Slide-A-Round Teacher's Aid

I am a special education teacher at Elm Street Elementary School in Rome, Georgia. At the beginning of the 2011-2012 school year, my assistant special education director asked to observe my 4th grade math inclusion class with a math coordinator from a local college. I welcomed the upcoming visit but wondered if any new strategies/interventions had been successfully implemented by other teachers with the concept of rounding whole numbers. I asked other math teachers in my school and searched for ideas on the Internet. Honestly, there were not a whole lot of options. I only saw blocks, dry erase markers and boards, and number lines. Other than those options, paper and pencil were the last resort. The last thing I wanted my visitors to observe were towers being built out of blocks or off-task drawings on dry erase boards. I could not use a number line in my lesson because the longest one available only goes to 100; we were working with numbers greater than 100. Although all four options have been used for years and have had some success, I wanted math manipulatives that could make an immediate impact on educational performance and not be considered a “toy” by my students. Then, I had an idea…


32" Teacher's Aid/ Low Vision Fractions

32″ Teacher’s Aid/ Low Vision Fractions

Incorporating movable, interchangeable slides, I have created a number line system that can round whole numbers up to 10,000,000. It can round numbers to the nearest 10, 100, 1,000, 10,000, 100,000 and 1,000,000. When I began to show this concept to my colleagues, the response was overwhelmingly positive! Teachers began to ask me to help create manipulatives to address other mathematical standards as well. Therefore, I have also developed manipulatives that involve weight, elapsed time, decimals/money and fractions. During this process, I have consulted with math teachers and specialists, administrators, parents, and students from several different schools and school systems. I have also consulted with an occupational therapist, a hearing specialist, and vision-impaired specialist. Of all of the stakeholders with whom I have worked throughout the initial part of the developmental process, I most value the student input. After all, they are the ones who will use these manipulatives as a vital part of their classroom instruction.