively and has made my grades higher, especially in Maths. Tuition has made me gain a lot of confidence.

Rhea

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It was wonderful to hear all of the lovely things our Year 9 class had to say, especially as many of the students have been with us for a few years now. We hope that you continue to enjoy and learn with us!

Want to know more about the work our students have been doing? Look here to find out!

Interested in experiencing Spark like our amazing Year 9s? Book your free trial today!

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