Inside a kindergarten classroom with Augustana students

Back at It

This week was our first week back in the classroom after winter break. As spring break approaches, we are just starting to formulate some questions that we’re interested in researching. During my time with the kindergartners, I’ve been really interested in observing the students when they add two quantities together, and how they often have to count up both quantities to find their total, and occasionally will go back and re-count both quantities of objects if they forget their total. On the other hand, right before break I did an activity where the students were given a number on a sticky note and they had to place it on a piece of paper with a number that was two more than or two less than their sticky note number. In this situation, when the students were given a number such as 13 and asked to find the number that was two more than 13, they either went to the number line and counted up two numbers, or they simply counted up from 13 instead of starting at 1 and counting 13 and two more.
In both classrooms this week I decided to incorporate counting up into the activities we did. I also have a handful of students who still need work with numeral identification for numbers 10-30, so I wanted to find a way to incorporate that into their activities as well. One of the objectives on the students’ report cards is “decomposes numbers less than or equal to 10,” so the first activity we did was play the 10 Frame Fill iPad app. Although my main objective with playing this game was for the students to work on decomposing numbers, I also wanted to start introducing the strategy of counting on. In this app, a number of blue counters appears in a 10-frame and the students then have to identify how many more they need to make 10. Before the students went to identify how many more counters were needed, I had them verbally state how many blue counters were in the 10-frame. Before we had started the game, we had talked as a group about how many spaces were in the top row of the 10-frame. We discussed the fact that if our whole top row was filled with counters, we would automatically know that there were 5 blue counters there. At first, most of the students had to count each blue counter one-by-one if there were more than 5 counters in the frame. After they had finished counting on their own, I asked if they would like to see a quicker way to count the blue counters. I then pointed to the first row, and asked how many counters we had decided were in this row. When they said five, I then showed them how I could start by saying 5 and point to the first row, and then count up from 5 one-by-one for the counters in the bottom row. During this activity, there were a few students who could automatically identify the number of blue counters right off the bat before discussing counting on with me, and one student, “L,” stated that she knew how many blue counters there were because there were 5 in the top row and 3 in the bottom. Most of the other students, however, continued to count by ones unless prompted to do differently.
For my last activity, we played bingo to work on both counting on and numeral recognition from 10-30. For a small group of students we simply played bingo without focusing on counting on because they needed the most work just in identifying numbers. For the rest of the students, however, we played addition bingo. First, we all counted together as I placed 10 counters in a plastic bag. I chose to use the anchor number 10 so that the students could subconsciously start thinking about teen numbers as 10 and some ones. I then placed the plastic bag in the middle of the table and placed a certain number of counters next to the bag. I would then say that we needed to figure out “10+x” and mark that space on our bingo boards. The first time, I modeled the way I would count up from 10 to solve the addition problem. There were 4 students out of both classes that were doing the “10+x” addition problems on their own without having to count, but for the other students I saw them using the strategy of counting on from 10. A few students needed additional prompting after we did the first problem together, but many automatically counted on from 10 without any additional prompting. In one case, after 15 had been the total to one problem, I placed two more counters out on the table and had them add 10+7, and one student, “A,” said that she knew the answer was 17 because “15, 16, 17.” I hope to work more with counting on in future weeks. I would like to put the students in different situations to see if they continue to use the strategy of counting on and if they know which number they should count on from. For example, this week the fact that 10 counters were in a bag prevented them from counting out those 10. Next week, I hope to do an activity where students could count out the entire quantity if they wanted so that I can see if they still choose to count on. This week, the students were also told to count on from 10, but I plan to work more with them so that they can identify on which number they should count on from in different addition problems involving a variety of numbers.
But, for now, that is all!

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