This regular use, however, does bring up the question of time allocation. If too much time is used for preparation or packing up, this will certainly restrict its use. (Any teaching aid that requires lengthy preparation will soon be consigned to the bottom shelves of cupboards!) If, at the end of a Numero® session, children have to re-sort their packs, removing Wild Cards, this will detract from its effectiveness, popularity and use. Of course, if sets of Numero® have to be shared among various classes, this problem is almost unavoidable. Where a class has its own set, the benefits of Numero® are much more evident, so a goal should be to have sets of Numero® in each class.
2. Numbering of Packs
As soon as a school receives its cards, all packs should be numbered. That is, all cards in one pack are numbered ’1′, another ’2′, and so on. Further, we suggest that different class sets should be identified, so that one class would use, say, a black marker, another red, and so on. Then, if cards happen to be dropped on the floor, or even outside, the number and colour will immediately tell to which class set and which pack a card belongs.
Numbering packs may be a rather onerous task, but the effort spent will be saved many times over.
Numero® readily caters for different ability levels in the one classroom so that while one pair might be playing with Number Cards only (using addition only), others could also incorporate subtraction, others multiplication and division, and others fractions. Numero® is ideal for differentiation – see Paul Swan’s endorsement to this effect.
If the packs are numbered, and a class has its own set, at the end of the allotted time, the teacher may just say, ‘All stop playing. Put your hands down on your desks. Pick up the stack of cards you have won. Count them to see who has won your game, then put all your cards straight back into your pack’.
The packs are then collected in just a few moments, and the class can continue with the rest of the mathematics lesson or whatever. At the next Numero® session, each pair is simply given the same numbered pack, containing the Wild Cards they are using. Numbered packs are ideal as each student will know which pack/s suit their ability level.
So, without any wasted time, all students are immediately able to begin playing at the correct level for their ability.