Developing Number SenseThe goal of first grade is to develop number sense. Number sense means to truly understand the number. Not just know that 5 means numerical 5 and 5 objects; but also 5 is 3 and 2; 1and 4; 0 and 5; etc. And notice, it is not all about equations and formulas. Number sense is the understanding of number combinations that make up that number. |

In the beginning of the year, students are given a number sense assessment. We play a hiding game. I show them a set number of cubes, like 5. Then I hide some cubes in my hand. By looking at the cubes on the outside, the child must tell me how many cubes I have on the inside. The child might be counting 1-by-1 (lips moving, head bobbing, fingers tapping, or they're taking a long time)--this is a sign that they are in the early stage of this number sense or it is too difficult at this point. If they can quickly tell the correct combination; they know that because there are 2 cubes on the outside, there must be 3 hiding in my hand. In the beginning of the year, most kids are in the number sense range of 4-6. And to be honest, number sense growth is very slow throughout the year. This is because it takes a lot of practice and time to really develop number sense.

One of the best way to develop number sense is to play hands-on math games. When kids see it, touch it, make it, and talk about the numbers--there is a deeper understanding of the number. This will help set the foundation for when they do math at the next grades.

One of the best way to develop number sense is to play hands-on math games. When kids see it, touch it, make it, and talk about the numbers--there is a deeper understanding of the number. This will help set the foundation for when they do math at the next grades.

## Math Strategies

When teaching math, it is not just the teacher telling the students about it. An important component is for the students to share their thinking and math strategy behind their numbers. When kids are able to communicate their thinking, it shows a higher level of understanding. I genuinely love talking about math strategies, because students take such ownership of their learning and they in turn teach the others the strategy; and the receiving learner takes it in more because it comes from a peer (breaks my heart that I, as the teacher, am not the end all of knowledge in my classroom--j/k, actually I love it--the way the learning and teaching flows between the kids.

As we develop our math strategies, I will post our math strategy chart. I encourage you to use the chart strategies with your child to support their number sense development. Like when you add 5+2, ask them "How did you know that?" "What did you do to get that?"

I have a good example of a higher math strategy a girl has already said in class--she knew 5+4=9, (her further ability to communicate it showed great understanding) because she knows 5+5 is 10, and just 1 less to make 9. WOW! was my reaction. Her strategies were to do doubles -1 and/or manipulate the numbers and change it around to work for her.

An early level of strategy, in which we all come from and celebrate is--"counting 1-by-1." 5+4=10, 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10.

As we develop our math strategies, I will post our math strategy chart. I encourage you to use the chart strategies with your child to support their number sense development. Like when you add 5+2, ask them "How did you know that?" "What did you do to get that?"

I have a good example of a higher math strategy a girl has already said in class--she knew 5+4=9, (her further ability to communicate it showed great understanding) because she knows 5+5 is 10, and just 1 less to make 9. WOW! was my reaction. Her strategies were to do doubles -1 and/or manipulate the numbers and change it around to work for her.

An early level of strategy, in which we all come from and celebrate is--"counting 1-by-1." 5+4=10, 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10.