The Number Box comes bundled in a bright yellow briefcase. It’s only a small detail, but it was enough to capture the hearts of my Year 1 children straight away – they’re so easily pleased!
The briefcase performs a more practical function too, as it makes the resource easy to carry around the classroom. Also, as a busy teacher who is always losing things under piles of paperwork, it’s nice to have a container that’s easily spotted!
Both my LSA and I used this resource during a numeracy lesson with a small group of four lower ability pupils all on I.E.Ps. This particular group of children are very hard to focus so I find it a constant challenge to think of new ideas and resources to make sure they progress. The Number Box was the perfect tool for helping them build their skills without disrupting the rest of the class. It also made them feel special without making them aware they were working on something different.
Inside the box are small compartments, each containing a practical resource which ties in with the different strands of the new numeracy strategy. Useful props include 3D shapes, plastic money, 100 square, digit cards, a small clock, mini whiteboard, magnetic numbers, number lines and more besides. There is also a laminated sheet of warm up games with simple and fun interactive suggestions, which can be used in a variety of ways to build up children’s confidence.
Very handy are the assessment sheets included for different objectives. These are fantastic for monitoring children’s progress and also help the LSA to keep the teacher informed of any perceived weaknesses, which in turn informs their planning.
While I had The Number Box in for review we were working on addition and subtraction (Strand A, Unit 3). For that week, myself and my LSA used the resource to help the lower ability children focus on their basic number skills. We gave pupils the digit cards and magnetic numbers and started them off with ideas from the warm up sheet to help them practice number recognition, ordering numbers, matching numbers and one more and one less.
With such a variety of ideas the children stayed focused and were engaged at all times. Lessons were fast paced, making sure pupils were never required to concentrate on one activity for too long.
We then used the number lines and hundred squares to identify different numbers and work out simple addition and subtraction sums, which meant that the lower ability pupils were learning in parallel with the rest of the class.
I will definitely be using this resource again with my lower ability group. It provides children with a clear structure and saves time and planning for me.The Number Box has tons of variety, engages children and fills in the skills which they have either missed or not yet grasped. I could also use it as a reward for pupils who have finished work, as it can be delivered in short bursts and the children feel like they are playing games.