I may have mentioned before that one of my challenges this year is space, well the lack of space. I have to be pretty creative when creating areas for reading, group work, using manipulatives, etc. Recently I realized I had not taken advantage of the fact that I have a refrigerator and metal cabinet in my classroom; a great space for magnetic tools. I decided to create magnetic tens strips and ones cubes for students to use if needed while working on their addition/subtraction/place value skills. I have also seen teachers use this type of space for magnetic letters to promote spelling skills. (Quick tool to use as a formative assessment tool as well)
As soon as I put the manipulatives up, there was no explanation needed. The students went right to them and began to use them. Whether they were working on math, lining up to go somewhere, or having snack/break, the students not only saw the tool but realized it’s value and jumped right in.
A simple idea I know, but providing tools around the classroom for students to access on their own increases their independence and ability to help themselves.