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Monica Beland

March 30, 2008

TE 910A

Interview Assignment

Student: Amber
Grade: 1
School: Dingeman Elementary School
Information I used throughout the interview: She listed her friends as
Joanne, Rachel, and Savannah. She told me that she had an older
brother who’s name is Raymond and that he is 9 years old. Her
favorite thing to do is cheerlead on her cheerleading team.

Interview Questions:
1. Can you count by 3s? 10s? Show me on paper.
2. Can you show me 24 with the cubes. Please explain this to me. (Add
10: How many do I have now?).
3. Raymond has 5 apples. His mom gave him 7 more apples. How
many does he have altogether.
4. Amber has 21 toy cars. You give 5 toy cars to Joanne. How many toy
cars to do you have left?
5. Rachel has 19 marbles. How many more marbles does she need to
have 32 altogether.
6. Amber has 9 marbles and Savannah has 4 marbles. How many more
marbles does Amber have than Savannah?
7. Rachel has 3 packages of gum. There are 5 sticks of gum in each
package. How many pieces of gum does Rachel have. (3 pack with 12
sticks of gum in each package.)
8. At a party there were 18 M&Ms left to be shared among 3 children.
How many M&Ms should each child get?
9. 20 children are to be driven to the park. If each car had seat belts
for only 4 children, how many cars would be needed to drive all 20
children to the park?
10. Can you write a problem with a bigger number that you can solve?
11. 19 children are taking a mini-bus to the zoo. They will have to sit
either 2 or 3 to a seat. The bus has 7 seats. How many children will
have to sit three to a seat, and how many can sit two to a seat?
12. Imagine that this is a brownie (draw a rectangle). Could you show
me how you might share this with two other people so that each
person gets the same amount? Do the same for 3 people; 4 people; 5

11. In question 11, Amber first drew out 19 lines and 7 lines. She was
drawing a line from one of the 19 to one of the 7. In the middle, she
stopped all of a sudden. She erased everything and drew 7 seats. Then
she placed 2 lines in each seat. She said that these were the 2 people
that sat in each seat. She then counted all of the people in the seats to
get 14. After that, she put a third person in every seat until she got to
19. She concluded that 5 seats have 3 people and 2 seats have 2
people. When I asked her to explain why she erased everything, she
told me that she figured out a better way to do it on her own. Then she
told me that she put 2 people in every seat because she knew at least
2 people had to be in the seat. She put the 5 remainding into seats of
3. This was an example of direct modeling. She showed me how she
got the answer through a visual representation. She also figured the
answer out using counting. She went from counting by 2s to counting
by 3s.

8. This was one of the only times that Amber really utilized the cubes.
She took 18 cubes. One by one, she put each cube into a different pile
until all of her cubes were in 3 piles. After she put them in three piles,
she counted to see how many were in each pile. This is also a type of
counting and direct modeling.

7. When I first asked Amber this question, she quickly got the answer
without using any cubes or writing. She said that all she had to do was
count by 5s for 3 times. She said, “5, 10, 15.” When asked if she could
show me 3 packages with 12 pieces of gum, she took out her paper
and used tally marks. She put the 12 tally marks in 3 groups. Then she
added all of the tally marks to get 36. At first this is an example of
counting and recall (because she knows that 5 added 3 times equals

12. When I drew a picture of a square brownie, Amber was quickly able
to divide the brownie into equal halves. When I asked her to divide it
into thirds, she drew three lines in the center of the square (creating 4
pieces). She then explained that the fourth piece at the end did not
count. It was extra brownie that they did not use. I asked her to draw
the brownie into fourths. She drew 4 vertical lines in the box (creating
5 pieces). Again she said that the last piece was extra and did not
count. This was a part of the derived facts. She took what she already
learned about fractions and tried to apply it to the parts of a whole. Her
derived facts were mostly incorrect about fractions.

What I learned from this experience:

This was an incredible learning experience because there are not many
times when a teacher can sit down alone with a student and ask the
student how the student got the answer that they got. It helps to get in
their head for a moment and think about how the student is thinking
about math. If a teacher can do this, they can understand what the
students are struggling with. This experience has also taught me to
question why students are doing math the way they are doing it. Many
of the brief questions are easier for the children. The children seem to
struggle the most with word problems.

How I felt during the Interview:

I was excited to see how Amber would do during the interview. I knew
that Amber is incredibly bright and has a strong desire to learn and
explore. I was expecting her to do well. I was very at ease with Amber
before and during the interview. I felt more comfortable as we started
getting into the questions. At times I was very shocked with how fast
she came up with the answers. I thought that she would want to use
the cubes more. I was also very shocked with how many questions she
got right. I was going to stop at the multiplication and division
questions but I kept on going since she was getting the answers so
quickly. She was happy for the extra challenge. This was a very
positive interview because she felt so confident in her answers. I felt
like I empowered her to believe that she is great at math.

Anything that Surprised Me:

I was most surprised by the amount of answers she was able to
consider and solve! I thought that we could have to stop at
multiplication and division. One of the most shocking times was when
she counted the five packs of gum by 5s. She did not need to count on
her fingers or draw me a picture to represent this. She knew this so
quickly. Even when I changed the number to 12 pieces of gum she
quickly drew the answer out with tally marks. Then she counted the
tally marks by 5. She was very fast and efficient with a high accuracy

Any Implications this interview has for instructions:

I think the student has a strong foundation in addition and subtraction.
She knows how to use both in word problems. She is able to
differentiate between addition and subtraction in word problems. I
think she also has a very good foundation in multiplication and
division. She was able to count by groups just like multiplication. She
was also able to separate into groups just as division does so. The next
area I would like to teach Amber is fractions. She understands that
fractions are part of a whole and that all parts should be equal but she
does not understand why there can only be a certain amount of pieces.
I think she would pick up on fractions very quickly.