What Do They Know?

What Do They Know? – PLENTY!

On October 1, 2012 I had the pleasure of working with 70 Early Primary teachers to explore the “What Do They Know?” numeracy assessments for Kindergarten and Grade 1.  I have posted the materials presented at the workshop on this blog.

The “Early Years” is a time for exploring- for play, talk and investigation. Students need to be engaged in meaningful activities that allow them to discover and make important connections in authentic ways. The teacher’s role is to uncover how students make sense out of mathematical explorations and conscientiously build upon those understandings. We see so much capacity in our students when we know what to look and listen for!

Research and the wise teachings of John Van de Walle and Marian Small indicate that there is a set of key math concepts for students to understand in their first years of school.  The capacity to see quantity at a glance without counting (subitizing), the ability to partition numbers (break numbers apart and put it back together again) and to pattern are all indicators of success in early numeracy.

The “What Do They Know?” assessments were written by Carole Fullerton and myself.  We wanted to design a less formal and more embedded in the classroom practice assessment tool.  Carole and I field tested the assessment with many classroom teachers across the province.  These assessments (Kindergarten and Grade 1) seek to find out – in an authentic and classroom familiar way –what the students know.  There are instructional components for each assessment that suggests ideas of building on to the students’ understanding.

Please try out these assessments with your students and discover ‘what they know’ and how to support them in continuing to become successful mathematicians. Enjoy!  I know I do!

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