Avanti Mental Maths

$55.00 each


Avanti Mental Maths is a publication by Ellita De Nardi, comprising 168 pages of constructive learning tasks including Rich open-ended tasks, Mental calculating strategies, Practice games, Speed and accuracy tasks, Work sample tags for portfolios, Planning and assessment.

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  • WORK SAMPLE TAGS for portfolios
  • Tasks engage students in working mathematically in order to develop a rich understanding of numbers and operations and the skills to estimate and calculate confidently.

    Avanti Mental Maths is an invaluable resource that can assist teachers to plan, implement and assess Number and Working Mathematically outcomes.

    ‘Avanti’ means to ‘make progress’, ‘advance’ or ‘go forward’. The traditional practice of daily mental maths ‘testing’ does not help students make progress in the achievement of the Number and Working Mathematically outcomes. An alternative approach is to provide students with constructive learning tasks that will assist students of all abilities to understand numbers, understand operations and calculate efficiently.

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    Workshops on Avanti Mental Maths

    Professional development workshops can be arranged - contact Ellita for details:

    • Ellita De Nardi: (08)9291 9449
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    Avanti Mental Maths is a new Western Australian publication that is very different from other mental maths books. ‘Avanti’, in Italian, means to ‘go forward’ or ‘advance’. Traditional mental maths books may have the right answers, but this book has the right questions to promote working mathematically and number sense and assist students of all abilities to ‘advance’ or ‘make progress’ in mathematics. This is the reference book that teachers of Years 1-8 have been waiting for.

    The traditional approach to mental maths with its emphasis on instant recall, daily testing and speed does not provide sufficient opportunities for students to develop and extend their understandings of numbers and operations and build up a range of mental calculating strategies and thinking skills, as described in the outcomes and related Progress Maps. The activities in Avanti Mental Maths are mostly constructive learning tasks that can be used for the purposes of teaching, learning or assessment.

    Avanti Mental Maths offers four main types of activities:
    • open-ended tasks;
    • mental calculating strategies;
    • practice games;
    • speed and accuracy tasks.

    The open-ended tasks emphasize exploring, discussing and evaluating a range of responses and strategies for one question. The idea that ‘less is more’ is based on George Polya’s philosophy that ‘it is better to solve one problem five different ways than to solve five different problems.’ All the open-ended tasks can be used with different year levels as there are different levels of sophistication at which students might respond. Each open-ended task is described via a
    - teacher information page,
    - page outlining what to assess,
    - student recording sheet which can be photocopied,
    - work sample tag which describe the tasks and relevant outcomes and which can be photocopied for portfolios.

    A glance at the current W.A. Progress Maps shows that the focus of the Number outcomes is understanding numbers and operations and calculating using a variety of mental calculating strategies. Over 20 commonly used mental calculating strategies are explained and demonstrated using simple models such as MAB, money, counters, number lines, grid paper and frameworks. There are support activities for each strategy so that teachers can explicitly teach these ideas in the classroom. Teachers do not become overwhelmed with too many strategies nor are they left wondering which strategies to teach. If teachers plan to teach 2-3 strategies per term, then by the end of the year the students will have built up a valuable repertoire of strategies.

    The use of practice games will ensure that students are fully engaged in constructive learning without feeling anxious or stressed. Because there is an element of chance in the games, it ensures that students have the opportunity to win and build up their self esteem. It is recommended that students play the same game over extended periods so that they become familiar with the rules and focus on exploring the mathematical ideas inherent in the games.

    The speed and accuracy tasks allow teachers to identify the specific facts or areas that are causing problems for students. Ideas for teaching these difficult facts are suggested.

    As a teacher reference book in an outcomes world, Avanti Mental Maths stands out. It offers a balanced and flexible learning program, which can be easily modified to suit any student’s needs. By implementing the ideas in the book, teachers will assist their students to work mathematically to develop number sense based on an understanding of key number concepts. This will make a positive difference to the students’ confidence and progress in mathematics. For this reason, teachers will want and need their own copy of this excellent publication.

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