Inside a kindergarten classroom with Augustana students

Interesting ways to remember number symbols

Last week, we had our first interactions with the Kindergarteners for the Number Sense Project.  The first day, we really decided that it would be best to assess our students in order to determine what the students knew about math.  There was a wide range of abilities in our classroom from students who could not identify number symbols after 5 all the way to students learning addition!  I was absolutely amazed by how different each child actually is. 

After I assessed my students and understood what level each child was at, I started to pull out students to work individually on the specific skills they were struggling with.  I first started with the students who were struggling the most.  I ended up using the iPad apps “Line ‘em Up” and “Count Sort.”  I started the lesson with “Line ‘em Up” to see which numbers the students could identify.  This was evident if the students could put the numbers in order on the number line.  For the students who were struggling with identifying the numbers, I asked them how they knew what the number symbol was.  For the numbers they knew, they described what the number symbol looked like with circles, squiggles, and lines.  I decided that I would use the same descriptions in order to help the students identify the numbers they do not know.  For example, if a student had trouble identifying a 6 and a 9, i asked them what each of them looked like.  They would tell me “a six has a circle on bottom and a squiggle on the top” or “a nine has a circle on to and a squiggle on the bottom.”  By looking at the number line, they could determine which number went first. 

After my students explained to me what each number looked like, we got some more practice identifying number symbols by playing “Count Sort” on the iPad.  I set the options to the grid and allowed there to be 4 answers that the students needed to decide whichthe correct answer is.  The students had no problems counting these objects, but they were still struggling with the numbers 6-10.  For example, if a student counted 6 objects and did not know which one was the six, then I would ask the student what a 6 looks like.  They would describe what the number looks like to me perfectly.  I would repeat exactly what the student told me and they would be able to pick out the correct number.  I thought that this was absolutely amazing!  I never realized that my students may not be able to multitask as well as I could.  I thought that they would be able to think about what the numbers looked like and apply those descriptions to the numbers which were shown on the screen.  As we kept going over the number symbols, my students kept improving exponentially! 

I am really hoping that the students will keep improving the way that they are in the next few weeks!

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