Saturday, July 20, 2013

Manipulatives, visuals and Other Tools

Powerful thoughts! 
 Teaching Student-Centered Mathematics:  Developmentally Appropriate Instruction for Grades 3-5
Authors:  John A Van de Walle, Karen S. Karp, LouAnn H. Lovin, and Jennifer M. Bay-Williams
  1. The manipulative is not the concept. A student must connect the relationship between the concrete model and how it supports the construction of their conceptual understanding.
  2. The most widespread misue of manipulatives occurs when teachers tell students to mimic what they do.  A rote procedure with a manipulative is still just that- a rote procedure, (Van de Walle, 25).
  3. A third misue of manipulatives occurs when teachers always tell students which manipulatives to use for a given problem.  It is important for students to be given the opportunity to choose their own representations to use when reasoning through a problem and communicating their ideas with others, (Van de Walle, 25).


  1. This is awesome Christy! Really enjoying everything in your blog! The third of these "thoughts" really has me thinking of how simple it would be to incorporate this method in our lessons. Providing our students with multiple manipulatives to choose from and having them figure which best suits their problem solving needs rather than "handing one" to them is genius! You are killing two birds with one stone, so to speak. They must solve the given Math problem, but also use real life problem solving skills to decide what the best "tool" to solve the problem would be. I love it! So simple to implement, but makes a world of a difference! I'm excited about implementing this! :D -Dana

  2. These three thoughts from Van de Walle's book were very powerful and key in the changes that we face this next school year. Even though are students are young, we must help grow their ability to self-reflect and use these reflections to drive their own learning.
    Thank you so much for commenting. I am working on defining specific goals that I have in mind for this blog and how to make collaboration among educators meaningful and time efficient, is at the top of the my list! We are each other's best resources!