Inside a kindergarten classroom with Augustana students

On The Road Again!

After returning back to Augie from the long holiday break, Julie and I were ready to jump back into action and continue working with our students at Longfellow. Before leaving for break, we had expressed interest in changing the focus of our observations and work for the remaining of the year; we agreed that we were both notably interested in researching the development of our students’ understanding of number sense through the use of technology versus the use of various hands on manipulatives. We were left to brainstorm and ponder this interesting question over break and consider the route we would be taking for the remainder of the year.

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Back in Action!

After a long winter break Lisa and I were eager to walk into Longfellow and begin working with our students once again. Before we departed for break Lisa and I expressed our interest in comparing how students learn when using ipad apps vs how they learn when using other manipulatives. We hope this idea will serve as the basis of our research project.

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Putting Our Knowledge to the Test

This week Lisa and I administered the ESGI assessment. The students were tested on their ability to recognize numbers 1-30, orally count to 100, compare numbers, recognize shapes, count objects, and write symbolic numbers. After each student had been tested I analyzed their scores as well as which specific numbers had been missed and which had been correctly identified. I then compared this data to my lesson notes and observations I have made thus far. The data from the assessment and my observations seemed to correlate and for the most part every student did as well as we had expected they would.

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Testing… Testing… 1, 2, 3…

On both days this week, Mrs. Carmack and Mrs. Arnold asked Julie and I to take the Kindergarten students out into the hallway to administer the ESGI Assessment. We assessed each student to collect evidence of their current level of understanding for the following areas: number recognition, comparing numbers, shape recognition, oral sequence, one-to-one counting, and writing numbers. While we have gained a general sense of what skills our students have developed thus far, this assessment provided us with useful evidence of what our students know, and what skills we still need to review and/or introduce.

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Let’s Get Messy!

This week at Longfellow was quite eventful (and messy!) After the long holiday weekend, we picked up right where we left of with our Kindergarten students. At this point in the number sense project, we have been creating activities based on the abilities of two groups – students who have mastered number recognition, and those who have not. Therefore, Julie and I wanted to create an activity that would maximize the learning experience for the students who are still struggling to identify numbers one through twenty. We decided that the most important factor at this point was repetition for these students. Thus, Julie and I took the time to make a set of individualized flashcards (containing numbers one through twenty-four) for each student. We then spent roughly 20 minutes with each group reviewing flashcards. We also marked which numbers the students got right and which they did not in order to monitor students’ progress.

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Gettin’ Our Hands Dirty

After reviewing our notes and reflecting on our past lessons, Lisa and I discussed how we should proceed. We decided that we would continue focusing on number recognition for numbers 1-20 with the students that meet with us twice a week and that we would move on to missing numbers or counting on with the students we meet with once a week.

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Turkey Fingers

Because of the Thanksgiving holiday break, Julie and I only worked with the Kindergarten students on Tuesday of this week. Mrs. Arnold and Mrs. Carmack provided us with instructions and materials to lead a turkey finger counting activity with the students. Because we would not be seeing the students again on Thursday, we adjusted the times that we would be working with each group in order to ensure that all students from both classes would be able to create the turkey counter manipulative and spend an adequate amount of time utilizing it to practice their number sense skills.

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Gobble Gobble!

Because of Thanksgiving break, we only met with our students one day this week. Therefore, we adjusted our plans in a way that would allow every student to be seen and complete the activity given to us by Ms. Arnold and Ms. Carmack. Though the students did not receive an ample amount of time, they were still able to create the Thanksgiving craft and use it as a counting tool or a resource to help solve several math problems.

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And We’re Off

Lisa and I began our Number Sense experience this week. Though we were a little nervous to embark on this long journey, our nerves were quickly settled after meeting our students. Prior to our instructional delivery we met with both Ms. Carmack and Ms. Arnold to discuss their expectations and goals. We were told that we would see some students two times a week, while others would only see on either Tuesdays or Thursdays. Ms. Carmack and Ms. Arnold were able to collect evidence based off the ESGI assessment that some students had only a foundational understanding of early number sense. Thus, these students would be meeting with us both days because the teachers felt they needed additional attention. We were also given a packet of activities and lesson plans that the teachers received at professional conference. Lisa and I reviewed the packet and agreed it would serve as a good resource in planning future lessons.

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The Start of Our Journey

This week Julie and I took on our first day of Number Sense. On Tuesday, we arrived early in the morning to meet with Mrs. Arnold and Mrs. Carmack to discuss the process and expectations for the next few months. After conversing with the Kindergarten teachers at Longfellow, we were excited about the opportunities that would be presenting themselves while interacting with the students. Mrs. Arnold and Mrs. Carmack had recently attended a professional conference workshop, where they received a packet containing a copious amount of activities, ranging from number recognition activities to counting and base-ten activities, which can be used later in the term as students begin to develop a stronger number sense. Because we had agreed with our cooperating teachers that Julie and I would be taking the reign when it comes to planning lessons each week, we plan on using this packet as a reference when planning number sense activities for the students. We will be using the same ability grouping that we used during EDUC360 with Dr. Egan this past fall. On Tuesday, we wanted to begin with an activity that would allow for an initial assessment of all of our students. Thus, we began with a number recognition bingo activity. We were confident that the students would enjoy this fun game for their first day, but it also provided us with a lot of feedback regarding the students’ current understanding of number sense. The students in groups A-F struggled to recognize numbers beyond ten, where as the higher ability students provided us with evidence that they have mastered number recognition for numbers 1 through 20. However, many students who struggled with number recognition began to pick up on the pattern of teens. For example, students began to grasp the concept that a one and six is 16. However, this pattern became problematic for numbers such as 12, as some students would guess “two teen”. After we completed the bingo activity with each group, we had the students complete a Join – Result Unknown word problem. Julie and I decided that we would be doing one word problem a day with the students. Each week, we will add the new word problem pages to the students’ preceding pages, creating a book for each student. On Thursday, we did a number recognition activity with the students who have not yet provided evidence of mastering number recognition. These students rolled a large die, stated the number, and then colored in the corresponding symbolic number on a sheet. Again, we continued to see similar observations that we had seen on Tuesday. Many of the students were unable to recognize most numbers beyond ten, particularly numbers ten, eleven, twelve, and thirteen. The students who had demonstrated mastery of number recognition completed a base ten-frame worksheet. The students filled out ten frames, demonstrating their understanding that a given number eleven through nineteen is one group of ten plus “x” ones. The majority of the students showed a strong understanding of the value of a number through the ten-frame activity. I was astonished by the performance of one particular student, student I.E. After filling in nineteen dots on the ten-frame, I asked this student “If I were to add 1 more dot, how many would we have?” She answered 20. She was then able to tell me that twenty would be 2 groups of ten. While not all of our students have developed the profound number sense knowledge that student I.E. has, this experience sparked my excitement for the remainder of the number sense experience. Julie and I both look forward to helping these students practice their mathematical skills and develop a stronger number sense over the next two terms.