Inside a kindergarten classroom with Augustana students

Spring Break Fever

This past week I worked with both classes on addition concepts using the add sub application on my iPad. When working with the students, it is clear that some of them are beginning to grasp the concept of addition. For example, after a couple addition problems I asked a group of students if any of them knew what we were doing. One student was able to tell me that we were adding. To follow up I asked the student if he could tell me what adding was. His response was, “adding is when you put two things together to make them bigger.” The students understanding of addition was also represented when they were using the features of the app. Next to each addend there is a corresponding number of squares. In order to figure the addition sentence out, students can count all of the squares to find the sum. I didn’t explain this to the students, yet all of them knew that in order to find the answer they had to count all of the squares.

Some interesting things that I noticed during my time with the students is that many of them are beginning to memorize addition facts and several of them are catching on to repetitious patterns. For instance, when I was working with a student she was given the problem five plus five and without even counting the squares she told me that the answer was ten. When I asked how she found her answer without counting the squares she told me, “That’s easy! I have five fingers on this hand and five on the other and I have ten fingers.” I was very impressed that the student was able to come to this conclusion. This same student was also able to tell me several other sums without counting the squares. Her reasoning for knowing the answer to six plus two equals eight is because she knows “one more than six is seven and one more than that is eight.” This student has demonstrated the sub skills that she needs in order to be able to count on, whereas several of her peers have not. An overall pattern that many students picked up on was addition sentences where one of the addends is zero and also addition sentences where one of the addends is one. A majority of students were able to tell me that zero means “nothing” so they didn’t have to count the squares because it was going to be the other addend in the problem. Students were also able to solve the addition problems where one was an addend because they were taught that when you add one it’s the same as finding the number right after the other addend.

I’m very excited to start jumping into more activities that revolve around counting up. In one of the readings that I found for my research there were several activities that can be done in order to determine if students are ready to be taught counting on. After the students’ spring break, I would like to try and simulate these activities with my group of students to see how many of them are ready to count on.

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