Sumdog competition – Get playing!

Welcome Maths Enthusiasts. I have entered the whole school into a Sumdog competition against other schools.

All you need to do is log onto Sumdog with your usual username and password then enter the school code sjs3 to help us gain as many points as possible. The competition started today and ends next Friday 14th February at 8am.

How do you earn St John’s some points? Simply play! The more you play the more we earn.


Good Luck children!


Mrs Gillhouley

Well done mathemagicians!

A team of four Year 6 pupils travelled to Orpington, kindly accompanied by two of our parent volunteers, to enter a National Maths competition. They found out last week that they have succeeded in getting through to the National Final on Wednesday 5th December.


Well done team and good luck!

Phew! What a challenge!

Today 44 children from Class 5, 6M and 6W took part in the annual Primary Maths Challenge, which consisted of 25 questions to be answered in 45 minutes. The questions this year were truly tricky and much harder than last year. We send the results off and will wait to find out if any of our pupils qualify for the next round.


So well done to all for taking up the challenge.


Watch this space for updates.



Maths training for staff

On Wednesday 24th January, teachers gathered to participate in a training session with a Maths Hub leader from the Yorkshire hub, called White Rose. We opened up the session to the Sevenoaks partnership and were pleased to be joined by many of our local colleagues from nearby schools.

Jess Easton facilitated the 4 hour workshop covering ‘bar modelling’ – an approach to support children in problem solving. We looked at how this can be used from Reception right up to Year 6 and beyond. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive and teachers left feeling inspired and keen to try out the new ideas.

Want to find out more? Try this

:Look how quickly our staff put this training into action!


This is what the NCETM (National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics) says:

The bar model is used in Singapore and other countries, such as Japan and the USA, to support children in problem solving. It is not a method for solving problems, but a way of revealing the mathematical structure within a problem and gaining insight and clarity as to how to solve it. It supports the transformation of real life problems into a mathematical form and can bridge the gap between concrete mathematical experiences and abstract representations. It should be preceded by and used in conjunction with a variety of representations, both concrete and pictorial, all of which contribute to children’s developing number sense. It can be used to represent problems involving the four operations, ratio and proportion. It is also useful for representing unknowns in a problem and as such can be a pre-cursor to more symbolic algebra.



Maths Learning Journeys

In maths, across the school, we have started to think about how we use displays to support children’s understanding of maths concepts. In a recent maths leadership meeting, I was introduced to the idea of ‘The Learning Journey.’ After talking it through with the staff, we decided to take this on board in our own classes. Below are some of the learning journeys across the school.

Can you spot the one in your child’s class?

The idea is that, the main learning objectives and concepts in each maths unit are written up on the board and they form small steps towards the bigger concept. Then the important visual models we use to support and scaffold the children’s learning are immediately put up onto the board alongside our teaching, as a way for the children to reference back their learning. They can look up at the board at any point in class and the ideas on it will prompt their memory if they have forgotten what to do. We use a vehicle such as a car, plane, camper van, etc, to follow the route of the learning journey. We move the vehicle on when we have accomplished each small step on our way to securing the bigger concepts.  It is working really well.

Planes and Pizza!!

What a fantastic term in year 1 – full of investigation and discovery. Our topic about flight proved to be immense fun as we explored the best material to make a helicopter, based on the principal of how a sycamore seed flies. We were surprised to find that paper flew and spun the best with craft foam a close second. The children also came in enthused after their homework challenge to make  a parachute for a toy, asking ‘what flying thing are we making next?’

1755 1749

We continued with our investigations by designing, making and improving paper kites. Luckily we were blessed with a windy afternoon to carry out our testing, and retesting once we had strengthened our kites with drinking straws. The kites looked really professional and the children were keen to take them home rather than have them displayed in the classroom.

1757 1770 1787

Paper planes were our next challenge! Many of the boys professed to be experts already, however they keenly followed the video instructions to make a dart plane. With our planes decorated and named (Some with hugely creative names like ‘Blaze’ and ‘Sapphire’) we once again went outside to see what our creations would do. After a few trial runs, our planes were flying brilliantly, especially after adding blue tac to balance them.

1834 1837

The children were thrilled to arrive one morning to find a Pizza Shop in the conservatory! Our maths about wholes, halves, quarters, money, and counting in twos, fives and tens was fun and practical, as well as helping our communication skills and manners!

1844 1841 1842 1833 1800 1791

The children are now wondering what might appear in the conservatory next…

The Maths Research Group comes to St. John’s

On Wednesday, we welcome our partners in research to St. John’s for a morning of maths mastery. It is our turn to host the maths group and explore the principles of mastery. I will be teaching a maths lesson on ratio to Class 6 while 14 teachers observe me – quite scary! After the lesson, we talk about the learning sequence and opportunities for the pupils to gain mastery of the concept taught.

Watch this space! I will tell you all about it after our research day – if I survive…


Jane Gillhouley

Shanghai-England Maths Project

On 12th January, Bev Casewell and I went to Blean Primary School to observe the visiting Shanghai teachers teaching maths to British school children. We saw a Year 3 multiplication lesson and a Year 4 fractions lesson. It was fascinating for us to see their teaching methods and the structure of the lesson.

Mrs Casewell has already tried out the lesson in Year 4C and this week will be repeating the lesson in Year 4P while I will be teaching the multiplication lesson to Year 3. We were very lucky to have been invited along and it has given us much food for thought.

Well done mathematicians!

This week seventeen Year 5 and 6 children took on the Primary Maths Challenge. It was a 45 minute test which was extremely challenging! The children did a really good job – it was lovely to see such keen mathematicians.


Well done!