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How much freedom should a teacher allow when using manipulatives? I find that my students use the pattern blocks, unifix cubes and counters more for dramatic play, mixing up pieces moreso than the intended use of counting, sorting or connecting to them. They are using great imagination and language, but where do you draw the line? Play becomes very messy and overwhelming many times, and clean up is more difficult. These are pre-k students, so we're talking in simple terms and I'm just hoping to help them focus effectively without imposing on personal freedom.
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