Monday morning I walked into the classroom and to my surprise there was a giant igloo set up in the corner. The kindergartners have been reading books about arctic animals, so the igloo was set up for them to go inside and read to the stuffed animals. They were so excited when they came in the classroom and saw the igloo! Naturally they were very curious, but they were instructed to take off their coats and boots and sit on the carpet just like every other morning. After the routine morning activities, a few of the students who were well behaved were chosen to go in the igloo and read.
The first student that I worked with is a student that I work with everyday, Brian, who I mentioned in my first blog. Today we worked on counting to 100 by 10’s because he was so close, and I knew he could do it. I showed him 10 towers of 10 blocks and of course his first thoughts were to start making an even bigger tower. Unfortunately for him, that was not what the blocks were for. I told him that we were going to learn how to count to 100 by 10’s using the blocks. He put the blocks down in a row, and started to count by tens. The first time through, he skipped 20 and went from 10 to 30. I reminded him that 20 comes before 30, and that was all it took. The next time through he was able to count by 10’s all the way to 100 without my help! I was very proud of him and he was proud of himself too. He showed me that he could do it a few more times just to be sure that he really knew it, and he was successful each time. He chose a sticker and put it up by his name on the chart just like everyone else who was able to count to 100 by 10’s. It was a good day for Brian, and I am hoping that since he knows how to count by 10’s, he will be able to make a connection to the pattern when counting by 1’s, but that is for another day.
Next I worked with two very energetic boys, Ethan and Zack. They are both very hyper, but they usually work well together. I made sure that they both remembered how to count by 10’s, and they did. Neither of them are able to count to 100 by 1’s yet, so I tried to help them realize that if they know how to count by 10’s they should know how to count by 1’s. They both wrote “10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, 100” on a white board. Then we started counting by ones and each time they came to a number ending in 9, they knew to go to the next number on the white board. For example, if they were at 39, they knew that 40 was next because it comes after 30. Ethan caught on quickly, but Zack was a little confused at first and he caught on halfway through. They were both so surprised that they were able to count to 100 and they wanted to go tell the teacher right away! I am not sure that they will remember to connect the pattern of counting by 10’s when they are trying to count by 1’s next time, but next time we work together we will definitely revisit this. After this activity, we played dominoes to make sure that they were able to recognize the patterns without having to count the dots on the dominoes. Ethan and Zack were thrilled and both of them were able to recognize the patterns right away without having to count. They also had a chance to work on recognizing their colors because the dominoes were color coded by number.
There was still time to work with another pair of students, so I worked with Alexis and Haley. Haley was absent the days that we were working on counting to 100 by 10’s and 1’s. Alexis was able to count by 10’s, but not by 1’s, so she wanted to help Haley learn how to count by 10’s. This was good practice for both of them, so I brought out the towers of 10 that I used with Brian earlier. Alexis demonstrated for Haley how to count by 10’s, but when it was Haley’s turn, she was hesitant to try. Haley said that she would try if I counted with her, so I counted with her a few times. Then she was ready to try it by herself. She started off with 10, but she always wanted to go to 40 next. However, after 40 she was able to count all the way to 100 by 10’s. It was just a matter of remembering that 20 and 30 come after 10. Alexis tried practicing with Haley a few more times, but Haley was still not grasping 20 and 30. I started chanting “10, 20, 30… 10, 20, 30…” and we all did it together a few times. After we chanted a few more times, Haley was able to successfully count to 100 by 1o’s! She did it a few more times so that she could get the hang of it and remember it. She was excited to pick out a sticker and put it next to her name on the chart! Both Alexis and Haley continued to chant “10, 20, 30… 10, 20, 30…” after they went back to their seats, and even during their bathroom break! I guess that goes to show that sometimes it is the simplest things that can help them learn. When I was just telling Haley that she needed to remember 20 and 30, it was not sticking. However, after we chanted and pounded our fists on the table, it was suddenly clear for her and she understood.
Week after week I am challenged by these kindergartners. Sometimes it is difficult to come up with activities that will help them learn, but also keep their attention. Although it may be a difficult task, it is all worth it when I see the progress that they make.
Posted on February 3rd, 2010 by Sara Ashby
Filed under: Sara Ashby