This last week I rediscovered something that I initially loved and then tossed aside. My Cuisenaire rods. Incidentally, spell check shows me that's misspelled, but I know it's not. If you are unfamiliar with Cuisenaire rods they are math manipulatives of varying colors and lengths. Mine are plastic and interlock and have the measurements marked off, but some are wood and unmarked.
It's kind of personal preference what you get.
I bought these two years ago or so when we were doing Miquon math. Sweet Pea loved Miquon deeply- for a few weeks. Then the shine wore off and it was just too non-traditional for us. We dropped it, continued on with Singapore Primary Mathematics and all was well.
The Cuisenaire rods, so important for Miquon, were now something that the kids used to play with and that was about it.
This week, though, we moved on to double digit subtraction. We drew pictures. We played with the abacus. I drew more pictures. We talked. We talked some more.
It wasn't clicking which was strange because Sweet Pea KNEW place values and she knew her smaller math facts. Everyone was getting frustrated and confused.
In a moment of desperation I pulled the Cuisenaire rods back out and we modeled every problem in the textbook. Then every problem in the workbook. We did mental math sheets, then went back to worksheets I found online.
Eureka! It all made sense! All is now right in our mathy world once again.
I'd like to take this moment to thank the Cuisenaire rods. Thank you!