Saturday, October 8, 2011

Professional Development

Our district had make-up professional development yesterday and on Thursday. I say make-up because we were supposed to have professional development at the end of August but it was cancelled due to the hurricane. So we had to give up our Thursday evening (4:15-7:15) and our half day (1:00-4:00) to go to professional development workshops. I didn't so much mind the time on Friday but having to go in on a Thursday just after you finished getting the kids on the bus you have to go learn some more. Ugh!!

Well of course our team got there late, I directed them to the wrong school (my bad!) and we needed to get directions to the school. Luckily my teammate had a gps in her car... genius! So when we go there, the high school wasn't in the best of neighborhoods and we were really not feeling parking the car in the neighborhood. But I kept saying to myself this is what my students have to live everyday and it wouldn't kill us for 2 days to be there too. When we got inside the school we got our schedule of classes and rooms but the way the high school was laid out, we got so lost and confused we wondered how the new 9th graders ever figured it out on their first week of school. But we ended up splitting off so we could learn. My 2 teammates and I stopped in one that was given by our other colleagues so we knew they wouldn't mind if we came in late. It didn't apply to us, kindergartners, but like all workshops kindergarten teachers can ALWAYS figure out a way to dial the upper grades information down to our level. Plus we just wanted to get credit (sign in sheet) for being there during that session.

So 2nd session is really the reason I am writing this post. I went to a workshop called Developing Number Sense. I wanted to attend because I am doing the math lesson plan for my team this year and I want all the ideas I can get my hands on. By the way... if you have any good kindergarten ideas for math, please send them my way. Okay so the two presenters showed us the books by Kathy Richardson which most of the teachers in there said they had not seen those books, even though they are in our school library. Isn't it weird how teacher resources are never shared with the teachers?! We got a HUGE stack of blackline masters to use with the books and got hands-on experience with some of the games in one of the books. But one part of the presentation that stuck with me was called Funny Numbers. We were told to repeat each word after one of the presenters: Seize (seize), nudge (nudge), jingle (jingle), drift (drift), ramp (ramp), groan (groan), spruce (spruce). She asked us to repeat them back to our partners. Well of course we could not because we learned them pretty fast. So then she put the words into perspective. She told us to think about the words as numbers that a new kindergartener or ESL student would have to learn. Then she repeated the words using her fingers and having us repeat the words only 3 at a time and we repeated them back to our partners better because we understood what the words meant and we learned them slower. So throughout the whole presentation we had to use these "numbers" to explain our selves. So if we were counting cubes and we had only 3 cubes. She would ask us how many we had and we would have to say "jingle".
I was so floored when we had to count that way because it does make sense when we ask students to repeat after us when we are doing calendar but they really have no earthly idea how much 28 is on the calendar. They are just rote counting then we wind up frustrated when we realize that are students can't count a group of objects... well that is because we don't give them enough hands-on activities with them. I can't wait to go to my school on Monday (yes we have school unfortunately) and find these books. I even offered up one of the activities I remembered to my teammates for this week's lesson plan on sorting.
                     It's called shake and sort. 
 The gist of it is, that you have a various amount of cubes (unfix or snapping) of different colors put into a bucket, bag and they shake them up, then pour them onto the table. Students then sort out their cubes by color. Then they have to say how many they have the least of (a question we don't often ask them first) and what color has the most? which ones have the same? Then they can put their cubes back and get more cubes to sort out. But it is a good activity to get them to sort and count. 

The object is to give students the hands-on experience with objects that help them associate them with numbers not just with rote counting as we do in calendar. Tactile experiences that they can use to develop number sense. We were shown a video where 3 students were given a pile of x amount of unfix cubes and asked to count the objects, they were kindergartners. But 2 of the students would touch each object but then touch and count them over and over again. One student would touch and push out the objects once she counted them. With the two who counted over and over again, the teacher would take away some and ask how many which they would show that same strategy again. The teacher would take away more to make it less than 10 and have the students say how many there were then have them count out the cubes. If they got it wrong, she asked them to count it again. Eventually they got the number right but phew they had a lot of tries. Like some kids could look at a group of numbers and tell exactly how many there are, they of course are further along in number sense than the students who need to forever recount the objects when asked the question how many are there? We learned that was when students had difficulty remembering the number so would have to count again... we were given a term but I can't quite remember it now... haha!

But overall, I now have a new drive for math and making sure my students work in small groups rather than whole groups. I feel as if my students might actually get to do stations this year... I wasn't feeling it when I saw my group of kids but now I know that they NEED it.

1 comment:

  1. Those are some great points and great ideas about math! I teach math to K, 1, and 2 (we departmentalize and loop...), so I'm always looking for new math ideas! Thanks for sharing!

    Ms. Preppy's Adventures in Primary and Polka Dots