Author Archives: Beverly Ford
This week is my last in working in a first grade classroom every day. It is hard to say goodbye to the students. I have watched them grow so much in their math knowledge during our time together. I am more convinced than ever that the research we have read and come to know at the AIMS Center is a powerful tool for teachers. This research has provided knowledge on how to present tasks that foster students’ mathematical constructions.
To illustrate, I want to tell you the story of Jaylah. When I first interviewed Jaylah in September, she was able to solve addition problems by counting the first addend and the second addend for problems like 6+3 and 9+3. She could not add 23+3, and she could not add 6+4. Jaylah also struggles with number recognition. The numbers 13 and 31 were easily mixed up. When I interviewed her again in December, she was able to solve problems like 32+7 and 27+10. When she solved these problems in December she counted on. I never taught her to count on. It just made sense to her because of our interactions.
According to my conversations with researchers on student adaptive pedagogy, having a student make that much growth is a great mathematical achievement when accomplished over a school year, but Jaylah was able to achieve this growth in just four months. I think this success has to do with the number of daily meaningful mathematical experiences that she has been able to have for these past four months. Typically when a researcher works with students they will often see them for a few weeks at a time, and the students’ classroom teacher is teaching them things about math that may feel very different to the child by comparison.
Implementing the research in a classroom for the last four months has shown me the power and potential it can have with students. I love watching these kids construct their knowledge. Seeing success when implemented at a classroom level is very exciting, especially considering the original research was done with students one-on-one or in small groups.
I am so excited to work with teachers in our next phase so that they can come to know this research as well, and use it to offer rich mathematical experiences for their students. I know that they will see similar results as I have and be excited to see how they can foster amazing student thinking.
Today I want to reflect a little about my struggles with grades, students’ conceptual understanding, and students’ disposition towards math. In my last post, I talked about how I used a bulletin board with an ocean scene and fish number stories to engage my students in meaningful experiences around addition. Students were connecting the addition… Continue Reading
Our learning begins as children when we start to make sense of our world. When we count objects in our world and identify how many of something there are we are actually working on understanding number. Learning about addition is no different. It needs to start in a child’s world. So, in my 1st grade… Continue Reading
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… Continue Reading
One of the best experiences as a teacher for me is when you see a child have an “ah-ha” moment. The look on their face, their body language, their emotion. These moments bring me so much joy. I have seen so many of these moments working with 1st graders over the last few years. I… Continue Reading
Today I want to write about how the mathematics of students helps me to see my role as a teacher and learning a bit differently. In my last few posts, I have been telling you the story of Grace. Today, I wanted to share Grace’s story because it is an example of a time where… Continue Reading
One of my favorite questions to ask a toddler is, “How old are you?” They will often proudly hold up two, three, or four fingers. Most of the time these fingers come up all at once. This is their first experience connecting a number word and their fingers and can be a foundation to building… Continue Reading
In my first blog about the Mathematics of Grace, I mentioned that by the end of our six week study she was able to answer 98 + 5. This was exciting for me because when we first interviewed her she wasn’t able to combine 19 + 3. She was limited to solving sums within 20.… Continue Reading
In my last blog I wrote about one of the first things I noticed about the mathematics of Grace. She used her fingers to solve addition situations like 7+4 by constructing more advanced finger patterns, where one finger could mean one or eleven and six fingers could mean six or sixteen. This allowed her to… Continue Reading
The mathematics of students is a powerful tool for a teacher. It allows a teacher to hypothesize what is happening in the mind of a child and plan a next step that will allow that child to construct more sophisticated understanding. Today I want to look at the mathematics of a student we call Grace… Continue Reading