Inside a kindergarten classroom with Augustana students

## 16 is a Magic Number!

Hello! My name is Julie Jordan and I am also a part of the number sense blogger team. You can read more about me in my bio, but that is not too interesting. What is interesting, however, is the boy I work with every single day! For confidentiality purposes we shall call him Benny. Benny and I have become very good friends. The teacher told me that he did not attend preschool before coming to kindergarten. This really showed when his counting was all over the place. At the beginning he was forgetting the numbers 15 and 17. Once we finally got that little problem straightened out he began forgetting the magical number 16. For the past 4 weeks he has been counting 14, 15, 17, 18…I just did not understand what was going on. I asked around for some ideas on how to help him remember 16.

My mother, a first grade teacher, told me to buy him a little toy matchbox car and have that represent the number 16 because you must be 16 to drive it. Then I told him that he had to be 16 years old to drive a car like that or any car at all. Everytime he counted I would run the car on the table or on his hand to let him know that he was forgetting 16. Once he began understanding the purpose of the car he began counting like this, 15, 17, oh 16, 17…However, today I had the car on the table not on even in plain view. He was counting blocks and I told him he I needed a tower of 17. He began happily creating his tower and counted his blocks 15, 16, 17…Without me prompting him! It was so exciting! Also, many of our students have been struggling with number recognition. Today Benny recognized all of his numbers. I think he is finally up to speed when it comes to what the average kindergarten student should know. Next time we are going to move on to harder math concepts. He undestands what is the least and the most. Now we will go to writing numbers! Whew! What a great day for Benny and I even gave him a sticker to prove it.

My other students today were not as exciting as Benny. One little girl has been really struggling, she could not count to ten when I began with her. Now she can count to 13 perfectly and recognize numbers through 12. With Laura (false name for confidentiality) it is a gradual process. I add one number every day. Right now we are focusing on 14 and 15. She keeps skipping from 13 to 16 and that will not work. So I have her read to me during each lesson from a number book. This helps connect literacy and math. Each day we add one page of the book. When I added 14 she seemed to understand so I added 15. However, 14 did not stick as well as I would have liked and that is why we are working on two numbers at once. However, when she reaches 16 I know a little trick to help her remember it if necessary! I hope this gives readers an inside peak into what is really going on with the Augustana-Longfellow partnership. I must say that this work has been one of the best experiences I have ever had. Not only will it help me with my future career, but I look forward to seeing these children each morning. It really reminds me what becoming a highly influential educator is all about. I believe that this partnership will become one of the best things Augustana College has decided to do.

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