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I.

II.

Observation 2:
Mathematics
Grade:
Pre-Kindergarten

III.

Students:
7 girls, 2 boys

IV.

Setting:
Bright Beginnings Preschool
Pre-Kindergarten Classroom
9 Students, 2 teachers (1 main teacher, 1 assistant teacher)

V.

Pre-Observation:
The direction of the observation was to determine if the teachings of Mathematics
in the classroom were meeting the standards set by the New Jersey Department of
Education (NJDOE). In order to complete the observation, I chose a pre-k
classroom with children ages four through five, at Bright Beginnings Preschool. I
took two days to complete my observation. Prior to going in to observe the class I
became aware of the Preschool Teaching and Learning Standards set by the
NJDOE, specifically in the area of mathematics. To collect my data I created a
checklist. I created the checklist based off the standards set by the NJDOE.

VI.

Data:
Observations were conducted on Wednesday October 8th 2014 and Wednesday
October 15th, 2014.
New Jersey Preschool
Yes No
Comments
Mathematical Practices
1 Teachers introduce number
Currently only up to four
symbols to describe number

stories (to five)


2 Children informally experiment
During activities they use
with math problem solving
various objects (pumpkin
strategies using objects and

seeds) to count
pictures
3 Teachers use objects, drawings,
During activities objects
and actions while modeling
are used constantly
mathematical thinking

4 Teachers point out math in


When cutting out objects
everyday situations and model
the teachers usually tell
using math to solve everyday

the students to draw a


problems
shape around what their
cutting to help guide

Children begin using to use


objects, pictures, words (and
may begin to use number
symbols [to five]) to solve
simple everyday problems (to
ten)
Teachers model and begin to
use tools (e.g., a clock, paper
and pencil, dice, two- and
three-dimensional shapes)
Teachers model and use
mathematics vocabulary during
classroom activities and
routines
Children begin using
mathematics vocabulary during
classroom activities and
routines
Children begin to intentionally
make their own simple patterns
started by the teacher

10 Teachers model for and work


with children to develop simple
pattern (e.g. ab, abb, abc) using
objects, pictures and words

VII.

them
Children use seeds,
feathers, candy corn to
help solve problems

During activities paper as


well as dice are often
used

During the morning


routine the children are
counting the days of the
week, months of the year,
etc.
Children use
mathematical vocabulary
during routines

I do not see the children


making their own
patterns yet, usually they
are given a pattern but do
not make their own
connections unless lead
by the teacher
1,2,3 and A,B,C have
already been covered as
the numbers of the month
(September) currently
learning D,E,F and the
number 4 to develop
patterns

Analysis:
During my observation I saw appropriate mathematical practices taking place.
The classroom has a central wall where the morning routines are done, also where
the number, letters and shape of the month are displayed. This wall is used to help
the students count, to understand the number of the month, and to also display
their work they have done to improve their comprehension of the number, letters
and shapes of the month. For the month of October the children are focusing on

the number four. The shape of the month is the triangle. The teachers engaged the
students in activities that included numbers one through four. One activity that I
observed was using candy corn (three pieces of paper cut in the shape of
sections from candy corn) the bottom white piece of the candy corn read the one
through four, then the center orange piece had the actual number 1-4, and the top
yellow piece used dots to represent the number one though four. The students had
to identify which number was which and use a pattern to put together the candy
corn. I feel this activity challenged the students and met the mathematical
standards because the students needed to develop a sense of pattern, identify a
number in different forms, and use thinking in order to complete the activity. This
activity met the Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning standard.
The teachers try their best to have the students use math during free-play. Many of
the children do not seem interested in using math other than when the teacher
leads an activity. During activities the students are involved and eager to count,
continue patterns and make sense of what their learning. In this classroom I
observed mathematical practices that helped students gain a better understanding
of quantity in numbers, patterns, problem solving, and use of tools for
comprehension.
VIII.

Recommendations:
During my observations I saw little room for improvement. The only areas I
recommend to be improved on are children using math, knowingly or
unknowingly, during free-play and also the students ability to create their own
patterns. The teachers do well in engaging the students during activities and they
are eager to count, solve problems and identify patterns. When they are not guided
by the teacher the students play amongst each other in different stations, but no
station is dedicated to math. There is a shelf with blocks, legos, cars, and other
counting devices but they are not out in the open. Students do use these but not as
much as the kitchen station or the doll station. I recommend that there be at least
one station to help the students identify patterns, count, use quantities, etc., to
engage in free-play mathematics. According to the National Institute for Early
Education Research Preschoolers learn mathematics through concrete
experiences with materials and through intentional interactions by their teachers
to extend their thinking. In most high quality preschool programs mathematical
thinking and reasoning are encouraged as children engage in activities such as
counting, measuring, constructing with blocks, playing board and card games, and
engaging in dramatic play, music, and art (Frede 6). The students are constantly
engaged in activities with their teachers, but when it comes to free-play, it seems
to only be a time to play. The students are not encouraged to take what they
learned in the activities and use it in their playing. The stations that are available
do not encourage the use of cards or board games. If the students had a proper
place to freely engage in mathematics, they may be able to make connections
without being led by their teacher.

IX.

X.

Post-Observation:
I go to the Bright Beginnings Preschool two days a week, every week. During the
time that I am there, from 9a.m. to 11a.m., I observe different classroom activities.
During my observation for mathematics, I observed how the teachers taught
mathematics and if the children could comprehend what they were learning.
Creating a checklist from the standards set by the NJDOE helped me to observe
more efficiently and know what to look for in a healthy teaching environment.
Citations:
Frede, E., & Barnett, W. (2009, March 1). Math and Science in Preschool:
Policies and Practice. Retrieved October 15, 2014.
National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, Council of Chief State
School Officers. (2010). Common Core Standards: English Language
Arts. Washington, D.C.: National Governors Association Center for Best
Practices, Council of Chief State School Officers
New Jersey Department of Education, State board of Education. (2013).
Mathematics. Preschool Teaching and Learning Standards.