Inside a kindergarten classroom with Augustana students

You Really Can Count to 30

I used hands-on manipulatives again last week with the kindergarteners by having them complete a number line from 1 to either 10, 20, or 30 with actual number cards. I plan to use a computer activity this upcoming week that assesses students’ skills on the same concept, and I will compare the results between the two activities to see if technologies or manipulatives work better when teaching this concept. Ordering the number cards into a number line was a very successful activity because it is flexible enough to help kindergarteners of all abilities develop their number recognition, counting, and ordering skills. I started working with each student by asking them to count from 1 to 30 or as high as they could, depending on ability level, in order to get a current understanding of their skills counting out loud. Among the students I did this activity with last week, some students easily counted to 30 and wanted to count further, some struggled counting in the teens, and a few were unable to count to 10. Many of the students in the kindergarten classroom are not confident in their abilities, and this is even noticable in an activity as simple as counting out loud. For example, when I asked one girl if she could count to 30 for me, she shook her head no, so instead I had to say, “Okay, why don’t you start counting at one, and we’ll see how far you can go?” She counted correctly to 20, then seemed to be stuck, but after I asked “What comes after 20?” she said 21 and correctly counted to 30. When she said 30 out loud, she realized that was the number she had told me she could not count to and her face lit up with excitement. I am constantly trying to help most of the kindergarteners develop confidence in their abilities by encouraging them, including in the second part of this activity.

 After the simple counting review, I gave each student a group of number cards to order based on his or her abilities. For the higher ability students, I started by giving them the cards 1-20 and added 21-30 after they correctly ordered the first 10. Most of these kindergarteners had no problem ordering 1-30 correctly, so I then asked them to count from 30-50 starting at 30 to see how far they were ready to advance with this concept. I gave the students with more “average” abilities the cards 1-20 to start and only added 21-30 if they correctly ordered the cards to 20. Many of them ordered the cards correctly to 30, with some assistance in the teens and twenties. With the lower ability students, I limited the cards to 1-10 and only 1-5 for a couple of students. This allowed me to really focus on the numbers in this range each student was having trouble recognizing and counting. Each student was able to correctly order the cards 1-10 with some assistance, and the number line helped these students count correctly from 1-10. This activity helped most of the kindergarteners improve their counting, number recognition skills, and confidence, but it needs adapted to include larger numbers when working with higher ability students. It will be interesting to see how well students of different ability levels learn from using the “Line Em Up” computer activity this week, as compared to last week’s activity that teaches the same concepts of ordering and number recognition.

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