Inside a kindergarten classroom with Augustana students

A name change :)

At the beginning of this past week, I had a bit of a breakthrough with a student. Although this was not math related, it did help the student to open up and therefore work be more willing to work and participate in the math activities that Markaye and I conducted. For the first couple of times I worked with one of the students in the classroom I noticed that she was very shy and did not speak up very often, letting the other students answer the questions, even when I would direct them towards her. I also realized that when it was just the student and I for individual working time (whether it was seeing how far she could count orally by herself) that she seemed to have a language barrier. This student would occasionally respond in Spanish and even count some of the numbers in Spanish as well. With this realization, I knew what I had to do; I put my Golden Apple classes (great teaching scholarship program) to use and asked her what she was called at home and if her parents called her by something different than she is called at school. Slowly she nodded and then responded with this name. It was much different than the name she was being called at school by all the students and teachers. I then asked this student’s permission to call her this in school and she responded with an excited nod. Surprisingly, from that point on I have seen much improvement in this student, not only through participation, but also through her number sense skills.
In my Golden Apple class I was taught that sometimes there is a disconnect created between school and home when kids have to change their names for the people at school to be able to pronounce them. Ultimately, this makes the learning experience less personal to the student and can even cause them to drawback from learning.
I shared this new name change with my partner and have been calling this student by this name ever since, and like I said, she has improved greatly because of it in both participation and number sense skills (order of irrelevance, counting up, etc).

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