Inside a kindergarten classroom with Augustana students

## “I’m Smart!”

Today was an interesting day in the kindergarten room. I started off my day with a new group. We have had to change a few of the groups since some students are excelling while others are staying the same. We try to keep the students grouped by their ability so that they can move on when both of the students are ready.

My first group was Ethan and Mark. They are both two very crazy little boys. We were on the computer today too which makes them even more excited. We tried out a word problem game that they have not really experienced with any of the Augustana teachers yet. I read the word problems to the students and they have objects that they can drag on the screen to help them figure out the answer. One example of a word problem that they would do is, “Julie has 7 pencils. Her sister gave her 2 more pencils. How many pencils does Julie have now?” I would read the first sentence and then have the student drag 7 objects onto the screen to represent the 7 pencils. I would read the next sentence and then have them drag 2 more objects onto the screen to represent the 2 pencils she was given by her sister. Finally, the students would add up all of the objects that are on the screen to figure out the correct answer. Ethan did great with this, but Mark was struggling at times. He is very capable of doing this, but he was too worried about making the objects he would drag onto the screen into some sort of design. This would cause him to forget what number he was on and then he would just try and guess the answer without starting over. Once Mark finally decided to stop trying to make pictures out of the objects, he realized that he was able to figure out the word problems.

Next I worked with Haley and Katie. They also did the word problem game. Katie was first, so I showed her how to use the objects and drag them onto the screen to help her. I read her the problem just like I did for Ethan and Mark, sentence by sentence. Katie used the objects to help her, and she arrived at the correct answer to the word problem. Next it was Haley’s turn. She did not want to use the objects on the screen to help her. She wanted to use her fingers instead. So I read her the whole problem slowly and she counted her fingers and arrived at the correct answer as well. Of course, now Katie did not want to use the computer to help her either, so she used her fingers too. Katie needed a little guidance to help her use her fingers to help her count, but once she learned how, she was able to come up with the correct answers as well.

Finally it was time to work with Brian. We started with the word problem game. He was not grasping the concept of dragging the objects to help him. He was trying to make pictures with the objects, and that was becoming an unneeded distraction. We moved onto a different game, Number Line Addition. This was essentially the same idea as the word problems, but with number sentences rather than the word problems. Simpler tends to be more effective with Brian. He was given problems like 2 + 3 = ?, and he needed to tell me what 2 + 3 was. He learned how to use his fingers to add and he was so excited! He held up 2 fingers on one hand and 3 fingers on the other. Then he counted how many fingers he had up and got the right answer every time. He loves when he gets the right answer and makes sure to tell me, along with himself, that he is smart. He has made a lot of progress since I first began working with him. He could barely count to 10 in the fall, but now he can count to 39! He has shown a lot of growth, and I hope that he, as well as the other students, continues to move forward.

### One Response to ““I’m Smart!””

1. isn’t it rewarding to see the children take pride in their accomplishments? they know when they’ve learned something, you can tell by that big smile~

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