Inside a kindergarten classroom with Augustana students

Motivation is Key For Learning

Week three of Number Sense went very well and I felt as though my partner and I were finally starting to make progress with the students. We are done testing to see what the students know and do not know yet and now we have started targeting specific skills with specific students. For week 3 Mrs. C. wanted us to focus on ten frames, shapes, matching numbers to sets of objects, and word problems with a missing addend. These skills were similar to the skills that we focused on last week, so when my partner and I pulled the students out to work with them we focused on the skills they needed the most help with and I made sure to try and find new ways of explaining the content to them to see if I could that would make it easier for them to understand.

One of the skills that was a focus for this past week was shapes. The students have to identify hexagons, trapezoids, ovals, diamonds, rhombuses, squares, triangles, circles, rectangles, cones, cylinders, and cubes. The students I worked with for the most part all had trouble with trapezoids, rhombuses, and hexagons. I guessed that those shapes might be a problem, but some students were saying that the triangle I showed them was a square. That was surprising to me. They did really well recognizing cones, cylinders, and spheres though. After seeing what shapes the students remembered I would go over and over the name of the shapes they did not know until they were able to tell me the correct names for those shapes. The repetition was not fun for the students, but it is important that they get these shapes down becasue they are going to be tested on them. Those shapes that they consistently got incorrect I would create tricks to help them remember. For example, I would draw a trapezoid on the white board and show them how the sided looked like they were falling in. I told them if the sides fell in the roof would also fall down and trap them hence it is a trapezoid. That helped some of the students but not all. I had the students draw the different shapes on a white board and I also gave them geoboards and rubber bands to recreate the shapes with. This allowed me to see if they really understood what the shapes looked like. I asked one of the students to make a square on the geoboard and while she was making it she explained to me that the shape was a square because it had four sides. That was neat to see how she was beginning to think about the properties of the shapes. I also used the geoboards to show the students the difference between rectangles and squares. That was a bit tricky because all squares are rectangles but not all rectangles are squares. So if I asked them to make me a rectangle and they made a square technically they were right. I tried to emphasize that rectangles can have two sides that are different lengths whereas a square cannot. Overall the student really seemed to like using the geoboards.

On Friday after the students returned from gym my partner and I pulled two students and had them play a game together. We assigned one student to be a walker and one to be a writer. One student would write down a number 1-10 and the walker would have to go and stand on that number along the number line that we had laid out on the floor. That allowed us to see if the walker could recognize the numbers and to see if the writer could write the numbers. A lot of the numbers written were backwards and the writer would write a number and then not know what number they just wrote. We discovered that two of our students really need help with recognizing numbers. The rest of the students really need help with writing their numbers.

My partner and I have a sheet with all of the students names on it and starting week 4 we are going to be asking the students to count as high as they can for us and then charting their progress using stickers. Our chart counts by 5 so if a student gets to 17 before making a mistake we would put stickers along the chart up to the number 15 and write a side note of 17 next to their name. We will show the students this chart and have prizes for the students if they reach certain points. The reasoning for this is to encourage the students to take rote counting seriously. Every time I work with a student the first thing I ask them to do is to count as high as they can for me. Most of the student do quiet well making a couple of mistakes here and there but then there are a few who cannot rote count past the number 10. By having the chart it will give the students motivation to work on their counting skills. By the end of the second quarter the students should be able to count up to 50. On Friday I asked one little boy to count as high as he could for me. He counted to 30 without any mistakes and then stopped. He did the exact same thing before when I was working with him so I asked him to try and keep going. He heard the little girl sitting next to him say she could count to 100. He told me that he could not count to 100 so I reassured him saying that he only had to count as high as he wanted to. I just wanted him to go to 40 so I could say he was making progress but he had his heart set on 100. He kept counting and when he got to 40 or 50 he would say 70. I would correct him and then he would continue to count without any problems. Then he got to 60 and want to say 70 again. When he got to 70 I told him he could finally say the number he kept wanting to say. He then got stuck on 80 and 90 but when he finally made it to 100 he was so excited and proud of himself. I gave him a high-five and he was all smiles. He ran and told my partner and the girl that originally said that she could count to 100 that he just counted all the way to 100. I will work on 40, 50, 60… with him, but that is exactly I want to see from all of my student. I want  to see them get excited about counting. That will motivate them to keep trying their best because they believe in themselves. For those students that can already count to 100 we are going to create a chart for them that has them working on skip counting by 10′s, 5′s, and then 2′s to give them a challenge.

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