# Oh Yes They Can! Kindergarten Math

The goal of mathematicsย instructionย is to help our students become capable,ย confidentย mathematicians. ย That’s really pretty huge, when you think about it. ย We certainly need our kiddos to be able to compute precisely and efficiently, but it encompasses so much more. ย Our students need to understand how math is used in the world around them and be able to confidently explain and defend their solutions. ย They need to be able to represent their mathematical thinking, persevere with difficult tasks, and see the connections in seemingly unrelated math ideas. ย So when does all this deep thinking and communicating start? ย Third grade? ย Fourth? ย High school? ย How about Kindergarten. ย ๐

Our school is fortunate to have access to the Exemplars program. ย If you are not familiar with Exemplars, they are amazingly rich problem solving tasks. ย Thursday, during my weekly visit with Mrs. Bryan’s Kinder class, they were trying their first Exemplar! ย Of course Mrs. Bryan did a great job of building the hype and telling the kiddos what hardย math they were learning. ย Then, with great fanfare (I’m not kidding…), she revealed the problem. ย Look at the second picture to read the problem and see the finished product. ย This is tough stuff for Kinder babies, but somehow Mrs. Bryan never seems to make it feel that way. ย I love watching how these kiddos think and talk about their math work.

 Students helped draw the representation of the ย problem.
 The finished product!! ย Notice the tally marks and key.
 Math workstation time. ย Using Teddy Bear counters with the number bond flashcards. ย Step 1…10 is the whole.
 Step 2…the known part is 5.
 Step 3…5 is the missing part!
 Students model and write addition and subtraction story problems.

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