Inside a kindergarten classroom with Augustana students

I’m Going to Write a Really Big Number!

Well, I have the lovely pleasure of being the first to kick of our Number Sense Blog! I’m excited, and today was actually an interesting day so it should make for a good read. I’m Laura Valentine, and to learn more about me you can read my bio, because I’m not going to bore you with all that stuff on here. Today was a typical Wednesday for me, which means it was by no means an average day. Today, as is true with every Wednesday I had the pleasure of working with the high ability students, which for confidentiality purposes will be called Will and Michelle.

Michelle was absent so mainly it was me and Will. Today started off the same, with Will asking me where the Digital blocks are ( aka Digi blocks), which are just base ten blocks. We started off the normal way, which is counting by tens to 200. Than we started making numbers greater than 100 with the digi blocks, we were able to make all the numbers 100-110 quite easily and were left, as always, with time to kill. I decided to try and push Will and challenge him by teaching him the Hundred place, which he grasped in about two minutes. By the end of our mini-lesson he was able to tell me that 719 was seven hundreds one ten and nine ones, so than I began to have him write his own numbers.

While he was creating his own numbers he looked at me and said “Ms. Laura I’m going to write a really big number now”, and made four spaces, so I corrected him and reminded him that we only had three place values, and he just repeated “I’m writing a big number!” and proceeded to write, and than identify 1000. Knowing his intelligence level, I asked him how many hundred were there in 1000, and he said, “well there are 10 hundreds, but I don’t know why there is a 0 in the hundreds place.” Thinking that trying to nail two places values in one day would be too complex I just explained that 10 hundreds are a thousand, to which he responded that’s why the big digi block has 1000 blocks in it total.

After this I figured we could be done for the day since I didn’t want him to be at way to high of a level and leave Michelle, behind. I am always amazed how fast the two of them (Will and Michelle) grasp the concepts, and seem to find myself struggling to challenge them after they get the concept for the day. It just goes to show you that when you challenge students they can really grow, but sometimes I just wonder if one day they are going to be smarter than me, because as Will always says  they are “just so smart!” After Will went to his seat I worked with my low ability student, Ashley. Ashley struggles with language, and math, and we are currently working on number recognition up to 30 and counting out piles of numbers one through twenty. She was very successful last Friday so I had high hopes for her. But, unfortunately today was a rough day for her, she couldn’t recognize above 15, and couldn’t count out a pile above ten.

It was very disheartening seeing as how I had her count out piles up to 20 on Friday, and she had recognized all her numbers 1-20 that day as well. It was a bummer coming from the “high” of Will to feeling like I was never going to get anywhere with Ashley, but I guess that’s real life, for every success there is a setback, but being a teacher is learning how to come back from those set backs, and still making sure those kids matter. Well I’ve rambled enough, I really enjoy what I’m doing and love the kids that are in the classroom, I rejoice in their successes and want them to keep succeeding. This project is helping us all learn how to be a good teachers, and I wouldn’t trade it for a thing, even if I did almost die because of the ice on the brick pavement outside of Longfellow.

One Response to “I’m Going to Write a Really Big Number!”

  1. We talk about having multi-age classrooms at Longfellow; 1-2, 3-4, 5-6 but think of the range of abilities we have in Kindergarten! We’re all teaching multi-levels of ability, no matter the label!

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