Monday, April 23, 2012

How to Use Effective Manipulatives for Student Achievement

Student Achievement Best Practices

By Tanya Villacis, 3rd Grade Teacher

Save your seat today for Conscious Teaching's FREE Webinar on April 25! 

This teacher's student achievement best practices includes effective manipulatives.It’s so easy to get caught up in grades and standardized testing when you’re a teacher. They are detrimental to development in the classroom for they serve as baselines and checkpoints; however, that’s not what makes a classroom a truly enjoyable place to be. Those data stipulations and necessities are my responsibility to burden and bear; not my students’. I maintain focus on student achievement by ensuring that my lessons and daily activities are engaging and relatable to my 3rd graders. I aim to keep learning fun, hands on, and intriguing. My personal goal is to never teach a lesson the same exact way as I did the years prior. My student development correlates to how connected my students are to the lesson being taught.

The core of my teaching is centered on technology. 80% of the activities we do in class require the use of my interactive whiteboard. With my Mimio I can involve my students in the development of the lesson. Rather than being strictly observers of the lesson, they are applying and enhancing the information being presented with personal input and student application.

Hands on lessons are my favorite approach to teaching, especially in math. Recently, my students and I were working on perimeter. Perimeter is a fairly simple concept for students to understand, but when you give them a polygon on grid paper and ask them to count the units, things often get perplexing. As an educator I’m always looking for ways to better student understanding and ensure mastery. I turned to the trusty contributors of Pinterest and found a great idea! Someone pinned a picture which showed students using Cheeze-Its for counting perimeter. What a novel idea! I was only disappointed in the notion that I didn’t think of this before.

This teacher's student achievement best practices includes effective manipulatives.The following day, I put the idea to the test and my students are tough critics. My students and I used the edible manipulatives to practice the skill. They were so enthralled and committed to the lesson from start to finish! At the end, one of my little darlings came to me and said, “Oh, Ms. V. I won’t be afraid to take the perimeter test or if I see a question on the FCAT (A standardized test we take in Florida), I will know exactly what to do!” She was so sincere in her statement, which gave me goose bumps. To know that I relieved some of her fears and apprehensions on a specific skill reminded me why I selected this profession. There is no better reminder to focus on student development than watching the “AH HA, light bulb” moments of your little kiddos.

I have been teaching 3rd grade for 2 ½ years. When I’m not planning, cutting out center activities, and grading papers, I enjoy going to the theater, reading, and spending time with family and friends.

No comments:

Post a Comment