Empowering Students to see the Mathematics Around Them

My great adventure in the classroom has been going on a little over a week. I have absolutely loved doing math with 1st graders. In my last blog, I wrote about how important reflection is in learning, and how I would need to prioritize time for reflection. Teaching has reminded me of the amazing amount of things a teacher does in a day. It is so easy to forget when you are not in a classroom. I have so much respect for classroom teachers, and I’m so thankful the AIMS Center is asking us to go into a classroom and put what we’ve learned into practice. before we try to translate for teachers. I must admit, however, that I have not been reflecting very much about the mathematics of students yet. I know it will come after I establish norms for both behavior and the experiences that my students will have in math with Mrs. Ford.

One of my main goals for my students is to help them see the mathematics all around them. Of the activities we have done, two of their favorite activities are counting collections and counting the room. Steff the Moose has been helping us notice the math in our classroom. If you haven’t read Grace’s blog about Steff the Moose you will want to check it out. The kids love when he helps us count and see the math in our world. As a class, we are making a list of the things we can count. I titled the list “I Wonder…” The hardest thing for the students when they are counting the room is to use their “secret voices” (the term we use to describe how loud their voices should be) and not lead their partner but just count by themselves. We have counted letters, flowers, desks, legs of chairs, pens, and so much more. In first grade, students are asked to extend their counting sequence to 120. One of the things I want my kids to enjoy and do often is simply wonder and count. Every few days Steff will ask them if they noticed anything in their room or house to count. Today a student said they counted 82 papers. What a wonderful way for them to begin to see the math in their own environment.

I wanted to strategically place things in their classroom environment that they could count. The two places I am doing this is a paper tree filled with crows and apples and a paper ocean filled with fish. In my next blog I’ll tell you about how my students and I told number stories from the ocean storyboard.

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