The mathematics standards in the Common Core for kindergarten focus on 5 key areas; Number and Cardinality, Operations and Algebraic Thinking, Numbers and Operations in Base Ten, Measurement and Data, and Geometry. According to the website:
In Kindergarten, instructional time should focus on two critical areas: (1) representing and comparing whole numbers, initially with sets of objects; (2) describing shapes and space. More learning time in Kindergarten should be devoted to number than to other topics.
- 1. Students use numbers, including written numerals, to represent quantities and to solve quantitative problems, such as counting objects in a set; counting out a given number of objects; comparing sets or numerals; and modeling simple joining and separating situations with sets of objects, or eventually with equations such as 5 + 2 = 7 and 7 – 2 = 5. (Kindergarten students should see addition and subtraction equations, and student writing of equations in kindergarten is encouraged, but it is not required.) Students choose, combine, and apply effective strategies for answering quantitative questions, including quickly recognizing the cardinalities of small sets of objects, counting and producing sets of given sizes, counting the number of objects in combined sets, or counting the number of objects that remain in a set after some are taken away.
- 2. Students describe their physical world using geometric ideas (e.g., shape, orientation, spatial relations) and vocabulary. They identify, name, and describe basic two-dimensional shapes, such as squares, triangles, circles, rectangles, and hexagons, presented in a variety of ways (e.g., with different sizes and orientations), as well as three-dimensional shapes such as cubes, cones, cylinders, and spheres. They use basic shapes and spatial reasoning to model objects in their environment and to construct more complex shapes.
So, although there are clear expectations for each area, teachers are expected to spend more time focusing on number than on any other area. This expectation reinforces the idea that number sense is the foundational skill on which all other mathematical skills are built. That means that we too, should focus on number.
Next week I am going to explore the first area of the mathematics Core – Counting and Cardinality. Can’t wait!