After what felt like forever, we finally got back in the kindergarten classroom! Over the students’ Spring Break we have been working on writing literature reviews over the research we’ve done to try to answer the questions we are investigating while working with the kids. Jackie and I have chosen to research the same topic, which is the development of counting-on as a strategy for addition. Our research is focusing on the general background numeracy skills that are necessary before counting-on can be addressed, the specific subskills that are directly related to counting-on, and different methods for teaching students to count on.

This week, I focused on identifying students who were already demonstrating the strategy of counting on when given an addition problem. This week we only pulled students out of the room in one class, because the other class had a substitute teacher. So, after one session this week, I have identified three groups of students based on the skills they were demonstrating. One group is comprised of the students who utilized counting on. Only one student demonstrated counting on in the first addition problem he was presented. This student had been using the Number Line app, and was first presented the problem 8+7. After solving the problem I asked him to show me what he did first, and he told me he started at 8, then 9 is 1, 10 is 2, etc. I then asked him to show me the next addition problem using his fingers instead of the number line. To demonstrate a problem where the first addend was 10, the student held 10 fingers up at once, stated that he had 10, then held up the second addend and counted on from 10 one finger at a time. This leads me to conclude that he understands that he has “10,” but does not need to count out 10 in order to determine this. In coming weeks, I plan to see if students who fall into this group demonstrate all the subskills that our research has stated are directly related to counting on.

The second group of students I identified were those who sporadically utilized the strategy of counting on and needed modeling of the strategy before doing so. The Number Line app has an option which underlines the first addend for the students and then shows an arrow counting-on the amount of the second addend. After this modeling, a handful of students began to count on. One item of confusion that arose was when one student had the problem 6+7 and started at 6 but then only counted up to 7 instead of counting 7 more. One other student demonstrated counting on in some situations, and knew that 2+6 was 8 because “6 and 2 more was 8.” With this group in the coming weeks, I plan on working together on the different subskills related to counting on and seeing if the students then utilize counting on without seeing it modeled first.

The final group of students that I identified were those who I felt needed continued work on numeracy skills before counting-on could be addressed. If students could not identify and set up an addition problem without prompting on which two numbers to add together and how to count both parts in order to find the whole, I did not model counting-on. Counting-all is a strategy that should be in place before counting-on can be introduced or conceptualized.

Posted on April 5th, 2014 by Jessica Bacon

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