Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Numbers Are My Band-Aid

Kindergarten is still very new to me - I am just 3 months in. There are days when I feel that I have absolutely no idea what I am doing. This insecurity is my "boo-boo" - and in the words of Fox from Jeremy Tankard's Boo Hoo Bird - "Band-Aids always make my boo-boos feel better".

Recently, many of my students started questioning why some students were getting what they saw as special treatment. It is challenging to explain differentiation, accommodation and modification to intermediate students - let alone Kindergarteners. I found this great activity via Pinterest on Mrs. Saylor's Log, and decided to try it out. 

The students came in from recess and one boy was complaining that he hurt his knee. I immediately opened a Band-Aid and put it on his knee - on top of his pants. The students were hooked. Band-Aids are a hot commodity in our classroom and the students know that I do not give them out freely. Next I asked if anyone else had a boo-boo. Needless to say, every student's hand shot up, and one by one. each came up to receive a Band-Aid. Each time, whether they named a sore finger, arm or foot - I placed a Band-Aid on their left knee on top of their pants.

There was laughter, there was confusion, and as I had hoped - there were questions. They thought I was crazy - "you're putting the Band-Aids in the wrong place!" they scoffed. But eventually, the whats and whys did lead to a heart-warming discussion. In the end, the students demonstrated a deeper understanding than I'd expected- progressing from "it does not make sense to put a Band-Aid in the wrong place," to, "We all need different help."

Whenever I am feeling insecure about my venture into Kindergarten I grasp onto numeracy. There is so much we can do with numbers. We have spent a lot of time developing our math meetings. Two of my favourite resources are Sherry Parrish's Number Talks and Jessica Shumway's Number Routines. My students have grown confident with number representations to ten with dot plates, fingers and tallies. We recently have started to explore rekenreks using Cathy Fosnot's "Bunk Beds and Apple Boxes" unit from her Contexts for Learning Mathematics resource. We play a lot of math games with dice and are developing a number line. As I said - numeracy is my Band-Aid.

Sometimes Band-Aids are necessary; sometimes they are futile. They are by definition a "make-shift" or temporary solution. Practically Band-Aids cover up a problem until it has time to heal. Developing my students into little mathematicians is giving me the confidence I need to uncover the Kinder-teacher from within. 

What is your Band-Aid?

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