Chapter 2: Organizing and Managing Materials
Considerations for Using Manipulatives:
Debbie offers some great tips for managing math manipulatives.
Go back and read these tips again (page 39).
1.EXPLORATION, EXPLORATION, EXPLORATION !
Every year I feel so much pressure to stay on a pacing chart and address the state standards and I think to myself, can I skip this step with the kids? I have learned the hard way that the answer is a big -NO.
Our students have not been to preschool and they need the oportunity to touch manipulatives, play with them, and talk about them with each other. When I don't offer them these opportunities they find a way to use them inappropriatly (Have you ever seen a unifix gun?) Trust me on this.
So I allow them time to explore but I am clear about my expectations and my partner and I model this over and over again. We even demonstate "math talk" we hope to hear.
2. Limit the amount of manipulatives you give students. Here is a round of applause for Debbie Diller! We should own stock in ziplock baggies because we use them 24/7. We number the buckets in our room and each child is given a baggie with his number on it and limited amounts of the manipulatives we are using. Trust me it is worth the effort to do this! Have you ever had a child drop an entire bucket of small cubes?
3.The next tip she offers is one I have figured out on my own but it is worth pointing out again and again. Give each child their own mat to work on . Oh yeah, this keeps the peace and everyone loves personal space- right? Say amen to that. So after all this intense babble I am offering my blogging BFF's some math mats and if I finish my assessments tomorrow who knows what might show up!!!
Students put their manipuatives (from their baggie) on the mat in a pattern and the star is to remind them where to start reading their pattern. What do you think? Grab it while it's hot right here! You get two for the price of one.
Here is another mat to use when you want students to sort by color.. What could you use? I bet you can think of a million things. How about buttons, unifix cubes, counters. teddy bears, 1" cubes, etc. As the year progresses you can count how many are in each column or for more able students they could graph these quantities. Hey, this might be differentiation.
Differentiation Rocks! Try clicking here for this mat
Good night friends.