Inside a kindergarten classroom with Augustana students

Focusing On Our “Focus” Students

This week Lisa and I adjusted our usual schedule in a way that would allow us more time with our focus students as well as the students we try to see once every other week. Thus, we did not meet with the other groups we typically see two times a week.

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Things are Beginning to Click!

While our students enjoyed their two weeks of spring break, Lisa and I turned our complete focus to our research paper. The break from planning and delivering lessons allowed us the opportunity to revise, edit, and continue writing. We have made great progress and feel confident about the work we have completed thus far. However, there is still data we must collect from our students in the remaining lessons to better support claims in our paper. This week we continued to structure our lessons in a way that would allow each group of students to practice a particular mathematical concept or skill using both hands-on manipulatives and technology.

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Back in Action

After another long break, Julie and I finally returned to Longfellow to continue working with our Kindergarten students! To our surprise, we found that two students had left Longfellow over break, but two brand new students now joined Mrs. Carmack’s class! Other than that, Julie and I picked up right where we left off with our students and with our Number Sense research.

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Halfway There!

This week marked the halfway point of our journey through the Number Sense Program! As we reflect back on the work we have done thus far, Julie and I have gathered a great deal of useful evidence of student learning. Over the past few weeks of winter term, we have structured our lessons in a way that allows each group of students to practice a particular mathematical skill using both hands-on manipulatives and technology.

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The End of the Beginning

As we begin to wrap up our first term in the Number Sense Program Lisa and I continued with our research and are making great progress towards our final project. We have found a lot of interesting information that we have been able to relate to findings from our previous lessons as well as information we believe will be helpful in future planning. This week we again structured our lessons in a way that would allow students to focus on the same skill using different sets of materials.

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Focus Students

As we near the end of winter term, Julie and I have developed a nice routine that allows us gather and organize information and observations that directly correlate with our research project. Again this week, we had the students within a group focusing on a specific skill, using technology one day, and hands-on manipulatives the other day. Julie and I decided that for our research project we would not be identifying advantages and disadvantages of these two different learning styles, but rather collecting research and evidence to prove that both styles are most beneficial only when implemented correctly. Thus, we selected three of our students – all currently working on developing different skills – to serve as focus students for the remainder of the year. Our first focus student is continually working to master number recognition and oral counting, while our second focus student is working towards developing an understanding of numbers in terms of the values they represent. Lastly, our third focus student is working to apply his understanding of numbers through various problem solving strategies and fact families.

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Focusing In

Following last week’s lessons, Lisa and I again hit the library to continue our research. With a much better idea of what we wanted to focus in on we were a lot more successful in our findings. Through our research and discussions we have decided to focus in one three students to use as evidence in our final paper. We choose to focus on three students that we see two times a week as well as three students that are at different levels of understanding. Our first student is still focusing on number recognition and oral counting, while our second student is working towards developing an understanding for numbers and what they represent. For this student and the four groups of students at this level we will be focusing on ten frames, comparing numbers, balancing, place value, and number patterns. Our last focus student, a student in the highest preforming group, will be challenged to apply his understanding of numbers. This student and his group members will work on problems solving strategies as well as fact families. Though we are zooning in on particular concepts and skills for each of the three levels, we will still work to correlate our lesson plans with what is being done in the classroom. The students are also not limited to the concepts and skills mentioned for their level. They will all be challenged appropriately and exposed to everything that is being covered. We planned our future lessons around this tentative structure hoping it would allow us to collect valid and reliable evidence of learning that can be applied to our research project.

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The Lessons that Taught Us

This week, though not as successful as weeks prior, provided us with great evidence for future planning and our research paper. This week we again, focused on one skill for each group and planned two separate lessons—one with ipad apps and one with more hands on materials.

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Taking a Step Backwards

This week amounted to an equal feeling of frustration and optimism. For some of our students, we need to continue repeatedly practicing and working to develop their number sense, as it has not yet clicked. For a significant number of our students, however, it has been remarkable to help them work on their number sense and finally see progress as many have demonstrated an “AH-HA” moment over the past few weeks.

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Things are Beginning to Click!

This week marked moments of great progress! I was overjoyed to work with the students this week and was incredibly proud to see how far they have come. It was truly rewarding to see such progress and excitement in our students. On Tuesday Lisa and I administer the Acuity assessment to Ms. Carmack’s class. We noted the results and data collected during the assessment of all students, which we will reference during future planning.

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