Things are really hopping around the AIMS Center. Everyday becomes better than the last. I wake up and I’m challenged and excited by what I get to do during the day. As most people know, we really want to find a way to share what research tells us about children’s construction of number with classroom teachers here in our valley. At first I thought that sounded like a reasonably basic idea. Every day I realize just how awesome that charge is. Now that I have worked here a couple of years, I am able to reflect on my time here and make some sense of the work we’ve accomplished and the work we have yet to do.
The first year and a half we were all about reading and learning the research we chose to translate for classroom use. Reading it was not as simple as I thought it would be. It took talking with others, acting out some of the examples, and working with real children to understand what it was that the authors were describing. Working with children helped me to see that the children of our valley react in the same way that the researchers described they would.
Now that we have a reasonable expectation as to how the children will react, we have to be familiar enough with the research that we can “walk around in it”. We needed to be able to apply it to any child, in any classroom, at any time. We wanted to move away from a script and be able to engage children and adapt our teaching to their needs. We did this with small groups outside of the classroom first and then went into classrooms and began working with entire classes of children who rotated through math “centers.” In order to work with a classroom full of children, we needed some kind of engaging activities or tasks. We wanted those to be flexible so that they can be adapted for each individual child. We wanted them to look uniform across the room so that no child felts singled out, behind, or ahead. We wanted the tasks to be easy for the children to use and easy for the teacher to prepare and use with students. Most importantly, the goal of the tasks is to be the medium by which we learn about and foster the child’s number sequence rather than the task itself being some kind of goal. This is what my teams continues to spend most of their time working on.
It makes sense that we needed to learn the research around a child’s construction of number so that we could leverage that knowledge to adapt the lesson with any given child, on any given day. Our next goal is to learn how teachers come to know about children’s construction of number. There’s less research about this. We want to adapt our translation to the needs of each teacher so that it is relevant and meaningful for each. Together with those who conducted the research on children’s construction of number, we forge ahead in sharing what we have gained with all of you.
In my last blog, I highlighted various ways you have probably observed children using their fingers when they are counting. In this blog I will continue that discussion and show you how observing the way children are using their fingers can help you understand where a child is in their construction of number. I pointed… Continue Reading
We at the AIMS Center have been digging into research on how children come to know number. What I realize is that knowing the journey from perceptual to conceptual which children must take is important for teachers to understand, in order to effectively help children on their path to understanding number. We have discussed the… Continue Reading
January 13-15, 2017 I was very fortunate to attend the 32nd Annual PK1 Conference, sponsored by the California Kindergarten Association. The conference was attended by many preschool, transitional kindergarten, kindergarten, and 1st grade teachers. This was a great place to gather with other teachers and early childhood leaders that were interested in early childhood education.… 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
We know that children do not learn simply because we have given them information that we find to be important. And I hope that we know that just because we list the objectives on the board, cover each one with diligence, and check it off doesn’t mean that we have taught the objective. So what… Continue Reading
In my last blog, I reflected on my experience at the California Mathematics Council’s Southern Conference in Palm Springs and our presentation, “Don’t be Quick to Count On!”. Referenced throughout the conference were the Mathematics Teaching Practices from NCTM. One of these practices that resonates with the work of my team of research associates is,… Continue Reading
In my last blog I discussed the gap between using manipulatives and using numerals only as being a gap too large to traverse in one step. What then bridges the gap? Research that has been the focus of study at the AIMS Center suggests that the answer is to be found in the mathematical knowledge… Continue Reading
The latest results from international testing in mathematics have been released and results show the United States finished behind Kazakhstan. Now I don’t know much about Kazakhstan, except this is the country Borat hails from. I’m sure Kazakhstan is a beautiful country, but it doesn’t jump out with me as a math powerhouse. What does… Continue Reading
This month kicked off with a bang! It started with a trip to the beautiful Monterey Peninsula for the California Mathematics Council (CMC), North Section – Asilomar Conference 2016. If you have not been before, switch over to your calendar right now and mark off the first weekend of December for the conference. Then you… Continue Reading