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Analysis of Student Interview

First off, I think that it is important that I give a little background on the student that I chose to interview. The student is a second grader and is new to the school district and state after just moving from California. He had only been in the class for four weeks, but has had a series of absences since then. It was really only his 8th day in the class due to his absences. My lead teacher had not gotten an opportunity to spend any one on one time with the student and didnt really know where he stood in regards to the standard because between being absent and not doing assignments she really only had three assignments to gauge his knowledge. So, when I told my lead teacher about my assignment she thought that I should chose him because she could use the results to get an idea on where he stands!

The standard that my interview was on is: Math. CCSS.2.OA. 1 Use addition and subtraction within 100 to solve one- and two-step word problems involving situations of adding to, taking from, putting together, taking apart, and comparing, with unknowns in all positions, e.g., by using drawings and equations with a symbol for the unknown number to represent the problem. So, with the that little introduction done we started out the interview with the student filling out the diagnostic interview. This took some convincing! After my explanation that this wasnt for a grade and just to make me a better teacher in the future he wasnt very willing to participate. After some convincing that I would really appreciate it if he filled it out because I especially picked him to get to know him better he was willing to participate. Due to the fact that he wasnt very excited to fill out my long math disposition interview we decided that we could just do it as a quick interview to help speed up time. I felt that

if I would have left him to fill it out on his own that it would have taken the full twenty minutes because he has a very hard time staying on task. In retrospect, it might have been better if I would have made my disposition in a circle format where the students could just circle their answers instead of having to write out responses, especially at this grade level. Anyways, I discovered through the disposition interview that math was not his favorite subject because he often found it confusing, that its too hard, and that its too much work. Although he did like math that dealt with money! The reason he liked this kind of math so much is because he felt that counting money was one of the only ways he was going to use math in the future. (I wanted to give him a lecture but for the sake of time and purpose of the disposition I didnt). He also mentioned that he felt math was just doing a lot of work and that others usually helped him finish his assignments. I already mentioned that I wanted to give him a lecture on the importance of math, so a major suggestion that I would have for this student is to make math relevant. I think a major reason that he feels that math is a lot of work is because he is so used to filling out worksheets, which I usually work with him on and this format is a real struggle for him. He dreads doing math when it is just filling out assignments but if I change problems around to make them more relevant he is willing to work on them. For example the problem we worked on today was 56+75 =?, well seeing this in his workbook immediately turned him off but when I phrased it as lets imagine you have 56 Legos and Jonathan gives you 75 more, then how many Legos will you have? By making the connection to Legos which he had in his pocket all day and his best friend he was instantly interested in math. I think he just needs that relevancy to make him engaged. For the student math just didnt seem relevant and it amazed me that he couldnt really think of how he would math in the future other than counting money. If I asked if he would use it in the future for one of his jobs he couldnt think of any examples of how he might use it. So, I would just try to stress the importance of mathematics more for this student so that he can see why he would use it, I think that this would make him more willing to do it. So, in short, my suggestion is to make the math more relevant and show the importance of math to the student.

Now on the interview, luckily I had tried to make the questions somewhat relevant by having problems that involved the class crabs, which he was going to be taking care of later on in the week. He really sparked up when I mentioned the crabs and it really helped him to become more engaged in the material, which worked out quite well for me. Instead of being a struggle he was much more willing to participate. In retrospect I could have even tried to make it more relevant because instead of just saying rewar d points in my interview I could have dojo points with his an app that the class uses to monitor their behavior (the students get opportunities to be the classroom dojo and give points for students with good behaviors and take away points for students off task or disruptive. So, when I read the first problem the student immediately said Class dojo points? and I tried my best to roll with it saying sure. In retrospect, I would have just written this into the problem so again establish that connection between the problem and the student. So, my first question was dealt with giving the students reward points for doing the survey. I gave the student base ten cubes to demonstrate these points. These really amazed the student and I am pretty sure this might have been the first time he had really ever used a math manipulative in this class. This first question dealt with the students conceptual understanding of a mathematics problem. The student had to transfer a question that I asked them into a representation of the problem using the base ten rods & cubes and cards that had operation symbols. The student was unable to answer the base question that I had assigned and I could tell that it was a combination of him not knowing the question completely and him also not understanding how to represent it, so we moved on to an easier problem where I filled in the operations symbols and he filled in the equation with his cuisionare rods. He successfully and correctly was able to complete this mini-task, but I wasnt very able with this question alone to fully evaluate his conceptual understanding of the standard. So in regards to his conceptual understanding I will discuss the second problem. This question was a different operation (subtraction instead of addition) but was a very

