Note: Although I was given access to the site in exchange for writing a review there was not additional compensation involved and, as always, all opinions expressed our my own.
If you remember from this post, I am working on teaching math better and more effectively this year. One of the main things I have been trying is to use manipulatives to introduce a topic and to help students with their conceptual understanding. I have been to a few workshops over the years on using manipulatives and I always find myself completely enthralled and amazed in the moment and then the second I go to plan my lessons I feel like I don’t remember anything at all! But now there is “Educating Now” a new website by Nikki Lineham. She is an amazing math educator in our district and I have been fortunate enough to attend two workshops with her in the past. This new website is a great resource for teachers and I honestly feel it will be one of the biggest factors in my growth as a math teacher.
What does it offer?
Educating Now includes videos and lesson plans for math instruction in grades four to eight. The best feature of the site is the videos for using manipulatives in class. The videos are organized into topics and walk you through the basics of a lesson. I found the instructions to be very clear and seeing the video before teaching the lesson was very helpful for me. Along with each video is a lesson plan that gives you something to refer to while teaching and ideas for reflections and lesson extensions.
How do I use it?
For math so far we have been working with place value and operations with decimals. I have watched the videos and practiced using the manipulatives the day before. In class we go through the lesson with manipulatives and use lots of examples to really reinforce the concept and the language. After this lesson, I focus on the transfer of working with manipulatives to the pen and paper work before getting to some practice work to reinforce the topic. Although I am definitely still in the learning phase myself I am very impressed by how well this system has been working for our class. The manipulatives are enough of a hands on activity that students who already “get it” are still very engaged and thinking in a different way.
Why do I recommend it?
This is the only site I have come across that offers exactly what I need to teach math with manipulatives. It’s like getting a quick refresher on all those math workshops I have been too before I teach a lesson. Manipulatives are the number one way I have found to increase my effectiveness as a math teacher. Students really seem to “get it” when you use the hands on side to math. The other thing that I love about Nikki Lineham is that she consistently uses the language that kids need to hear in her videos and workshops so that when I am in class and I’m about to say “3 times 4” a little something clicks in my brain and I remember to say “3 groups of 4.” When it comes to teaching math effectively I am astounded by the difference using proper math language makes.
And on that note, I’m off to the BC Math Teachers conference this Friday and can’t wait to share with you more about what I learn on my math teaching journey!
Do you use manipulatives to teach math?
What are your tips and tricks to share with us?