In my classroom, about 66% of the students are English Language Learners. Our former principal required us to include the use of manipulatives in every math lesson in order to assist these students with understanding what we were saying and I agree! It's so easy to make math a hands on activity. You. Can. Use. Manipulatives. With. Every. Math. Lesson. No joke- every single one! Here are some ways I have used manipulatives to help my kindergartners learn with hands on math:
Easy, right? You can make patterns using ANYTHING! I have my kinders make them using manipulatives and then draw them in their math journals (or you could have them do it on that dreaded worksheet if needed I suppose).
When we are learning to count by 5's and 10's we play the 1's, 10's, 100's game from Everyday Math (I think that's where it's from... it's been too long since we actually used it...). The students actually use popsicle sticks to to do their counting and regrouping until the winner gets to 100! It's great and the students get to see the single sticks and trade them in for bundled sticks and actually see how they are counting! BOOM
Skip counting is hands on? What? We skip count using bundles of sticks, stacks of cubes, links, etc. It's so easy to include something concrete for the kids to count so they can actually see the idea behind it. Now, I couldn't find a picture of this BUT here is a picture of a skip counting race I do. Each kid at the table gets a couple cards so everyone is participating and they race against the other tables to put the skip counting cards in order.
Decomposing numbers is one of my favorite things to teach throughout the year in Kindergarten! We use cubes and tiles to help with this concept, along with playing Shake and Spill! Here is a very simple way to use any sort of counters and a popsicle stick to decompose:
Simply put the popsicle sticks in between the counters and write the matching equation or partners!
Of course we use stacks of cubes and graphing to compare numbers BUT why not play a fun game that requires students to be up and moving and guessing and comparing. Enter the game Monster Squeeze! Again, courtesy of Everyday Math. But here I have a GIANT floor model so the child in charge is up and moving around and most importantly- moving the monsters in a hands on way!
Not sure about this whole Hands On thing? Just give it a try. You will see how truly easy it is to work manipulatives in to EVERY lesson for EVERY subject! Happy Teaching!