Inside a kindergarten classroom with Augustana students

## April Showers Bring May Flowers

Our work with the kindergarteners has resumed and I’m extremely excited to start diving into our research topics! Jess and I have chosen to focus on counting-on, and more specifically we would like to identify what subskills are needed in order to count-on and what strategies teachers can utilize to reinforce the addition strategy. The first step to begin our investigation was to identify which of the students in our groups were able to count-on. Once we establish this, we can begin to teach the students who were unable to count-on using the strategies that we found during our research, and we can ask the students who know how to count-on how they learned it.

In order to determine which of the students in my group were able to count-on, I worked with them one at a time to solve addition problems. First, I started by writing an addition sentence on a white board and asking the students to read me what they saw. If the student was correctly able to read the addition sentence then I asked them how they would solve the problem. Most of the students didn’t say anything so I suggested that they use the counters that I had provided, their fingers, or the number line that was drawn on the white board. Given those strategies, five out of the nine of my kindergarteners solved the addition sentence by using their fingers, one used the counters, one utilized counting-on, and two said they didn’t know how to solve the problem.

If students were able to use their fingers or the counters to solve the problem then I used the Number Line app with them. After watching how the app solves the problem, the students began to count-on by beginning to add with the first addend and then moving up the same number of spaces as the second addend. For example, if the problem were 3+5, the students would put a line under the number three on the number line and then using their fingers they would count up five spaces to find the answer. By the end of our time together, all seven of the students who used the app were able to utilize counting-on, but only one was able to count-on without the presence of a number line.

One student in particular was able to count-on without my prompting and without the use of the Number Line app. When I wrote the problem 5+4 on the white board, she immediately answered nine. When I asked her how she knew that so quickly she gave me this explanation: “Well I know that 5+5=10 and if I put one knuckle down then that makes nine.” I was very impressed with her reasoning skills and decided to give her a harder problem. Next I asked her, what is 10+4. She took a few seconds and said, “It’s fourteen cause I started with ten, then its eleven, twelve, thirteen, and fourteen.” As she was saying the number sequence following ten, she put a finger up for each number said after ten. Given her explanation I asked her, “Why did you start with ten and not four? She answered by saying, “Miss Jackie, you’re always supposed to start with the bigger number.” When I asked her why she said, “Cause that’s what my brother told me to do.

In the upcoming weeks, I will be interested to see if what the students did on the number line translates to counting on without one.

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