Author Archives: Beverly Ford
Today I want to write about one of the simple ways my colleague Grace and I engaged our students in playful counting. One of the significant things I have realized after reading the research around student adaptive pedagogy is that our students are not counting enough, but that they don’t need more practice with rote counting. Students need to see counting as a powerful tool in which they can and want to experience their world.
Measurement was one of the ways we were able to engage the students in meaningful math experiences that allowed them to use counting to understand their world. Our students loved measuring the things around them. One of the most straightforward stations we did involved having the students use different manipulatives to measure things. Something important to realize before you try this with your students is that linked counters will be very different for the students then discrete counters. It is fascinating to watch how the students use the discrete counters when they measure. Developing the ability to think with quantities that are continuous (linked blocks) and discrete contribute to how a child forms a rich foundation in number. Both counters are essential but plan for some extra time in your debrief with the students if they are using discrete counters because they will use them differently.
In first grade I had the students measure the room, items from their desk, or pictures I printed. Then they wrote about their measurement experience in their math journals. I loved using math journals! It was such a simple way for them to record their experiences. I am realizing more and more how meaningful and significant it is for students when they register an experience. In a child’s mind, they have to create a mental image of the recent experience before they can record it (by writing or drawing). This is a critical process that involves reflection and is foundational in the students’ construction of a number concept.
In Kindergarten Grace had students go to the measuring station twice a week almost every week. She found dollar items that fit a current theme or brought things from home. One of my favorites was that at Thanksgiving she brought kitchen tools for the students to measure. Students would talk about having those at their house too! It was a bridge between the world of school and home. We want students to go home and want to use their math tools of counting and measuring to explore their homes. Then the math is something they choose to do for themselves, not have to do for school.
In my last blog I talked about tasks I chose for my students based off of their mathematical thinking. I was able to do that because the research on student adaptive pedagogy developed a progression that allowed me as a teacher to look for some classic behavior. Last time I wrote about students who use… Continue Reading
In my last blog post, I talked about how Student Adaptive Pedagogy allowed me to meet the diverse needs in my classroom in a way that left my students and me feeling empowered. They were empowered as mathematicians, and I was empowered to use their math to support their academic growth. I mirrored teaching math… Continue Reading
I started teaching because I love to learn and I wanted to make a difference in my students’ lives. I quickly learned that what a child was learning could be academic, social, or simply personal growth. Learning is complex. Teaching is complex. As a teacher I was making so many decisions everyday. When I taught… Continue Reading
In my last blog post I talked about how reading the research on student adaptive pedagogy has given me a new lens in which to facilitate productive struggle with students. It has been so exciting to see the great effort that students will naturally put forth when a math task is in their zone of… Continue Reading
When I first heard the words “productive struggle,” I imagined the many times I have watched students struggle to learn a math concept. My heart has always been sensitive to the children that would have to work to learn an idea. Growing up, I had cousin to whom learning appeared to come very easily. I… Continue Reading
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… Continue Reading
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