Adding Animals During Story Time

Area: Operations
Skill: Adding and Subtracting
Key Targeted Strategies:
  • Engage students in "Counting On"
  • Engage students in "Counting All"
Foundational Strategies:
  • Supporting conceptual understanding

What to Look for in This Clip:

Students who are just learning to add often use the "counting all" strategy before moving on to a more sophisticated strategy called "counting on". In counting on, students move from counting all of the objects in two different sets to "counting on" from the number of objects in the first set.

During this activity, we see the teacher guide and encourage the use of both strategies as she poses an addition problem, "Now we had ten, but then a dragonfly falls in. How many do we have now?" When one student expresses her uncertainty, the teacher supports her conceptual understanding by scaffolding the problem solving steps.

First, she highlights the starting set size and change, "You have ten and one more goes in". This type of scaffolding often helps students "count on" from ten to determine that one more is eleven. In this case the student isn't able to reach the correct answer using this strategy, so the teacher provides additional scaffolding by suggesting, "Do it on your fingers." This encourages the student to use a strategy she is familiar with, "counting all" of the animals starting at one. When the student reaches ten, the teacher quickly repeats the number ten which helps the student then "count on" to reach the answer of eleven.