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Tool: Managing manipulatives

Manipulatives are an important part of modern mathematics teaching, but storing and handling them can be a problem. You can use this tool to discuss with your mentor, mentee or a colleague how to plan for manipulative use:

Developing ideas for managing manipulatives


 

Some possibilities

Ideas from the mentor

Ideas from the new teacher

How can I handle storage?

* Clear plastic bags
* Totes on bookshelves or student tables
* Bags clothes-pinned to string or ribbon
* Closet organizers, such as back-of-door shoe holders

 

 

How might I handle distribution?

* One student from each table
* Students get supplies when needed
* Students keep numbered supplies in their desks
* Pre-sorted bags for each table

 

 

How do I introduce materials?

* Free-play
* Guided exploration
* Easy task
* Modeling

 

 

How do I reduce noise?

*Rubber shelf liners for work spaces
* Make foam or paper versions
* Model quiet voices

 

 

What do I do about inappropriate behavior?

*Introduce and model rules with materials
* Have an alternative pencil-and-paper activity and remove materials