Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Math Manipulatives For All!

The summer is so fast approaching and my time with my third and fourth graders is dwindling. It is so incredible to me that my first full year of teaching has already come and gone. Where has time gone?! I feel like just yesterday I was walking into the school, nervous for my first day, and now I am beginning to wrap up our year. I have learned so much this year and my 26 little ones have taught me some of the most valuable lessons of my life.

I have decided to continue my teaching throughout the summer with a summer tutoring program (more on that later) but for now I have begun to create a wealth of math manipulatives for my collection!

I had to wrap up my lesson on time and measurement. My friends had a hard time with clock reading. For third grade, it is something that my students struggle with. I created a real clock to help them. So often my kiddos come up to me and ask, "how much longer until we go to special?" I always point to my labeled clock behind my desk and say, "You tell me!" 

The problem with this clock is in order to reach it, I have to scale my heating vent to reach it. Not exactly ideal for math group teaching. I ventured my way to Target and purchased a clock! $4.99 friends! I printed off labels, got out my hot glue gun, and went to work! I put some string on the back and I hang the clock on my whiteboard so that the students can actually get up and touch it, see it divided into quarter hours, count elapsed time one, and all that good stuff! It has worked wonderfully and its a great edition to my math materials!

(Excuse the silly background of this picture)

While my third graders were working on time, fourth graders were working on fractions! We have been using our kidney shaped table a lot lately for math groups and I am loving the small group atmosphere it adds to my classroom. It really allows me to work one-on-one with my kiddos and see who needs some extra help and who gets it. 

I recently purchased a large magnetic whiteboard and easel to put behind my table. Eventually, I plan to mount the board onto the wall, but for now this works perfectly. Buying a magnetic whiteboard meant that i needed some magnetic math materials! I searched on Amazon but none of the materials were exactly what I had envisioned. I decided to create some of my own.

For this project, I downloaded some fraction circle clipart and copied it onto heavy neon card stock. I bought some magnets, brought out my hot glue-gun, plugged in my laminator (*ahem* best purchase of my entire life) and VOILA! 

These can be used in so many ways. I taught improper fractions, decimal relationships, mixed numbers, and I even threw a few up on the board for a mini quiz the next day. The kids love them!

I also created these lovely little things as a very necessary edition to my classroom. On a recent trip to  a teacher store I found the other version of these and was disappointed with the price. I decided to do my own spin on them.

During the testing season, my friends really need their own little workspace. They surprised me with how much they love these things! They beg to use an "office"!

All this project takes is two file folders, double sided tape, and a laminator. I decided to spice mine up a bit with washi tape and my Circuit machine. I am in love with the result. 

I picked up the container on sale at Target and threw on a cute chevron label!

So, that about sums up my month of creations. I will be so sad to see this year go. I am so lucky to be doing something I love so very much. I am reminded everyday why I love what I do, I started my week off with a little third grader at my door this morning, 

"I picked these from my garden for you!"

 Roots attached and all, she held up the most beautiful bouquet of disheveled flowers I have ever seen. My heart melted. I went inside only to find that the only container I had was my math measuring cups. I love this picture, I love my students, I love my job.


  1. Hi Melissa, I love the fraction magnets that you made and would love to make a set. Do you have a download available? Thanks for the idea!

  2. Do you have a download available for the fraction magnets?

    1. Just search Fraction templates on google> click on images> you will find numerous templates. Get their printouts on colour pages A4 size. Get them laminated and paste magnets on their back. Easy :)