Inside a kindergarten classroom with Augustana students

## Assessments, Assessments, Assessments.

Now we have a few weeks away from the students due to spring breaks, but I am excited to see what they come back understanding that they did not before break. Over Christmas there was some huge jumps! Lets hope spring brings the same!

## Acuity Test Prep

With finals and spring break approaching, it will be a few weeks until we meet with the students again. We are all hoping that they will use the flashcards that we have provided them to continue practicing their numbers.

## Assessing Assessments

This week proved to be an unexpected one which came equipped with picture day and substitutes, so we only had the chance to work on math with Mrs. Peterson’s class on Tuesday. During the previous Thursday with Mrs. Carmack’s students, however, we had worked with the students to practice their math assessments they would be taking for the end of the kindergarten trimester. We hadn’t ended up video-taping any of the students while they took the assessment, but after having gone through it with numerous kids we realized that we had a few questions and concerns regarding the assessment itself. After our weekly meeting, we decided to go in to Mrs. Peterson’s class on Tuesday and work with her students on the same practice assessment, this time getting some good video footage.

## 100′s Day Joy and Assessment Frustration

This week in Mrs. Peterson’s class we celebrated 100′s day with the students. For the number sense time we worked with the students on making their 100′s day fruit loop necklaces. Each student was asked to put on ten sets of ten fruit loops of alternating colors. It was interesting to see how different students addressed this task. Some students needed/wanted to count each individual fruit loop. While others wanted the process to move along quicker and wanted to go by twos or count out ten fruit loops and try to place them all on at once. There was a wide range of student ability in this one simple task. Some students did not understand the concept of groups of ten and how to count by tens, while others grasped the idea quickly. I can say that i do not want to see any fruit loops for a while:)
On Thursday we helped Mrs. Carmack give her students a practice assessment. This was a standardized test that offered little room for assistance without telling the students the answer. There were some errors by students due to the fact that they could not read the written answers. There were also some visuals that added to the confusion and resulted in errors. After assessing the students we talked with Mrs. Carmack and she agreed that some of the questions were not at the correct level for the students and would possibly give a distorted view of the student’s ability. After seeing this behavior I have seen how my research topic of the best assessment type for kindergarteners can start to take shape in the classrooms. I am excited to see what I can find from my research. As well as what I can learn from the rest of this experience.

## And the cold presses on..

That’s all for this week, though!

## Cold, Cold, Go Away

Once again, Longfellow had a shortened week this past week due to the cold, so we were only able to work with Mrs. Carmack’s class. Since I didn’t have the chance to work with those students the previous week, I repeated the same counting on activity that I had completed with Mrs. Peterson’s class the week before.
Something else I noticed this week is that some of the students were struggling to compare numbers. For example, one of the addition problems was 5+3 and when I asked the student which of the numbers was bigger she said three. When I asked her how she knew that she said, “cause it just is.” To examine her claim I had her count me a pile of three counters and then a pile of five counters. When she finished I took the pile of five and gave her the pile of three and then asked her the same question. This time, with the addition of the visual element, the student was able to identify that 5 is in fact bigger than 3. I had several similar instances with students in my group, so I will continue to focus on comparing numbers with and without the use of manipulatives.

## Making Strides Towards Counting On

This past week, we only had a chance to work with Mrs. Peterson’s class due to the cold weather that caused school to close on Thursday. The activity that I completed with the kids involved a worksheet that focused on comparing numbers and solving introductory addition. The students were given an addition sentence and once they read the sentence out loud then I would ask them to tell me which of the two numbers was bigger. The worksheet had hot cocoa mugs underneath each of the problems and when students determined the bigger number they were instructed to write that number in the mug and then count a corresponding number of two-colored counters to symbolize the other number in the sentence. Then as a group we would count up from the larger number that they had identified until we had as many fingers up as we had two-colored counters. I told the students that whichever numbered we stopped on would be our answer.
Something that really struck me this week was the students’ ability to compare numbers and the variety of strategies that students employed to find their answers. For some students I had to draw a number line in order for then to compare numbers, while some students were advanced enough to be able to use benchmarks and some would utilize two-colored counters to find their answer. One boy from this class was also able to use his knowledge of the number sequence to compare numbers. The addition sentence was 3+6 and when I asked him which of the numbers was larger he said six. When I asked him how he knew this he started reciting his number sequence for me starting at one. After he said the number six he said, “See six came after three.” This explanation indicates to me that this student has some sort of understanding or has knowledge of the rule that the numbers later in the sequence are larger.
Another incidence that pleasantly surprised me was how quickly students were catching on to addition facts involving adding zero or one. Several students were able to look at the problems and tell me the answer without having to use counters or the number line. When I asked a student why 2+0=2 she told me, “Miss Jackie, zero means nothing so my number isn’t going to change.” For the problem 4+1, I had a student tell me that the answer had to be five because “plus one means it’s just one more bigger.”
I’m very pleased with the progress that I have been seeing with my students and I think a lot of them, at a surface level, are really starting to understand the concept of addition!

## Interesting Observations

This week was a shortened week due to the freezing winter and school being cancelled on Thursday. On Tuesday, however, we did get to go in and work with the kindergartners. This week the two objectives I wanted to work on were demonstrating addition as putting together and comparing #’s. For some of the students in my group who have had a lot of work with addition and were becoming fluent with their facts 1-5, I chose to work on story problems involving addition and subtraction with them instead of the activity that dealt with comparing numbers.
For the group that was closer to being fluent in basic addition, counting on during the roll and add game caught on immediately. None of the students appeared to use it as a strategy for problems they did not know at first, but after modeling they all chose that strategy on their second try. During the word problem app, I observed one student using the strategy of counting back in order to solve subtraction. He would automatically go to the biggest number on the number line at the bottom of the screen and knew to count back the number of spaces he was subtracting in order to find the answer.
I was very excited to witness the different stages in understanding counting on, and hope to carefully observe how and when these students “move out” of one stage and into the next.