Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Worksheets Don't Build Dendrites, Chapter 7

Deanna from Mrs. Jump's Class is hosting Chapter 7 of the Worksheets Don't Build Dendrites book study.   Chapter 7 was about manipulatives, experiments, labs and models.  I'm late to the party on this one, but I thought it was a good chapter and wanted to record my thoughts.

I think kindergarten teachers as a whole love manipulatives.  Every activity is more fun with some type of fun seasonal/theme related manipulative.  I think kindergarten teachers are also good at making manipulatives out of any small object we can find!

My math shelf- not looking very organized at the moment.  There is usually a curtain hiding that!  These are my "year-round" materials.  Themed materials are stored in each theme's box.

Using jelly beans to practice math skills.

We are currently learning about shapes, which really lends itself to manipulatives.  My kiddos are loving our Learning Resources Dive Into Shapes set.  It makes them excited to visit the math center; that is a win in my book!

I think math is an area where I do a pretty good job incorporating manipulatives.  I was not good in math in school, and I think the hands-on experience would have helped.  I am also not very good at being able to "see" things.  I am HORRIBLE at tangrams, puzzles and building shapes.  Without directions using words AND diagrams I am generally a lost cause (you can imagine me with Ikea directions...).  Setting up my room takes me forever because I have to actually move all the furniture over and over again until I like it.  Being able to shift things around and play with it helps me.

This would be a struggle for me!
An area where I am not so good at using manipulatives in is reading.  I have multiple sets of magnetic letters, but I don't remember to use them.  I'm not sure why, they are cute and fun colors (usually a motivator for me), but they just don't get pulled out as much as I should.  I even have cute little magnetic boards (see below) but the letters still don't come out.  I've gotten better about playing games, which generally involve some type of manipulative, but this needs to be a goal.  More manipulatives in ELA!

I have the magnetic boards on the top/second shelf.  Found this picture on Kindergarten Korner.
Like math, science was "not my thing" in school. I didn't like lab day in chemistry- I was afraid I might break something, make it explode, etc.  I dreaded teaching science.  I'm sure it doesn't come as a surprise, the kiddos love science- especially hands on science.

This was last year when we tried the milk, food coloring and Dawn dish soap experiment.  
Making it "rain"
I would like to incorporate more STEM activities throughout the year and maybe involve parents or other volunteers to make this a more realistic idea.

Did you read others' thoughts on this chapter?  Be sure to head over to Mrs. Jumps class and check it out!


  1. I agree...I am strong with manipulatives in math but reading...not so much. I do use some in my small group for phonological awareness and to build sight words. If I ever become a classroom teacher I will need to think about how to add more. I do use buttons in writing to help some of kids count out words. That is helpful to them. Great review!! Thanks!

    1. I started some cleaning last week and uncovered some more LA manipulatives. I put them in a more convenient space where I will be more likely to use them. We'll see... :)

  2. I agree that it is much easier to incorporate manipulatives into math instruction than reading instruction. Most of the reading manipulatives I use are for their Work on Words centers. I should think outside the box on how to incorporate more! Oh... and I use fabric to hide my shelves, too! It's a lifesaver! :D

    Adventures of a Schoolmarm