Cowgirl Calculation role models the clarification of ideas by saying "Thank you agent, so what I am hearing you say is.." By her role modelling this language I hope that as they progress they will begin to use this language themselves.
So far we are only focusing on two things. We have taught children to say "I think the answer is...because..." and this week we have been focusing on getting agents to reply "I agree with .... because..." or "I disagree with....because..." As these become embedded we will encourage agents to identify when they have used a similar strategy to another or a different strategy, this will initially be role modelled by Cowgirl.
I also want to encourage agents to verbalise that they don't understand...but this is a work in progress.
Talk moves are incredibly powerful and I can really see the value they add to our problem solving...they just require a lot of persistence and a lot of role modelling. I guess that is the beauty of Cowgirl Calculation. So if you are a little like me....you see the value, but getting them to a point of independence seems a wee way off....keep persisting they will get there and it will be worth it. If not for you, for next years teacher :) I am told my children from last year are very good at talking about their strategy and the way they have solved problems.
So this week we really went back to the basics of what a set is and how we can break a set to find partners that make that number. There are some great number bonds songs on youtube that helped us this week.
This is an example of one of the cool number bonds videos.
The Professor has been helping us with number bonds
This is an incredibly difficult concept, but it is a huge part of number sense...being able to see how a number can be made in different ways. It is one that over time we will keep plugging away at.
A great way we reinforced this idea was through the old marbles in a jar trick...agents sat with their i-pads, when I dropped a marble into the jar, they recorded a tally mark on their board. At the end the counted the tally marks and wrote the total marbles that must be in the jar. When they got confident with this, they close their eyes and recorded their tally marks. This was cool because their marks were not necessarily in one straight line, given their eyes were shut...so their counting skills came into play.
(When I say tally marks, I refer to just small lines on the board, we have not yet shown them how to make groups of five...this will come soon.)
As an extension on this, to link with our Number bond work we then had agents count the marbles as they went into the jar...add that group up, circle that group, then we dropped more in....they counted up how many more had been added, then worked on adding the two groups together. It helped us to show them that a total of 12 marbles were in the jar, but this had been made up of 7 and 5.
This is a difficult concept....and the more children can see how groups can be made in different ways the better they will be when it comes to solving problems independently as they will have a real sense of number.
This last week has seen us battling the Doubling Dinosaur
I love this character as you really get a chance to see some strategies coming through as children start to understand their doubles and can apply this. Most of our children have had three months or less at school, so the the fact that they can start to solve problems like 6 + 6 + 2 is impressive.
This guy wrote this number story independently from his understanding of doubles and addition. The problem presented was "The vet had six cats in one room, six cats in another room and two more cats in another room, how many altogether"
As you can see each problem solving group currently has a bag of materials. They are not yet ready for their tool boxes. Head Agent will deliver these when he feels the independence with using materials is there.
This is Head Agent
Moving into the next week we will revisit Subtraction Shark and The Knight Adder.
I am expecting a real improvement in how they solve addition and subtraction based word problems, so will be interested to see if this is apparent.
We will be looking at moving to using some subitizing cards and dice to help us see patterns and notice how they are made up.
We will also look at starting to count in different ways, starting with twos and fives.
It is so nice to have agency in full swing. We now have a routine of moving into company that works so well, the counting to 100 song comes on...
When agents hear this music...they move into agency. Once the song has finished we are ready for our chant and then into it.
These are the villain files we have in our confidential folder so far: