Subitizing – two years ago, I had no idea what it was.
In September 2010, I was asked to do my first demo lesson as Numeracy Helping Teacher. In a Kindergarten classroom. I taught Math 8 to 12. I was
terrified a little nervous. Thankfully, Sandra Ball was there to hold my hand provide moral support. In these last two years, I have become much more comfortable in primary classrooms. And I can pronounce subitizing and tell you what it is – it’s recognizing, without counting, one to five objects (“1, 2, 3, What do you see?”).
This year, it has been very rewarding to support Surrey Kindergarten/Grade 1 teachers with an assessment package developed by Carole Fullerton and Sandra Ball. “What Do They Know?” focuses on three areas: subitizing, partitioning/decomposing, and patterning. In addition to fall and spring assessment tools (instructions, blackline masters, materials, rubrics), an instructional resource with suggestions for subitizing, partitioning/decomposing, and patterning lessons is also included. Carole and Sandra wrote about WDTK in a special elementary mathematics issue of BCAMT’s journal, Vector. Please read the article here.
With all-day-K in effect this year, the timing is perfect. There is time (It is time?) to focus on early numeracy. The number of Kindergarten teachers in Surrey has almost doubled this year, many of them teaching Kindergarten for the first time.
WDTK provided me with opportunities this year to work with K/1 teachers. When teachers invited me into their classrooms, I asked them to choose three kids. Then, I modeled each of the three assessment tasks with these three students. After, the teachers and I discussed the results. It was common for these teachers to be surprised by their students. Often students who were identified as struggling demonstrated capacity in at least one of the three areas. Sometimes these students even outperformed their high-achieving classmates. Later, these teachers were able to complete the assessment tasks on their own with the remaining kids.
I look forward to spending more time in Kindergarten classrooms – every secondary math teacher should get the opportunity at some point in his or her career.