- Educators should incorporate multi-modal literacies such as books, songs, and videos as starting points to introduce topics such as shapes. Literature, videos, and audio can serve as a memorable way to link mathematical concepts through their terminology, and illustrations. They can also foster a child’s interactions and critical thinking skills.
- Educators should provide of variety of hands-on, concrete materials that children can manipulate, such as shape blocks, foam shapes, geoboards, shape magnets, and nature objects where they can engage in sorting, classifying, and building. Children learn best when they are able to freely explore materials and create authentic forms of play (Ontario Ministry of Education, 2011).
- When facilitating an activity, educators should incorporate a variety of verbal prompts, and open-ended questions that support an inquiry process. Using verbal prompts and open-ended questions can promote children to undergo problem solving, as well as probe and challenge children to further demonstrate their mathematical thinking and exploration. Verbal prompts and open-ended questions can include “how did you make this?” “what shapes do you see?” “can you explain your ideas?” and “can you show me?”. Children can also be encouraged to pose questions of their own when exploring, and extend their own investigations and learning (Ontario Ministry of Education, 2011).
- Educators should present problem-solving situations that provide children with opportunities to reflect on their prior knowledge, engage in reasoning, make generalizations, and create a deeper understanding of the knowledge they are building on (Ontario Ministry of Education, 2011).
- Educators should incorporate activities that cover other areas of math, such as geometry being linked to patterning or number sense. Children can form patterns based on the type of shapes used, and their colours. Children can also sort and count shapes, enabling them to learn, practice, and demonstrate their knowledge.
- Educators should incorporate integrated learning, with experiences not only inside the classroom, but outside as well. Using real-life contexts such as through having field trips and scavenger hunts in the community can allow children to expand on their interests, explore concepts, as well as form connections and interactions with objects and members in their community where they can further develop and apply their skills (Ontario Ministry of Education, 2011).
- Educators should form collaborative relationships of trust and respect with families to support their children’s needs and learning experiences as much as possible. Educators should also use families as a resource to acquire their advice and feedback, and to encourage them to implement home-based activities to foster their child’s mathematical thinking, and create a bridge between the child’s home and school environment (Ontario Ministry of Education, 2011).
- Educators should create workstations where children of all levels can work in small groups. This will enable other students to support their peers, as well as learn from and teach each other. It can also show educators the child’s zone of proximal development through what they can do alone, and what they can do with the guidance of others (Ontario Ministry of Education, 2011).
- Educators should incorporate the use of technology, such as iPads, which are a familiar medium to children nowadays, and offer a variety of learning applications, such as Sketch Pad or the Geoboard app. These application allows children to manipulate shapes and form different representations of them by dragging their corners and observing the shape’s properties transform. This enables children to see various forms of shapes that are different from their prototypes which teaches children that shapes come in different forms, and that there is not only one fixed notion of it.
- Educators should assess children to create an understanding of their total development and promote repetition of tasks to recognize learning gaps to better support them. This will allow educators to implement appropriate learning opportunities that are consistent with each child’s cognitive, language, physical, social, and emotional development. Modifications can also be made such as providing more guidance and time during a particular task (Ontario Ministry of Education, 2011).
- Educators should create a balance between opportunities of exploration and investigation, guided instruction and explicit instruction. This will provide children with the support they need through scaffolding, but also encourage them to express autonomy through their own explorations and investigations (Ontario Ministry of Education, 2011).
Ontario Ministry of Education. (2011). The full-day early learning-kindergarten program. Toronto: Queen’s Printer. Retrieved from http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/curriculum/elementary/kindergarten_english_june3.pdf