Learning, Math, Saskatchewan Curricula

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.

dot 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 video

Information about Subitizing

Subitizing-What is it? Why Teach it?

Pinterest Board on Subitizing

Resources to support teaching Subitizing

Dot Cards and Ten Frames

Sparklebox Dot Cards

Instructional Leadership, Learning, Teaching and Instruction, Technology, Uncategorized

The Role of the Instructional Leader in Technology Integration

http://www.flickr.com/photos/kristinmarshall/4842064949

Part 3- Gaining an Understanding

Technology use should live within instruction and learning. Since instruction and learning are a responsibility of school administrators so too is the integration of technology. Today’s leaders must strive to initiate, promote, and support the effective use of technology in the educational environments by creating and supporting opportunities for teachers to learn with, about, and from technology. In this way they can create and support opportunities for learning with, about, and from technology for students.

Julia Kara-Soteriou (2009) suggests that instructional leaders can jump into this learning by taking the initiative for their own learning in three key ways.

  1. Gain an Understanding
  2. Embrace and Model Technology
  3. Actively Demonstrate Leadership

I believe that those three components can provide leaders with the “on ramp” to creating an environment that is technology rich and more importantly learning rich.

In Gaining an Understanding leaders are required to “step into the technology pool” with a willingness to explore. Exploration can range from opening the channels of communication with colleagues about technology; to actively pursuing professional development opportunities; to joining a web-based Professional Learning Network (PLN). Opportunities to use technology for learning are everywhere and leaders need to grab those opportunities with the mindset of educators and learners. This proactive learning should be driven by the needs and interests of the leader, their staff and their students. Though gaining an understanding leaders are able to actively engage in conversations and share their own experiences. This can inspire others to begin their own journeys of understanding.

Within a plethora of possibilities for exploration lies the opportunity for leaders to choose their own adventure, have fun and learn. From adventures in trying new hardware (iPads, computers, Smart Phones, Smart Boards, Document Cameras, digital photography etc.) to adventures in trying software (YouTube, Twitter, Blogging, Outlook Calendars, Excel, Internal Portal Systems, Google Documents, Flickr etc.) the opportunities to harness and share these experiences in learning are plentiful. What is necessary in this exploration is for instructional leaders to gain an understanding of how the digital tool or technology works AND an understanding of how those tools can support, enhance and transform learning for teachers and students. Instructional leadership in technology grows from personal experiences and play.

Instructional leaders should be pioneers in learning. They are people who are willing to step out into the unknown, experiment and actively pursue learning. They also possess the skills that inspire others to follow them in learning. Through a willingness to take risks and share their own learning, leaders create a space where other feel safe to do the same. An instructional leader with an understanding of technology can make a significant difference in inspiring technology integration in schools.

Kara-Soteriou, J. (2009). Promoting technology integration through the leadership of school administrators. New England Reading Association Journal. 91-95.