Inside a kindergarten classroom with Augustana students

100-Day Prep & Number Recognition

Hello Number Sense blog readers!!! My name is Jessi Clark, and I am the third math teacher in Mrs. Carmack’s kindergarten classroom. As of now, I will be blogging every Monday and am extremely excited to write about my students’ progress, as well as share the different struggles I encounter throughout this experience. To learn more about me, as well as my future plans, you can click on and read the bio section of my page.

A Typical Monday

Mondays are a little different than Wednesdays and Fridays because we are able to meet with our Kindergarten teachers to discuss and prepare the different activities we will be doing throughout the week. This is also the time where we are able to discuss any ideas we have to help meet specific students’ learning needs, questions we may have, and the progress the students have made. After a half hour of discussion and preparation, the students arrive and each math teacher is able to begin working with the students we are assigned to for the day.

Monday January 25, 2010

Discussion/Prep Time:

Even though today began like a typical Monday, where we came in and began to discuss and prepare for the different activities for the week, this week’s activities were focused on a central theme… the 100th day of school! As adults, 100 days may not seem like a big deal, but in Kindergarten, students begin counting down to their 100th day from the first day of school. In fact, to kindergarteners, the 100th day of school is like its own Holiday! Therefore, in order to prepare for the 100th day of school, which is on Wednesday by the way, we were instructed to prepare two different activities, each focusing on a different way to count to 100.

The first activity we helped set up for the students was the 100 Piece Necklace. In this activity, the students will be directed to count out 100 pieces of cereal and to put them onto the string. To help prepare for this activity, the math teachers tied a bead at the end of each string so the pieces of cereal won’t fall off when the students string them on. It is through this activity, that the students will practice counting to 100 by ones. In the second activity, however, the students will be practicing how to count to 100 by tens.

The second math activity the students will be completing on Wednesday is the 100-Day hat. Students will be pasting busses labeled by tens from 10-100 in order onto a thin narrow piece of paper. After each bus is colored and pasted correctly on their thin narrow piece of paper, the math teachers will help the students turn their art project into a 100-Day hat, by gluing or stapling the ends of the piece of paper together. Therefore, the students will not only have a 100-Day necklace to wear, but a 100-Day hat as well!

Working with the Students:

After the students were settled in to begin their day, I was able to begin working with Alicia, the first student I was assigned. Alicia is considered one of our lower ability students when it comes to mathematics. Although she is able to count to twenty out loud, she is unable to recognize any written number past the number 10. Therefore, I was able to utilize the Count Sort 2 number game on the computer to help Alicia with her number recognition above 10. To help boost her confidence in number recognition, I began by placing the Count Sort 2 game at the lowest level, only showing 1-10 chips at a time. Therefore, she was able to recognize and click on the correct number after counting the number of chips that appeared on the screen.

Once Alicia was presented with multiple problems, where she correctly counted and recognized all of the numbers from 1-10, I moved the game up a level to display 1-15 chips. Although she accurately counted the number of chips on the screen every time, she was unable to distinguish any number above 10 and therefore continued to choose the wrong answer. Therefore, when more than 10 chips appeared on the screen, I directed her to move and connect ten chips into a line and leave the rest of the chips separate and off to the side. After grouping the 10 chips together, much like the students do with connecting blocks, Alicia was able to quickly recognize the correct number on the side of the screen. By the end of the session, Alicia was able to recognize the numbers 11 and 12 without even grouping ten chips together. When I did not give Alicia direction on how to group the chips, however, she would continue to connect all her chips in a straight line. Therefore, she was unable to distinguish the correct number on the side, because there was no longer a group of ten and then individual chips displayed on the screen. To help give Alicia another example, as well as reflect upon activities she has done in the past, I gave her the number of connecting cubes that matched the number of chips on the screen. Alicia, however, grouped the connecting cubes the same way she did the chips on the screen, connecting more than ten cubes together, instead of having one group of ten and so many individual cubes representing one.

Once my session with Alicia was over, I began to work with Nathan, another one of our low ability students. To begin the session, I decided I would play the game Ah Chute because from previous occasions, I know it is a game he enjoys playing on the computer. As soon as the first game was complete, however, I switched over to the Count Sort 2 game, and put the level back to easy, to begin helping him with number recognition and counting.

After helping Nathan with the first few problems, I was able to assess that he not only struggled counting the number of chips that appeared on the screen, but the only number he could recognize was the number one. Because I noticed Nathan really struggled counting the number of chips on the screen when more than 4 chips appeared, I thought it might be more beneficial for him to count something he could touch and pick up himself. Therefore, I placed the same number of connecting blocks in front of him as the number of chips that were placed on the screen. Nathan, however, continued to recount the same blocks over and over as he did with the chips on the screen.

After working with Nathan for a while, and constantly encouraging and praising him when he would count the correct number of chips or recognize a number, I noticed that he was no longer engaged in the activity or in being on the computer. What I did notice, however, was as he continued to look down, he would begin saying random numbers trying to count. Although he was randomly saying numbers the majority of the time, Nathan demonstrated that he was able to count to 22!!! Another one of Nathan’s accomplishments throughout the lesson was his ability to recognize the number 5, after explaining that “5” represented how old he was. J

In conclusion, I find Nathan to be one of the harder students to assess. There have been times where he is unable to count to 10 correctly, and other times where he has counted to 30 flawlessly. I know Nathan’s confidence level plays a key role in his willingness to continue participating in an activity, and have tried countless things to keep him confident and engaged, but I am struggling to figure out how to get him excited and engaged about an activity and unsure how to accurately assess his ability to count.

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