Monday, 21 April 2014

Investigating Addition in Kindergarten

“Math can be seamlessly integrated into
children’s ongoing play and activities.
But this usually requires a knowledgeable
adult who creates a supportive environment
and provides challenges, suggestions, tasks,
and language.” 
(Capacity Building Series, 2011)

At our school, educators are provided ongoing professional development with grade partners, leadership team members, and administration "between the bells". The Early Learning Kindergarten team recently had the opportunity to co-plan a math lesson together with a focus on addition. We used The Full-Day Early Learning- Kindergarten Program document to guide our lesson plan.

We first looked at the big idea that "young children have a conceptual understanding of mathematics and of mathematical thinking and reasoning." We then looked at the overall expectation that "children will demonstrate an understanding of numbers, using concrete materials to explore and investigate counting, quantity, and number relationships." Finally, we considered focusing on the specific expectation that "they (will) investigate addition and subtraction in everyday activities through the use of manipulatives, visual models, or oral exploration." (The Full-Day Early Learning- Kindergarten Program, 2010 Draft Version).

 "Ideally, manipulatives serve as learning tools to help students build their understanding and explain their thinking to others." (Capacity Building Series, 2011).

The learning goal for our lesson was to add and group numbers up to 10, using a variety of manipulatives. The following images capture some of the learning that took place during small group lessons in our classroom.

The students showed they were successful by meeting the success criteria we had co-created with them: 
- I know my numbers from 1-10
- I can show numbers in many ways: dots, fingers, numbers, pictures
- I can show my thinking in different ways: writing, drawing, talking 


"Students need the opportunity to reflect upon their actions with manipulatives, and through discussion, articulate the meaning they generate, so that the link between their representations and the key mathematical ideas is apparent." (Capacity Building Series, 2011).

The students had opportunities to share their thinking and reflect on their learning through drawing, writing, and oral conversation using pictures to prompt their thoughts.

"Once a concept is acquired, provide practice experiences to consolidate learning. Practice is not meant to be rote or mechanical in nature; it occurs through mathematical investigations that take place through free exploration, focused exploration, and guided activity." (Capacity Building Series, 2011)

Students demonstrated their learning in ways that we hadn't expected. The photos above show two students on different days independently using the numbers and dominoes from the math centre to add numbers up to 10. 

I look forward to working "between the bells" to co-debrief with the Early Learning Kindergarten team by sharing our observations and reflecting on the students learning, as well as co-reflect on our own learning to build a shared knowledge and understanding of our professional learning goals.

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