Workshop Wednesday: Math Manipulatives - Ideas By Jivey: For the Classroom

Workshop Wednesday: Math Manipulatives

Happy Wednesday, friends!

First off, I want to say thank you for all your kind words and prayers after yesterday's post. I really debated on posting about it because I certainly wasn't looking for sympathy for ME (although I am sad), but wanted prayers for her and her family. I am overwhelmed by the response I got from you all- once again, you just prove that teacher bloggers are the BEST EVER. Kristin from Teach n' Tex had a great suggestion- we send out requests for cards for children at times, why not for a fellow teacher? I did let her know when I went to see her Tuesday night that I asked my blogging community to pray for her. It made her smile. And, who doesn't like to get mail?! So if you would like to send her a card with a positive word of encouragement, a prayer, or even just a thank you for touching so many lives, please comment below or email me ( and I will let you know where to send the mail. Thank you so very much, friends. It will mean so much to her to know there are friends all over the nation praying for her.
Ok, now for Workshop Wednesday! :o)
This week's topic: What are some ways that you use manipulatives in your room? You could share a lesson, a game, or even how you organize them in your room to keep them "on hand" but "not in the way!"

It is easy to "throw out" the manipulatives in the upper grades classrooms because they can be viewed as "baby." But, manipulatives are SO important for concrete understanding!!

First, I am going to share a lesson with you that uses base ten blocks.
Most teachers pull these out in the beginning of the year for place value- calling them ones, tens, hundreds... and unfortunately, kids attach those values to the base ten blocks forever. One of my math coaches mentioned once (and it stuck with me) that we have to move away from calling them ones, tens, and hundreds, because they can represent other things! We need to call them by their names: units, longs, and flats, and then associate the value we want at that time... so in the beginning of the year, "the units, which we are using to represent ones... or the longs, which we are using to represent tens..." I know it's more "work" to say all this out loud, but you'll know why after this lesson idea!
This lesson (and more like it) can be found in my Diving For Decimals Unit on TPT! :o)

I also love to have the kids use the snap cubes during multiplication to model arrays, as well as during my area and perimeter unit- they love "building" and I can easily see if they "get it" without working with each child individually or grading a worksheet. Win, win! :o)
Now it's your turn! Please grab the Workshop Wednesday button and link your post back to this post! (no store link-ups please) Don't forget to leave some love for two other link-ups! :o)


  1. Just used base ten blocks to introduce decimals today!! Moving on to hundredths on Friday! Thanks for sharing the lesson plan.

    Please send me the address of your dear friend.

  2. I've been using those to teach decimals as well...especially for the kids who don't get the place value! I use the 1,000 cube as the 'whole', the flat as tenths, the rods as hundredths and the units as really helped one of my confused kids.

    :) Kaitlyn
    Smiles and Sunshine

  3. I love that you guys have a math coach-I would LOVE that! Being in first grade I had mostly refer to them as ones, tens, hundreds every once in awhile putting in longs or flats (never units!) I simply didn't know-thanks for teaching me something new today! I will make sure to change my language so by the time my little ones get up to the older grades and start using decimals they aren't stuck in the mindset of ones, tens, and hundreds! As always, thanks for hosting! :)

    Learning to the Core

  4. Base 10 blocks are so important! I use them every year to help my ELLs demonstrate what they understand about decimals.


  5. I just found your blog through iTeach's giveaway. Excited to be your newest follower:)
    The Techie Teacher

  6. I love base ten blocks, but sadly don't have any this year. I love that they're useful even in 4th grade...Thanks for sharing!


  7. I love Base 10 blocks and was even able to snag a big crate of them from our give away pile at the beginning of the year!

    Please send me the address for your friend! I think it is a great idea to send her a card. :)

    Mrs. Laffin's Laughings

  8. I just taught a lesson this week on converting fractions to decimals, but in fifth grade. It was an introduction to dividing the numerator by the denominator. We used base ten blocks too. Great minds think alike!

    Eclectic Educating

  9. I love how you call the blocks by units, longs, and flats! That is SO true!! We have been working with decimals and some students still get confused when I hold up a "hundreds block" and say, "This is NOT one hundred. It represents ONE WHOLE!" huh?!?
    Fourth Grade Flipper


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