More from the Numeracy Garden….

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Thank you so much to Sara-Jane Macaskill for inviting me to visit their Numeracy Garden at Knockbreck Primary  – I was so impressed and inspired by the wonderful numeracy learning and collaboration taking place!

As you can see from the photos, this is a really inspiring example of how to use an outdoor space with existing concrete materials adapted from the classroom, alongside natural and outdoor resources to create a safe, fun and nurturing learning environment!

Here the Primary 1s and 7s were working together to develop, consolidate and extend a range of numeracy skills and knowledge – it was wonderful to see how the older children were using questioning and discussion to promote thinking and understanding. I also loved how this helped all the children see that numeracy is all around us, not just in the classroom!

I hope these photos inspire you too – it would be lovely to hear your thoughts and comments. A huge thank you again to Knockbreck and Sara-Jane for sharing all their hard work and fantastic use of outdoor learning.

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Final Benchmarks for Numeracy


Education Scotland have now published the final Benchmarks for literacy and English, and numeracy and mathematics following a wide consultation with practitioners:

Numeracy and Mathematics Benchmarks

The Benchmarks embed a wide range of existing assessment guidance – significant aspects of learning, progression frameworks and annotated exemplification – into one key resource to support practitioners’ professional judgement.

Follow this link for FAQ regarding the Benchmarks:

Benchmarks FAQ

You may find this document highlighting the changes that have been made to the Draft Benchmarks helpful:

Numeracy Mathematics Changes Document

Over the coming weeks we will cross check the Final Benchmarks with the Highland Numeracy Progression to ensure they are consistent, and we will let you know if there are any updates required to the HNP in line with these.

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Highland Numeracy Teaching Model


The Teaching Model we recommend for all learning and teaching in numeracy is to always first use concrete materials to represent a problem or concept visually, then screen in some way to develop a mental image, and only then move on to abstract numbers.

In this way children are actively making sense of their learning and developing a strong conceptual understanding rather than following rules or processes. Have a look at Page 3 of the Highland Numeracy Progression for more information.

Here are some fantastic examples of this being used to develop understanding of fractions from Drakies Primary:

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I also love these video clips from NZ Maths, Maths Recovery and Singapore Maths showing the importance of concrete materials to building conceptual understanding, and modelling how they can be used:

Teaching Model 2Teaching Model

If you find these useful, please comment or email – and it would be fantastic to see examples of how you have used the Teaching Model in your setting!

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Decimat resources!


Follow this link for these printable decimat resources:

Decimal mat resources

These are based on the Deci-mats available from NZ Maths, but I’ve just adapted them slightly to include pre-printed colour versions as shown. These can be used as a concrete material to promote understanding of decimals in so many ways.

  • Try showing the whole decimat and asking what would happen if we cut it into ten
  • Show the tenths decimat and ask  –  What would 0.5 look like? 0.9? 0.2?
  • Show the printed version for 0.3 – How would we descibe this as a decimal? A fraction?
  • Sort printed decimats and match to numeral cards
  • Sequence and order printed tenth decimats. Match to numeral cards
  • Use on Smartboard, laminate to use again, or print paper versions to allow colouring or cutting out
  • Use to promote mental strategies for adding/subtracting decimals
  • Extend to hundredths decimat and discuss how we describe hundredths as decimals
  • How many hundredths in a tenth? Can you prove it?
  • How many tenths in forty hundredths? Can you prove it?

I love these equipment animations from NZ Maths to show different ways they can be used:

Tenths and Hundredths

Written Recording of Decimals

Addition and Subtraction of Decimals

These will also be available on the Resources Page. I’d love to hear ways you find these useful for learning and teaching – as always please comment or email photos!

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Making primary maths more creative: a seminar with Rob Eastaway



Follow this link for more information on this seminar, which takes place on 8th June:

Making primary maths more creative: a seminar with Rob Eastaway

I’ve already booked my place!

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Developing links between home and school

I am a mathematician

A great resource from Education Scotland to share with parents for learning at home. Follow this link: I am a Mathematician to view the document.

You can also find this on the Parents – supporting numeracy at home page.

It would be great to hear ways you promote parental involvement with your school – please comment or email if you would like to share!


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Fun with Numicon at Cauldeen Nursery!

Fantastic session with the morning and afternoon groups at Cauldeen nursery yesterday! We introduced Numicon to the children and explored ways we could use this to develop understanding of numerals, number word sequences and counting. As you can see this was lots of fun – and a great way to promote dialogue, questioning and enjoyment of numeracy.

Look back at this post for more information on how Numicon can be used as a resource to develop conceptual understanding:

Numicon and the Highland Numeracy Progression

Or please contact me if you are interested in training using Numicon or other concrete materials to support learning and teaching in numeracy.

Thank you to Cauldeen Primary for modelling great practice and making maths a fun and positive experience!



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