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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