Inside a kindergarten classroom with Augustana students

A New Recognition Game

Since we only had Monday and Wednesday to work with the kindergartners, we really made sure we got down to business. The main focus for these days was to spend some extra time with the students that were struggling with simple number sense skills, like counting up to 20 and recognizing numbers.
First we worked with the students that had a difficult time counting in the teens. These students are able to consistently count all the way up to 10, after this, however, they start getting mixed up (and tend to only say teen when we try to count with them). We have tried a number of activities with these students to help cement and improve their counting past 10, like simply counting with the students and having them count with objects (blocks, cars, etc. to make things more concrete). We have also attempted to work with number symbol recognition from 1-9 with these students since most of them know how to count up to 10. Our hope was that students will start recognizing the numbers, which will eventually help their oral counting abilities. This, however, proved to be much too advanced for these students since they struggled with the numbers 5-9.
Needless to say, we have yet to find an activity that really aids these particular students. Ultimately, this leads me to questioning what other activities are out there that can help students that struggle with counting the teens? This is a great topic to look into since we are stumped on what activity to implement next.
For the students that could count past 20, we also worked on number symbol recognition. These are the students that tend to have issues with remembering and counting the 10s (20, 30, 40 50) in the correct order when we are counting by ones. For instance, they may say 28, 29, 40, …..38, 39, 50, etc. Other students in this group may simply have problems counting past a certain number, such as 27. There was one student that really piques my interest because of the way she continues to count. She says, “…25, 26, 27, 21” or on other days may say “…25, 26, 27, 28, 21”. I find it very interesting that she keeps on going back to 21, so I tried to show her that when looking at the numbers, this sequence did not make sense. However, when I attempted to explain to her how the number line works and that nine is bigger than 1 or 8 is bigger than 1, she was very confused by this. I realized that the student was not yet able to recognize the number symbols. I think the best way to get past this mistake of saying 21 instead of 28 or 29 is for the student to first learn the number symbols so she can draw from the order of the numbers 1-9 and apply the orders to numbers 21-29 (showing that the second number follows the same pattern that 1-9 does).
Trying to strengthen and improve her number symbol recognition, I had the student using the “Count Sort” app and playing the “Counting” game. This game gives the student a certain number of chips, which she has to count and then choose the correct answer from one of the two numbers given. I found, however, that this game confused the student even more because she was still not able to tell the difference between the two numbers or what amount they stood for. In need of something more concrete, I came up with a different game for the student to try. I took a scratch piece of paper and wrote down the number line from 1-9 at the top of the paper. Then, I took those numbers (1-9) and placed them around the page. The student’s job was to point to one of the numbers scattered around the page and orally identify what number it was. When she said the right answer, she was able to circle the number. If she did not know what the number was and started guessing, I would have her go up to the number line and count each of the numbers out loud starting from 1 (and going towards 9). When she was hit the number she was stumped on, she would realize that it was the number she just said out loud. She was then able to go back down to the randomized numbers, identify the number she was just stumped on, and circle it with confidence.
I then decided to make a variation of this game, which allowed the student to choose, write down, and randomize the numbers themselves. At first I had the student writing down the numbers without the presence of the number line, until I realized that the student was only using the numbers she was most familiar with (1-5). To make sure the student was including numbers beyond 5, I added the number line once again at the top of the page. In response to my addition of the number line, the student added the numbers that were greater than 5, although I think it is important to note that 1-5 were still more prevalent. It was then my turn to do the identifying and circling of the numbers. Before I started, I warned the student that I would be trying to trick her at some points and that she would have to correct my mistakes.
We then flip-flopped one more time to play the game where I was randomizing the numbers and she was identifying the number symbols orally and circling them. During this time, my student was able to recognize 9, which she was not able to do previously! I was so excited I nearly jumped out of my seat! As a follow up question, I asked the student why she knew that this number was the number 9. She responded that she knew that it was the number 9 because she had written it the game before (where she was the one randomizing the game and I was the circle-er).
Because this game was such a hit with this student, I am looking forward to trying it with the students that struggle with both counting past 10 and number recognition. Hopefully this will help them also move forward in counting orally and in other number sense skills as well!

Similarities between 1-9 and 21-29

Game 1 (I was randomize-er)


Game 2 (she was randomize-er) and Game 3 (I was randomize-er). During Game 3, she was able to recognize number 9 (which I have highlighted) because of writing number 9 in Game 2 as randomize-er.

One Response to “A New Recognition Game”

  1. Have you ever considered writing an ebook or guest authoring on other websites? I have a blog centered on the same subjects you discuss and would really like to have you share some stories/information. I know my viewers would enjoy your work. If you are even remotely interested, feel free to shoot me an e-mail.

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