Inside a kindergarten classroom with Augustana students

Pennies are the Bear Minimum

 Happy Friday to our loyal blog readers! Today I will continue with a similar blog to Laura’s and Sara’s. We did not work with our individual “regulars” for the whole time today. What we did was help students understand the concept between numbers and “cents.” The goal was to have kindergarteners comprehend that pennies were a form of money and therefore must be called 5 cents, rather than just 5. The kindergarteners I worked with caught on to this concept right away. However, today I unfortunately did not work with my good friend Benny so we don’t know if he would have understood the concept or not. We will work on that next week, here we come 16 cents!

All the students I worked with were able to put the penny jars in order from least to greatest. I worked with 3 or 4 groups. They all knew that 1 needed to be first and 12 needed to be last (the jars only went up to 12). Some needed more prompting than others, but they all understood how to put the numbers in order. Once I found that this activity was too easy for most of my students I went on to another realm of math. This is a realm I have never liked, but students need to learn good old ESTIMATION! What fun! Anyway I put down large piles of pennies and asked my students to look at the piles without counting. I asked them if they thought there were more than 10 pennies. Most could tell me that there were more than 10. Then I asked how many they thought were in the pile. Of course most of them said 11 since they knew there were more than 10. I would have them count out the pile to see if they were correct or not. Then I would take some pennies away and ask how many they thought were in the pile now.

Some understood that their new guess must be less than how many they just counted. Other groups did not catch on to this idea until I prompted them. That is something I will work on with students in the future. That can go along with the idea of more or less which we want the students to learn. Overall, all the groups I worked with estimated fairly well, especially since this idea of estimation is fairly new to them. Once I had finished all the penny jar fun we had a new activity to help the class with. Each child, throughout the week, had brought in a stuffed bear. The lesson consisted of measuring their bear with links (little toys that link together) and then charting where their bear falls in the lineup.

The kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Nel (name changed for confidentiality) asked the students to measure their bears with the links. She then asked the student’s who thought they had the shortest bears to stand up. We took these students over to the windowsill to place their bears in the proper places from shortest to tallest. Then the students with the largest bears came to place their animals on the windowsill. The students will the medium sized bears came over to put their stuffed animals somewhere in the middle. All students were able to see the array of bear sizes. The activity did become a little rowdy, but Mrs. Nel had good control over the class. It was interesting to see that most bears measured ten links. I am sure that is one of the requirements for the factories that create stuffed bears…Anyway I was pleased with the students measuring abilities and understanding of bigger or smaller. Nevertheless, it did become a little difficult because many of the bears appeared to be the same size.
These experiences with the kindergarteners are what I look forward to every day. Seeing them is the first part of my morning routine so I always begin the day on a good note. Sometimes things can become a little hectic, but knowing that we are making a difference makes everything worth it. Through these incidents in the school I have realized that teaching is where my heart is supposed to be. I want to thank everyone for reading and Augustana College for providing me with these wonderful opportunities to explore my future career.

One Response to “Pennies are the Bear Minimum”

  1. All of these daily lessons help to understand how five and six-year-olds learn! When you see them grasping the concept you have taught, it’s thrilling!

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