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By Ann Montague-SmithRetired primary teacher trainer and freelance author

Get your pencils at the ready and try out these fun maths games that build on mental maths skills to develop and refine children’s written calculation methods

child writing

Older children can practice written multiplication using individual whiteboards

How times have changed! How many of you shopped for your mother in the 1950s and 1960s, where the shop assistant wrote everything onto a scrap of paper, in columns, then totalled the shopping bill? Or maybe you ate in French restaurants in the 1970s where the waiter totalled the cost of your order on the corner of the paper tablecloth – again, writing in columns? Today children rarely see anyone with paper and pencil, making calculations in a formal, algorithmic way. Parents probably reach for the calculator far more often than they use paper and pencil for calculating. It falls to teachers to provide a good model for pencil and paper procedures for calculating and the need to calculate in this way. The National Numeracy Strategy gives examples of how to do paper and pencil procedures; this article offers ideas for developing and using these skills in the classroom.

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