My students need basic math manipulatives like money, clocks, and cubes to access the curriculum. The best way to learn is through play and manipulatives make learning fun.
Paper and pencil is not cutting it. My students need to use their fingers, objects, tools, and manipulatives in order to figure out math problems. MY problem is, I don't have manipulatives. My 1st grade special education students NEED manipulatives.
My classroom consists of children with various exceptionalities.
I teach first grade special education in a school with moderate poverty. Our school does not get as much funding as the high poverty schools, so we actually need more resources due to recent budget cuts. Some of my students need help with their motor skills and manipulatives are dual purpose; they help with math work and they help with motor skills. Other students need to physically do the math to arrive at an answer. Some of my students are movers and like to fiddle with things and manipulatives are the answer for the fiddlers. These manipulatives are most important for my students who cannot manipulate a pencil. With these tactile manipulatives, my students can show their answer even if they cannot write it. My classroom consists of children with mild and moderate disabilities ranging from Down Syndrome and Autism to Specific Learning Disabilities.
A variety of manipulatives are needed because the same "tools" do not work for all students. I need counting links, snap cubes, rulers, dice, clocks, money, and counters. Just writing 3+4 does not help my students understand that it equals 7. Moving 3 cubes or connecting 4 counting links really helps them visualize what 3+4 means. Then there are the students who like to play well, that's all the students! Playing and learning make the lessons stick. Manipulatives help guide children's learning while they are playing. Many math problems seem abstract to my students and the manipulatives bring the abstract into something tactile, something they can feel, touch, and move. Giving a child something concrete to move, count, and group also helps visual learners. Some students might respond to addition with counting links, others respond to snap cubes or counters. With the use of these manipulatives, my students will learn how to add and subtract, learn fractions, time, and patterns.
This project is so important because I have special needs students that need greater methods to learn the curriculum.
These manipulatives will make some of my students want to do math. My students that have difficulty writing and holding a pencil can still achieve the addition, subtraction, patterns, time, and fractions lessons by using these manipulatives.
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