> > > > This may be a reply that you aren't expecting, but here it goes. > > > > I had a chance to talk with someone (who remains anonymous just in case > > I'm completely mis-interpreting her view) during a conference for math ed > > researchers. She is a very strong follower of Piaget/Constructivism and > > she has been involved in curriculum development for elementary grade > > levels for quite some time. Her curriculum is full of activities/games > > and very little, if any worksheets (in the traditional sense) or drills. > > However, she told me (and I think she was making a rather strong > > statement to emphasize her point) that she did not like manipulatives. > > Her reason, however, was very sound, in my opinion. She said that she > > had seen too many teachers use manipulatives in a very > > directed/prescribed ways so that children were not engaged in > > exploration or experimentation. Children were simply pushing "blocks" > > instead of pencils. I think she has a very good point. Too many of > > pre-service teachers I work with believe manipulatives are so wonderful, > > but have very little idea why, and they know little how to use them > > constructively. So, the concerns expressed by "the Omaha Public School > > are" may be legitimate. On the other hand, I wonder what they expect > > teachers to do to teach mathematics to young children. I wonder what the > > definition of "manipulatives" is. > > > > > Forgive me for taking so long to reply to this note. I thought > and thought about Tad's remarks and I decided I needed to reply. > > For one thing, manipulatives are no more or less than a set of > objects/things designed to help bridge the gap between the > concrete and abstract. In themselves, they are neither good > nor bad. It is how they are used by the educator that makes them good or > bad. > > Having the fortune of being in education for some 33 years, I > was in on the "new math movement". I learned about > manipulatives; I learned good ways to use them; I learned how > to make my own; and I learned to think about how to design > concrete objects that might help my students "see the light." > I happened to be in graduate school in the 60's. > > You can't say manipulatives are bad if the teachers who misuse > them, were not trained to use them in their math ed courses. > I'm sure the people in math ed reading this list have good > courses. However, being part of our systemic reform in my > state and talking to trainers in other states, I have found > that the math ed programs in many states do not give their > middle school teachers much experience in the use of > manipulatives with middle school students. We are trying to > provide this experience in our SSI program in Virginia. > > Tad's colleague who doesn't like manipulatives. Is blaming the > the wrong cause. It isn't the manipulative; it's the > education. I love them. And, I use the appropriately, in part > due to my training, in part due to my research. > > Because manipulatives may be misused or not understood > by preservice teachers, > help them to understand the appropriate uses in their math ed > programs! The why. > > Children need to manipulate objects (I believefrom the Latin for > hands) not only in math but across the curriculum. > -- > > Cheers! > > Karen Dee > > Math History Lives! > > Karen Dee Michalowicz VQUEST Math Lead Teacher/Trainer > Upper School Mathematics Chair Virginia Quality Education > The Langley School in Sciences and Technology > 1411 Balls Hill Rd, McLean, VA > 22012 USA > 703-356-1920(w) E-Mail: email@example.com > Fax: (703) 790-9712 --or-- KarenDM@aol.com > > >
Math History Lives!
Karen Dee Michalowicz VQUEST Math Lead Teacher/Trainer Upper School Mathematics Chair Virginia Quality Education The Langley School in Sciences and Technology 1411 Balls Hill Rd, McLean, VA 22012 USA 703-356-1920(w) E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Fax: (703) 790-9712 --or-- KarenDM@aol.com