Inside a kindergarten classroom with Augustana students

Tag – Team

Jess and I have begun to utilize the activities that we found in a study conducted by Secada, Fusion, and Hall. Since we have already identified which of our students chose counting-on in order to solve addition problems, we have moved on to see if they possess the subskills that Secada, Fusion, and Hall identified in their research. The first subskill is knowing that the first addend does not need to be counted again because the problem already states its quantity. For example, if the problem was 5+6 we would see if the student would start counting at one, or if they would start at five and count up (6,7,8,9,10,11). In order to determine which of our students possess this subskill, we presented the students with several addition problems. First, we would create addition problems using numbers that had been written on note cards. Initially we didn’t give the students any manipulatives that would aid them in solving the problem and we also chose addends that had a sum larger than ten so that they couldn’t add the numbers just by placing an addend on each hand. After the students completed a couple of these problems, we started placing two-colored counters under the note cards. When the students were solving these problems we asked them to tell us how many manipulatives there were without counting. A majority of the students looks at the note card that was placed above the card and started to correspond the manipulatives with the note card above it. The goal of this was to introduce students to the fact that they don’t need to start at the beginning of the counting sequence; they can just start by counting-up from the first addend. Almost all of the students from Jess’ group were able to count-up after we accompanied the note cards with the manipulatives, but several of mine still struggled and reverted back to a counting-all strategy. Since they have not mastered this subskill, we will continue to work with those students until they can consistently demonstrate it. Something that we found interesting, was that some of the students chose to count-up from the second addend. When asked why they replied, “Cause that numbers bigger, it takes less time.” Upon hearing this, the two people in the group started to count-on as well, but from the larger of the two addends.

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