Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Dice.......and blocks........and protractors....OH MY!

This year is going to be fun.....not only a new curriculum (I moved from 4th to 5th) but also a new math series.  It seemed like yesterday when we were introduced to enVision math.  Now, its something different. Honestly, I couldn't tell you.  All I know....more math manipulatives. 

Yesterday in our staff meeting, we had a team of teachers talking about what our math block should look like and sharing some great ideas regarding math manipulatives.  One of our fabulous 1st grade teachers shared with us a great idea in giving students the responsibility in figuring out what manipulative was going to serve most useful in achieving success within a problem.  Are you ready?  

In the beginning of the year, she gave a small basket of one type of manipulative to the class.  For me (teaching 5th grade), I would give each team a different small basket of math manipulatives to complete the activity.  As a class, the students would come up with various reasons why that manipulative would be useful.  For example, in the team meeting, she gave our tables various shapes.  As a team, we came up with finding real life objects that looked like an octagon, fractions - equivalent, creating a tessellation, adding and subtracting, patterns, identifying colors and so on. After our team shared, we would share with the entire staff (or in your case, the teams/students would come together and share what they came up with).  This gave us a new perspective in how we viewed a math manipulative.  I was really blown away with all the great ideas one math manipulative can do to help a student. 

The 1st grade teacher continues to share.................after introducing the various math manipulatives, she would give the students an expectation and lots and lots of practice and positive reinforcement in how to pick the correct manipulative and take what is needed, leaving behind for others to use.  Now........this was brilliant and so simple.  Using a small basket (can find in dollar stores or $1 area at Target), students would go to the math manipulative area, take what he/she needed, put back the remaining manipulative and head back to their work station.  When the student was finished working with the manipulative, he/she would put back what was used and finish cleaning up or go to the next activity.   How simple!!!!

As I looked around my room this morning, I realized that I had my math manipulatives out but never really introduced many of them to the students.  At that moment.....I felt horrible.  I took a picture to share with you how I showcase my math manipulatives and this year.....completing the previously mentioned activity.  Super excited!!  How do you showcase your math manipulatives and which manipulatives are a MUST in your classroom?


  1. What's the new curriculum? Any new math manipulatives that you have never seen or used?

  2. We use Go Math. I noticed the math manipulative a are pretty much the same throughout the grade levels however it's how it is used that changes.