## Who dares to teach must never cease to learn. ~ John Cotton Dana

### Subitizing- A Fundamental Skill for Primary Mathematicians

Subitizing is the ability to instantly see how many in a small collection of items without counting.  Dots on a die, shapes on a playing card, number of fingers held up on a hand, are all examples of subitizing in action.  In order to subitize successfully students need to see the whole as a collection of objects as well as the individual units.  Subitizing is considered to be a fundamental skill for supporting students understanding of number and ability to perform number operations.

In the primary years students should be given regular and consistent opportunities to subitize in order to build their skills, improve number sense and lay the foundation for future mathematical learning.  In kindergarten numbers to 5 should be focused on for instant recognition.  Once students are familiar with familiar representations of 1 to 5, larger collections can be used to encourage students part-part-whole thinking.   For example, on the card below students may instantly recognize a three and a four and then add the numbers together to know that there is a collection of seven dots on the card.

As the collections get larger students can be encouraged to use their estimation skills to think about “how many” and “how do you know”.  Our Saskatchewan Curriculum refers to this fundamental skill through several outcomes from Kindergarten to Grade 2:

• Kindergarten- NK.2 Recognize, at a glance, and name familiar arrangements of 1 to 5 objects, dots, or pictures.
• Grade 1- N1.2 Recognize, at a glance, and name familiar arrangements of 1 to 10 objects, dots, and pictures
• Grade 2- N2.1 Demonstrate understanding of whole numbers to 100 (concretely, pictorially, physically, orally, in writing, and symbolically) by:
• representing (including place value)
• describing skip counting
• differentiating between odd and even numbers
• estimating with referents
• comparing two numbers
• ordering three or more numbers.

This video is an excellent example of a kindergarten teacher who is using Quick Images to build on her students subitization skills, and create opportunities for mathematical conversation.

Subitizing-What is it? Why Teach it?

Pinterest Board on Subitizing

###### Resources to support teaching Subitizing

Dot Cards and Ten Frames

Sparklebox Dot Cards

### Where We Are and Where To Go Next: Creating a Survey

My learning journey in EDCUR 809 has taken me to assignment 5…creating a survey. I’ll be honest my first impressions of this assignment were Easy, How hard can a survey be? Create a few questions, get back some data, make a nice Excel bar graph and Voilà ..survey and analysis done.
Well I was wrong. Really wrong.

I reflected to a colleague that this truly was an “end of ignorance” experience. Now that I know more it was not easy. Every question caused me to think, wonder, and reflect on the question “Will this provide us with the information we need?”

I began by deciding to create a survey for the PreKindergarten to Grade 5 Mathematics Learning Community. I wanted to create a tool to assess the degree to which the math learning community members have reach the medium term (year 2)outcomes and provide recommendations for next year. I wanted a survey that would shed light on where we are and where we are going as a professional learning community. My first step was to revisit the outcomes through the lens of assessment. The outcomes for year 2 are:

• increase understanding of mathematics content, pedagogy, and instruction
• increased enjoyment of teaching mathematics
• increased understanding of content development across mathematics curricula (grades prior or succeeding current teaching assignment)

To strengthen the survey assessment and analysis I also wanted to consider Guskey’s (2000) five levels of professional development. These levels are used by my system’s Staff Development Team to evaluate the effectiveness of our professional development. The levels are as follows:

1. Participants’ Reaction
2. Participants’ Learning
3. Organization support and change (are barriers being reduced)
4. Participants’ use of the new knowledge and skills
5. Student learning outcomes

Specifically, I felt that my survey would focus on levels 1, 2, and 4. (However, based on feedback I revised my survey to provide an opportunity to gain insight into number 5 as well)

With both my outcomes and the five levels of professional development in mind I created the initial survey. From there I shared it with colleagues. They provided me with feedback that lead me to revisions. Next, I piloted the survey with 4 members of the Mathematics Learning Community to get their feedback. This lead to more revisions, more pondering about what data this survey would provide and questions about if the data would be adequate to shed light on the my inquiry into effectiveness and actualization of outcomes.

##### Initial Version of the Survey

Initial Math Learning Community Survey

##### Revised Version of the Survey

Revised Version of the Math Learning Community Survey

(please note that this survey will be put into an online tool. The open question text boxes provided in the document are place holders and do not reflect the amount of space participants will be given to complete their responses.)

This survey will be put into an electronic form to be sent out to all community members around the middle of May. From there the plan is to bring together a small group of members to help with the analysis of the survey, provide additional insight into the actualization of outcomes and make recommendations for next year. I hope that the survey and the follow-up analysis will provide the information we need to move forward effectively.

Image: Objects In The Rearview Mirror by KrissyVenosdale- http://www.flickr.com/photos/venosdale/6876773480