Manipulatives are crucial when students are combining hands-on skills physical manipulation and internal automatic skills. I love manipulatives and highly recommend using them at every point in time.
These 3 manipulatives should be at the forefront of your early classroom.
Manipulatives: Magnetic letters
I have an obsession with magnetic letters. I can’t help but buy them at garage sales and thrift stores and then give them to teachers.
I love big ones and fat ones. I have small ones.
I have uppercase and lowercase.
I have magnet letters shaped like the letters and some printed on squares.
I love them all.
How do you use them? Here’s a quick list for me.
You can also check out my Magnetic Letters blog post.
- Students can make their names.
- Students can make words.
- Students can sort by shape (tall, short, and hanging).
- Students can sort by consonants and vowels.
- Students can sort by uppercase and lowercase.
- Students can practice letter order.
- Students can create word chains.
- Students can use magnetic letters in centers.
- What else?
manipulatives: Elkonin boxes
Students using Elkonin boxes are matching sound to symbol.
Students should be using these boxes when segmenting and blending words.
Elkonin boxes help students orthographically match letters to sound and imprint those words for automaticity.
Elkonin boxes are a fantastic help with writing.
As students are writing words, they can use Elkonin boxes when stretching and identifying phonemes.
Students are again using the manipulatives to have a physical movement to match with an auditory process.
The picture shows plain boxes, seasonal boxes and themed boxes. It doesn’t really matter what the boxes look like…it’s about using them.
Manipulatives: Dry Erase Makers and Boards
I love dry erase boards.
I use them for whole group, small group, intervention groups, and independent centers.
BUT, dry erase markers and boards need a routine and specific expectations.
At the beginning of school, we have expectations.
Always use dry erase to write words, not color.
We use dry erase markers carefully and we practice not crushing the end of it.
We also practice hearing the “click” when the cap is on to avoid the marker drying out.
I actually have a dry erase center for independent practice.
Students can practice writing names, words, and sentences.
My Favorite Manipulatives
That’s my list. What would you add?