Episode 2.mp4

Direct Instruction

At the beginning of the year I really focus on place value, as it is an essential building block for maths. If students have big gaps in their PV understanding, they will really struggle with concepts like fractions and decimals. I spend quite a lot of time on PV, really breaking down what they are doing and why. I emphasise the word 'exchange' for their 10's/1's transactions so they can explain their thinking more accurately, without being confused by 'taking away' (because you aren't taking away, you are moving the numbers around).

I use place value counters/tokens which I created last year as a resource. They are available here; just print, laminate and cut.

For other videos of how I have used these, see here.

These students were struggling to explain verbally what they were doing, so that was our focus. Exchanging correctly, and talking about what we did correctly.

Extended plan here


What went well.


Materials always helps students understand new or difficult concepts. The PV tokens really help the students to see that they aren't taking away anything, but changing some of the numbers around by moving 10's/1's. Physically moving them to 'exchange' helps them keep track of their thinking and what to do next.

Taking risks.

I loved how when I asked if they wanted to try subtraction, they said yes, even though they weren't 100% confident in themselves.

What still needs work.

Familiarity and confidence using 'maths words'

Although they have become more comfortable using 'maths words' like tens, ones and exchange, they sometimes still get mixed up sometimes so their thinking and explanation is not clear. This will get better over time as they continue to use them.

Class Site Content


  • WALT solve problems using place value

SC I can find out how many tens and ones are in a number to help me add the numbers together

Instructions (after you have seen the teacher)

1. Watch Lily's video (click to the right) and listen to her explain how she solved the problems.

2. Talk to your buddy about which different steps she used to solve each question.

The first step is to..

The second step is to..

The last step is to..

3. With a buddy, solve the problems on the slides below the same way Lily did. Try to explain the steps you did. Use Screencastify to record your discussion. Share on your blog.

Click here to view the video on Lily's blog.

Learner Generated Content