Author Archives: Beverly Ford
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.
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
Are there any dangers in training your students in the “strategy” of counting-on? After reading Dr. Les Steffe’s work, I would argue it is harmful. He calls counting-on a non-teachable scheme. This means that if you want counting-on to be meaningful for students you can present situations that would promote their construction of counting-on, but… Continue Reading
In my last blog I talked about how the research I have been studying focuses on the “mathematics of children” and I claimed that research that articulates “mathematics of children” can provide powerful tools for a teacher. Many of us experienced elementary school a long time ago and this creates a challenge for our teaching.… Continue Reading
I have had the privilege of being a part of the AIMS Center from its birth. Having been a teacher, coach, and staff developer for the last 15 years, the world of a teacher is something I have experience with. I am now called a Research Associate and my role is to be a bridge… Continue Reading