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Building number sense through morning routines

Monday, November 14, 2016

It is 8:30 a.m. in the kindergarten class, and students are excited to start talking about math. Students have been keeping track of a very important event in their lives - the days they are in school! Their teachers, Paulina and Graciela, have been facilitating the mathematical discourse since the beginning of the year by helping students develop a morning routine. Through this routine, they make sure to guide students from the concrete (counting chain links that represent the days), to the visual (using 10-frame models), and finally reaching the abstract code (writing the numeral on the number line). The integration of the concept of a "day" with the concepts of "quantities", "groups", and "cardinality" are masterfully integrated into this routine. These first 20 minutes are rich in mathematical discussion which students share with each other and their teachers. Some great ideas are shared, such as counting by 1s, 2s, 5s, and 10s. It is also incredible to see how students inquire about big ideas such as grouping tens through writing, saying, and clapping the numbers (the consistent pattern of our base-10 system), counting on from friendly numbers (rather than counting from the beginning), and exploring part-whole concepts by reporting assistance. This masterful daily inquiry into numbers are the keystone to students' number sense throughout their lives.