Inside a kindergarten classroom with Augustana students

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.

On Thursday students did the opposite activity as they had done the week prior. (The students who worked with ipad apps worked with the flash cards and the addition tube model and vise versa.) Last week, I worked with students from two particular groups that both used the ipad app Line It Up. They still confused numbers such as 8 and 9 and struggled to recognize teen numbers. Thursday, however, things began to click! I am not sure how or why it happened now, but it was remarkable to see. I had these students first state the number shown on the flashcard. I would then compare the number to another one on the table. Students would tell me if the new flashcard was bigger or smaller then the card pointed to on the table and then place it in line with the other flashcards. Together we made a “train” for numbers 1-10. Then I had students recognize the teen numbers and place them in a train below the first one they had created. After several were placed on the second train I asked the students if they noticed anything. I helped them see that fourteen for example was under the four. I would cover the one in fourteen and say “four and four they are the same.” I would uncover the one and say, “this number has a one in front so it cant be a four anymore.” Soon the students realized that the second row or train was much like the first row they had created but that they were teen numbers. Students were then able to place sixteen, eighteen, and other teen numbers under their corresponding single digit number and recognize it correctly. I think making these trains this way allowed them to visually see the relationship between the numbers.

After meeting with these two groups, I was confident that it was the hands on activity and materials that helped the students pick up this pattern and recognize all numbers one through twenty. I felt that maybe the flashcards and other manipulatives really did help students learn better than the ipad apps. But then I met with my next group. These students have already developed a slightly better understanding than the groups prior, but still confuse many teen numbers and have not yet picked up on the patterns for numbers nineteen and beyond. This week these students used the ipad app to recognize, compare, and order the numbers. I first warmed them up to the activity and got them familiar with the app by starting with numbers 1-10. This was clearly too easy for them. We then moved on to the teen numbers. Though they struggled at first, it was not long before they were recognizing and ordering numbers on their own. I wanted to be sure they understood all the teen numbers before moving on so I had them order the numbers several times. By their third time, they told me “this is so easy Miss. D!” So I challenged them with larger numbers. By the end of their session they were successfully recognizing and ordering numbers 20-35. I was amazed at their level of growth, but also their level of focus and motivation. These students are usually distracted during lessons and have trouble staying on task. However, on Thursday they were cooperative and engaged throughout the entire lesson.

We have one middle group that is beyond number recognition but is not quite ready for activities that are at the difficulty level of the students who meet with us once a week. Though they work on the same skill, they do so in a slightly modified way. On Thursday we continued working on comparing two numbers. However, this time we did not use a worksheet for this group, but rather an ipad app called Balance Math. I worked with one student who had used this app for the first time. After a few examples he was able to use the app on his own. He understood that he had to make the two sides equal in order for the scale to be balanced. At first I think he was randomly guessing different combinations until it was balanced. But as I questioned his moves he began understanding how and why he was balancing the scale correctly. Eventually he even said “this is easy peezy!” He enjoyed using the ipad and the opportunity to experiment and explore on his own.

Our final two groups, that meet with once a week, completed the same comparison worksheet that the other two groups had done in the week prior. Last week the students were asked to color in the circle that had the larger number. However, after administering the acuity assessment we discovered that these students should have learned or will learn this year the greater than, less than, and equal to sign. Thus, these students were first asked to color in the circle and then add in the appropriate sign. We explained two strategies to help the students, the alligator and dot method, (two dots are placed next to the larger number, while one is placed by the smaller number, the dots are then connected to make the sign.) There were also pictures of the signs placed on the bulletin board to help them. All students were able to make the correct sign, despite the little instruction they had been given!

This week Lisa and I also began researching for our project. We are excited for the lessons that are to come as we begin to dig deeper into our topic.

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