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.

On Tuesday, we decided to change things up a bit. This was the first day that which we would be placing the students in the newly arranged groups (before break we re-arranged the groups based on their ESGI Assessments). Some students were simply moved around within the groups, while some students were placed into a group that we would be seeing both days a week, rather than only one, as we felt some students were not receiving the adequate amount of attention we deemed necessary. Tuesday served as somewhat of a trial run for both us and the students, as we made quite a few observations that will be beneficial for future lessons and research.

Julie and I organized Tuesday’s lesson in a way that would help us explore both the advantages and disadvantages of teaching Mathematics using technology versus hands-on manipulatives. When teaching the lesson, we alternated every other group, switching off between using an app on the iPad and printed flashcards. So, with the first group, we had the students identify the numbers on their flashcards (which were used previously before break) and then furthermore arrange them in a number “train”. The use of the flashcards allowed us to work on number recognition with those students who were still working to identify lower numbers, as well as number ordering. For the next group, we had them do essentially the same task, but rather by using the “Line It Up” iPad app. We then had the students who have already demonstrated mastery of number recognition (the remaining groups) work on comparing numbers. We gave the groups a worksheet where they were asked to circle the larger or bigger number. Additionally, they were given a sheet with ten-frames and counting chips in case they needed to use manipulatives to help with physically seeing the difference between two numbers.

This week, we also continued with our daily word problem booklets. Julie and I constructed an “Adding Tube” that would allow students to do a join-result unknown addition problem in a hands-on and interactive way. The students were asked to drop a designated number of marbles, based on the first addend, through one tube. Through the other tube, the students were asked to drop the next set of marbles, based on the second addend. The students then counted the total number of marbles that were dropped through the separate tubes. Half of the groups did an addition problem in this manner, while the other half of the groups used the Word Problem iPad app to compete an x+y=? word problem. We hope that each week we can use solving these word problems with both manipulatives and technology as a way to observe how our students’ are developing in terms of their number sense.

Julie and I are both excited and eager to focus our research in even more over the next few weeks. We’re hoping to integrate both technology and hands-on learning into the remainder of our upcoming lessons. On Thursday of this week, and again on Tuesday, we will be administering the McGraw Acuity test to each of our students. However, after we analyze those results, we hope to finalize our groups (we also have two new students!) and then continue on with our research.


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