A variety of formats sparks the interest of the child and makes him or her feel comfortable through various levels of development. Cardstock materials, printed with black ink on colored cardstock or cover stock, are very popular with the children. They are appealing because they are colorful and because they come in many formats. Cardstock materials can be used over and over again, by either a single child or by different children. When organized in a classroom, resource center, or learning environment, it is easy for the child to access the materials independently.
Given the choice, children love the cardstock manipulatives. Moreover, children's ability to reason usually precedes their ability or inclination to write. Therefore concepts can be presented at an earlier age in more enjoyable formats. Manipulative cardstock is less threatening than written work. Incorrect answers can merely be rearranged; writing, erasing and correcting is much more frustrating.
Despite value of "hands-on material", the ultimate goal is to lead the child to abstraction. Taskcards, in either reusable cardstock or in the form of workpages printed from blackline masters, serve as the vehicle for that final stage of abstraction. Taskcards are designed to provide a variety of free-response applications for the concepts introduced through hands-on didactic material or cardstock manipulatives.
Worksheets with Cutouts
Full-page taskcards with accompanying cutouts. Good for younger children. Store each exercise in vinyl envelope or sheet protector. The child removes the cutouts from the envelope and superimposes them over "the empty space" next to the matching pictures. After the teacher has "checked" the exercise, the cutouts are slipped back into the large sheet protector. (For ease of handling, it is not necessary to remove the workpage from the plastic envelope if it can be seen easily from the outside).
(Counting, Golden Beads, Place Value, Problem Solving, Exchange/Rename, Time, Money, Geometry, Roman Numerals, Intervals)
Matching exercises permit introduction of concepts at an earlier age than possible with free response exercises. Students are very comfortable with the two and three-part matches, a manipulative "multiple-choice." When done abstractly, matching exercises are usually brief exercises of ten minutes or less.
Exercises can be repeated later in the year or subsequent years. By removing the second and/or third part of the matching exercise, the teachers can use as a free response exercise in which "answers" are recorded on paper and the "match" is used as a "check." Moreover, some exercises like Golden Beads and Place Value work beautifully in conjunction with concrete didactic apparatus; this approach is valuable in providing an organized series of independent tasks that are meaningful and easily accomplished by the child. Most matching exercises have blackline extension counterparts that are somewhat more abstract and more challenging.
Number Lines and Labels
(Hundred Line, Thousand Line, Fraction Lines, Decimal Lines)
Series of labels that can be used with included number lines or with Montessori chains. Each set has several sequenced exercises to give ample opportunities for needed practice. Blackline masters of labels are included in cardstock series for reproduction of lost pieces if needed. Blackline extensions are challenging.
(Order Blue, Pink, and Green; Order Fractions, Order Decimals, Order Reals)
Pages of cardstock, each printed with four sequences of six values (24 values per exercise). Each has a series of exercises that increase in difficulty. Of great value in the understanding of numeration. Blackline extensions available
Other cardstock manipulatives
(Missing Numbers, Sets, Inequalities)
"Fun" introduction to various concepts through cardstock cutouts that are manipulated. Loved by children.
Third and Half-Page Taskcards
(Numeration, More Numeration, Tens, Thousands, Mixed Practice)
In-depth application of concepts introduced through matching, number lines, sequencing, and problem solving. Use easier version early in the year as review of previous year's work. Use harder version later in the year to tie concepts together and to extend them to new applications. Most teachers use cardstock as a reusable, sequenced lab. Blackline workpages are identical and used when it is more practical for students to write answers on their own paper.
Full Page Taskcards
(Fraction Concepts, Estimation, Advanced Numeration, Fraction Operations, More Fraction Operations, Number Theory, More Advanced Numeration, Advanced Decimals)
Full-page applications for the third-eighth grade student. Great for introducing specific units as well as for cumulative review. Most teachers use cardstock as a reusable, sequenced lab. Blackline workpages are identical and used when it is more practical for students to write answers on their own paper.
Blackline masters for extensions and worksheets offer added options. Extensions are variations of matching, sequencing, and number-line exercises. Instead of manipulating small pieces, students write appropriate responses on their own paper. Worksheets are blackline masters of the same taskcards offered in the cardstock series. The blackline series are ideal sequels to the manipulative exercises. They are also valuable when individualized use of cardstock materials is not practical. They are used extensively for diagnostics, whole-class instruction, mastery checks, and homework. (*Note that the series Exchange, Rename, Sets, and Inequalities are based on manipultion of cards and, therefore, are not available as blackline workpages.)
Also available are support materials in the form of math facts, place value cards, addition and multiplication charts, fraction and decimal materials.