Howdy, friends! It’s August…and you know that means. School is around the corner. It is so close, it is starring you in the face. To look or not to look—that is the question. While I’ve had a great desire to see the siblings I am having this year on the class roster, I have been busy reflecting on the new mathematics TEKS, especially after having taught them last year. Here’s the lowdown:
There are 17 new mathematics TEKS that kindergarten teachers will need to know for the upcoming school year and 5 major concepts that are no longer taught in kindergarten. This is a quick guide to understanding the kindergarten mathematics TEKS.
1. Ordinal numbers, equal shares, calendar concepts, time, and repeating patterns are no longer a part of the standards in kindergarten. There are actually 14 standards that were deleted. Share these resources you currently have in your possession with your first grade colleagues. It is a great way to share with new teachers and reduces the fire risk in your classroom! Yeehaw! Take a look for yourself at Project Share.
2. Students have to count forward to at least 20 and backward from 20 to 0 (K. 2A). Counting forward to 20 can be taught pretty easily and depending on how well-prepared your students enter school, many have already mastered this skill. The issue lies in counting backwards. Try to say the alphabet backwards as an adult. No, really. Try it. It is difficult and takes a lot of thought. This is how our students feel when saying their numbers backwards. Have one 0-20 number line strip printed and laminated for each child. Keep them in an accessible spot and use them to count. Pretend you are on a mission and you need to count backwards until lift-off! If you do this often (each time you have a minute before you leave the classroom), most of the students will master this skill with no other practice time.
3. There is a large emphasis on number sense. Kindergartners should be able to subitize. Subi-what? Instantly recognizing a quantity of a small group of objects allows students to compute numbers faster (K.2D). Dice and dominos are great as they have an organized arrangement of pips that students will, at first, count, and then move towards subitization. Roll and cover games help build bridge the numeral to the arrangement of pips to achieve subitization. This is amazing to watch as it happens naturally in the environment you create!
4. Show me the money! Kindergarten students are required to know the names of the four U.S. coins: penny, nickel, dime, and quarter (K.4). Penny and quarter are the easiest to teach five-year-olds, but there is great confusion between the two silver coins (nickel and dime). Then, try to explain how a dime is smaller than a nickel yet is worth more than it. Good luck! This was probably the most difficult thing my students learned in mathematics. I am thinking about spending more time discusses the oddities of these two coins this year by using a Venn diagram or comparative input chart. My students also love short videos which help reinforce new concepts.
5. Kindergarteners will begin learning how to manage their personal finances (K.9A-D). Many teachers hear this and the statement is followed by simultaneous groans and grasps. I thought that at first too, but found out that teaching this unit was great fun. I tied all of the standards around things that the kids knew.
We talked about chores about home and what they spend their money on (K.9AB). Students need to know the difference between income and money they receive as gifts. They were able to understand this easily became income you have to work for and gift money is money you get “just because.” I used the following tree map to help the students organize the two:
There is a standard about listing skills you need for a job (K.9C). I did a thematic unit on firemen and policemen, two careers that young children know a lot about and are especially interested in. The bonus for us was that the unit fell during our Career Week, and the students were able to see and talk to these real-life people! It was amazing the intelligent questions the kindergarteners came up with!
The final standard in this set, is the one that I teach first: wants and needs. Here are the learning progressions for the unit on financial literacy. First, we create a list of what kids need and what they want (K.9D). Next, we discuss that there are two ways to obtain these things: income and gift money (K.9B). Then, we go to the thought that income can be earned in a multitude of ways (K.9A) and there are skills you need to get these jobs (K.9C).
Now that 20% of your work is now complete, take a walk, enjoy your family, and rest in the thought of knowing that Texas kindergarten teachers will live and survive for yet another year, together. Happy Teaching!
Laura Williams is a kindergarten teacher who has taught for ten years. She is the author of Kindergarten Down River at http://kinderdownriver.blogspot.com. She lives in El Paso, Texas, and has recently began doing staff development in her school district in the areas of K-2 mathematics and science.