Wednesday, October 1, 2008

First Grade Virtual Manipulatives on the Smart Board

This evening we just had a great skype chat on Using the SmartBoard in the standards-based classroom. The focus was on what was working well and we talked about engagement, math, and literacy. The consensus was that there was a need for more training or refresher courses. Some ideas where bandied about regarding students teaching other students or creating short training sessions in peer to peer learning. I like the idea and I'm going to share some screen capture tips in one of my subsequent postings. Much of the focus was on math and so I'd like to show a short clip of some place value work we did this week using the National Library of Virtual Manipulatives at

Specifically we are using base blocks to represent place value. This address the Grade Level Essential Target of 1.2C: c) Uses objects to show meanings of = ,<, >, from 0 to 100. e) Uses multiple models to develop initial understanding of place value of ones and tens (base ten blocks, abacus, computer, manips). This is a great place to differentiate because while all first graders need to represent up to 100, many of my students can use blocks to show numbers in the thousands. (Please note this website is available in Spanish as well) What I like about the base blocks virtual manipulatives is that they are easy to move around, you get immediate corrective feedback from the number counter, and it is a fast way to demonstrate mastery of a difficult concept.
Here is a short video of my class doing some base block exercises. In the first two segments I am filming but for most of the class work my students film everything and do all the documenting with the digital cameras. Each week I assign a class photographer who take all the pictures and videos. They are filming the third segment. As you can see, it is a bit shaky (Note to self "Get tripod"). Mildly reminiscent of the Blair Witch Project.

1 comment:

Dave Tarwater said...

Thanks, Mr. Fisher, your students are amazing and so are you. I love the Library of VM, I purchased the CD version for $40, has a few more features than the free online activities.