Q&A #817


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From: Gail (for Teacher2Teacher Service)
Date: Nov 18, 1998 at 19:42:19
Subject: Re: Manipulatives

The most important thing you should know about manipulatives is that they
can't be effective until the students are finished "playing" with them.  This
is true even for adults.  I teach fifth grade, but have taught above and
below that.  The first thing one needs to do is give students enough time to
become familiar with the items, so the novelty wears off. That is hard to do
these days, when we are all pushed to move quickly through material.  Here is
one way I get around it. I have my materials stored out where they are
easy to see and accessible, in clear plastic shoe boxes.  I encourage students
to "play" around with the materials whenever we have a bit of time. They
want to know what to do with them, and I tell them they may do what ever they
think they should. Of course, they already know the rules of the room, which
include care for materials, and courtesy toward each other.  By the time
I want to use the materials, they have already become familiar with them.

 -Gail, for the Teacher2Teacher service

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