Highlighting Ideas from Choral Counting & Counting Collections: Transforming the PreK-5 Math Classroom, Edited by Megan L. Franke, Elham Kazemi and Angela Chan Turrou
If you find yourself having a blah winter day, you might want to head over to Twitter and type in the #CountingCollections hashtag. As soon as you do, up pops a kindergartener carefully tracing around a collection of keys to record “how many?” and a fourth grader surrounded by a sea of cups he is using to organize a giant collection of brightly-colored beads. It’s pure joy and mathematical inspiration, there whenever you need it.
But today, on Valentine’s Day, instead of heading over to Twitter, you can just stay right here as we share our love for brilliant teachers and students counting and learning together.
So grab a chocolate or two (or the whole box!) and let’s take a tour of some #CountingCollections tweets from this school year.
Counting Collections Are Invitations
Math coach Jenna Laib knows that nothing builds excitement for math class to begin like a teacher bringing in a fresh bin of collections for students to count.
Teachers familiar with Counting Collections know that it is worth the time to curate sets of engaging collections for students to count. And as instructional coach Tracy Proffitt shows us, once you’ve gotten started with Counting Collections, you’ll start finding sources for good collections everywhere.
Part of what makes Counting Collections so joyful is how accessible it is to all learners and how much space there is for children’s decision making. And frankly, who doesn’t want their hands on an enticing collection of brightly-colored buttons?
Counting Collections Build Community and Agency
Natali Gaxiola, an early childhood educator and the co-author of the “Preschool Connections” chapter of Choral Counting and Counting Collections recently shared that Counting Collections are a bright spot for both teachers and students in a difficult school year. Natali helps her students build community and mathematical understandings as they count and record their collections.
Math coach Chelsea Schneider also points out that Counting Collections can be a vehicle for fostering student agency.
Collections Big and Small
While counting has traditionally been thought of as an activity for primary-aged students, Counting Collections can build across the elementary grades, with older students exploring ideas around big numbers, multiplication and division, problem solving, and an understanding of the properties of operations.
Third graders in Arantzxa Barrios’s classroom in the Los Angeles Unified School District thought about grouping and multiplication as they counted 1,020 beans. Ms. Barrios explained that while the students initially made groups of fifty, upon seeing that there were leftovers they decided to add another bean to each cup.
Darlene Fish Doto, a third/fourth-grade multiage educator and the co-author of the “Counting Collections 3-5” chapter of Choral Counting and Counting Collections, shared the beautifully varied ideas her students came up with when she asked them to create collections of 1,000.
And both younger and older students benefit from the ideas that come from counting items that are in closed packages. Lauren Carr’s first-grade students grappled with ideas of place value as they figured out how many items were in their collections.
Counting Collections Is a Listening Practice
“What makes mathematics teaching so wonderful is that children are continually surprising us when we take the time to listen to their ideas,” write Megan L. Franke, Elham Kazemi and Angela Chan Turrou in Choral Counting and Counting Collections.
Teachers on Twitter shared how they’ve taken up this listening practice in Counting Collections. In her tweet, Lauren Carr reflects on how one of her first graders was able to clarify his own thinking as he explained his strategy to her.
And third-grade teacher Janaki Nagarajan shared that Counting Collections provide an opportunity for students themselves to grow as listeners, as they share their collections with one another and gather ideas for the next collection they will count.
Sharing The Counting Love With You
In celebration of our love for Counting Collections and the students and teachers who bring this activity to life in their classrooms, we’re sharing a collection of recording sheets for Counting Collections from Appendix 1 of the book.
Until next time, may your Monday be mathematically marvelous!
Note: All tweets in this blog are shared with permission.