similar task where the student had to transfer a verbal problem into an oral representation. We went back to that base question where the student had to fill out the entire equation using operation symbols and the base ten rods and cubes. This time I think the student had a better understanding of what the question was actually asking which made me think that I needed to be better on my toes with coming up for other explanations of what the question was asking. So, he had a better understanding of what I was actually asking and he also showed a much better conceptual understanding when it came to the question. Although his conceptual understanding was still a little off. While the student had all of the correct numbers in the problem, he didnt put them in the correct order. When I said that nineteen points had been taken away in the problem, he had put this nineteen in the wrong portion of the equation. So his conceptual understanding just wasnt quite there and I couldnt exactly move to a base question I had written down because it wouldnt have demonstrated to him that his numbers needed to be moved around. So I had to make a new base question on the fly and this time I put the correct number on one side of the equation and left the student to fill in the remaining numbers. He was able to complete this task then. So, it appeared to me that his conceptual understanding was at the base level. So now on the third problem the student had to complete a similar task as far as using cubes and operation symbols like he had to do in the first two mini-tasks. This time the student successfully completed the base task the first time. So, I decided to move on to an advancing question. So, for the advancing question I removed the cubes from the table to see if the student could write in on a white board that I had supplied to him. The student was shocked that we had moved on to a harder question and I think that this sort of scared him off. He attempted to write the equation on the whiteboard and successfully was able to write the operations but he could not remember the numbers and their order in the equations. So, I read him the question out loud again and he was able to recall the numbers and put these in their correct places in the equation after a couple of repetitions of the problem verbally.

So, after all three mini-tasks I believe that the student was at the base level. Although he was able to answer one of the advancing questions he was not able to do this on a consistent basis and still required some amount of support to successfully answer the advancing question. The student did seem to have a solid base understanding even though he was not able to initially answer the base question, but I think this was more of him trying to understand what the question was really asking and the fact that he was getting use to using manipulatives. I think more use of manipulatives would have made him feel more comfortable with using them and would have put more focus on the task and not on the manipulative. I also think that the student needs more work with being able to understand the problem by combining situations, which Van De Walle mentioned as a major component of conceptual understanding, because he didnt always seem to be confidant with how to take a verbal problem and turn it into a visual equation. The student had a really hard time with concrete models and using these to model equations. At times it seemed like there was a disconnection between the manipulatives and how to use these to model problems and this seemed to be a major issue for the student and I think the student needs work with using models and also how to model and view the equation in different ways. So, now on to the procedural understandings! Again, I chose to use the same format for each of the tasks just in different equations. Each of the tasks asked the student to explain how they solved the problem. For the base question I allowed the student to select whatever method he thought was best: counting on fingers, counting with blocks, using a pen and paper with the traditional algorithm and finally using an invented strategy. For the first question, I let the student use whatever method he wanted to explain to me how he solved the problem. The student immediately chose to count on his fingers but he got confused and mixed up about halfway through his explanation and then shut down saying it was too hard. So, to keep him motivated to complete the task I asked the base question to complete the problem using the blocks. This didnt seem to be a very big help, again I really think that this is related to his unfamiliarity with using manipulatives. He was able to complete this task but it did take quite a while and he

didnt seem to be confident at all with his answer. So, I decided to ask another easier question and help him with counting on his fingers by basically giving him extra fingers to use for addition. He was able to use my fingers to represent the tens and used his fingers to represent the ones. He was then able to solve the problem. The remaining two tasks revealed similar results. The student was not successful using his own fingers alone to solve the problem and seemed to get lost about halfway when he started losing track of his tens when adding and subtraction. So, I decided to go back to that block example which he struggled through but was able to use to help him show me how he solved the problem. I could tell though that he was not very confident with this approach and often had to go through it a couple of times before he was able to do it successfully. So, I moved on to my easier question and allowed him to use my fingers to keep track of the tens while he kept track of the ones. (I also want to point out that he told me what fingers to hold up and I did not chose this for him) When we used this method he was able to answer both questions successfully. So, based on the results of these tasks and my questions I would say that he was below base level on this standard. I do not think that he is very procedurally fluent. The student was able to use the counting-up strategy successfully after a couple of attempts( based on page 27 of Van De Walle) and also a made up strategy successfully but he wasnt able to use any other strategies . Specifically in regards to his procedural fluency he wasnt able to use strategies flexibly which is major for procedural fluency. I think the biggest way to increase his procedural fluency would be to build his conceptual understanding of counting skills and how numbers should be placed into problems. A big problem that I noticed with this student is that he wasnt able to start at a given number and count up. So he couldnt start counting at 19 and build hi s way up he had to start at zero and count up to nineteen. This is where a major source of his confusion started. He would get confused with counting and when he ran out of fingers it wasnt long before he lost his place. However, with my help in holding up fingers to

help him keep his place he was able to complete the problem. So, I would try to work with his invented method and figure out a way to make it work for him without having to use my fingers. He was able to do the problem his way but he just couldnt do it very well in other ways. Especially when I tried to get him to use the traditional algorithm he just shut down, mostly because he said it was too hard without even really looking at it but because it was on paper. Paper and pencil was just not a route that he could use because he instantly became unengaged. So, I think that with this student I would work with him on the standard algorithm. I think it would be particularly helpful to have similar tasks done with the class and a discussion so he could see other students using the traditional algorithm and how effective this method can be and that just because it is on paper doesnt mean that it is harder or requires more work.