Inside a kindergarten classroom with Augustana students

Interesting Observations

This week was a shortened week due to the freezing winter and school being cancelled on Thursday. On Tuesday, however, we did get to go in and work with the kindergartners. This week the two objectives I wanted to work on were demonstrating addition as putting together and comparing #’s. For some of the students in my group who have had a lot of work with addition and were becoming fluent with their facts 1-5, I chose to work on story problems involving addition and subtraction with them instead of the activity that dealt with comparing numbers.
The first small group I worked with on Tuesday consisted of just two students. In order to work on addition, we used dice and the students had to roll and add. They had to figure the total, but also were asked to write the addition statement down on their whiteboards. The students in the first group had difficulty identifying which two numbers to write down as an addition statement in the beginning, but were able to identify the two quantities after a few turns. I had planned to use the roll and add activity to model counting on, but for some of the students, such as those in the first group, I decided not to introduce this next concept until they had more work with addition as putting two quantities together and were consistently able to identify the two quantities they were adding. One of the students, however, expressed timidly that her dad had told her that she didn’t have to add both numbers together and she could just count one, which I took as her having been exposed to the idea of counting on. I asked her to show me what her dad had taught her, but she was not able to show what her dad had said or she was not comfortable enough to show us. These observations support some of the research we have started reading that discuss the stages kids move through as they develop their concept of addition, especially in regards to counting on. The next activity we did was another game of bingo, further continuing to expose the students to the numbers 11-30. This time I placed two number cards in the middle of the table and the students were told to place a counter on their bingo card on the number that was either more or less than the other number.
For the group that was closer to being fluent in basic addition, counting on during the roll and add game caught on immediately. None of the students appeared to use it as a strategy for problems they did not know at first, but after modeling they all chose that strategy on their second try. During the word problem app, I observed one student using the strategy of counting back in order to solve subtraction. He would automatically go to the biggest number on the number line at the bottom of the screen and knew to count back the number of spaces he was subtracting in order to find the answer.
I was very excited to witness the different stages in understanding counting on, and hope to carefully observe how and when these students “move out” of one stage and into the next.

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