Do you know how you would answer this teacher interview question: What types of math manipulatives do you use? How do they impact your classroom?
It is important that the response you give to the job interview question is truthful, relevant to the position, and shows value to the school district. The following could be a possible answer or it may provide some ideas for you to tailor your response:
I use a wide variety of both concrete math manipulatives and virtual manipulatives in my mathematics classroom. I continuously strive to ensure math is relevant to my students to engage the learner and help them achieve academic success.
The manipulatives include attribute blocks, geometric shapes of different colors and sizes that may be used in classification or patterning tasks; plastic counting cubes for solving simple addition and subtraction equations; base ten blocks for representing and performing operations on multi-digit numbers, such as 321 + 104; and fraction pieces, which can be used to represent different fractional concepts and relationships.
Math manipulatives are extremely effective in developing conceptual understanding of math. For example, an understanding of basic number concepts, such as being able accurately to count objects, should precede learning written numerals; an understanding of the meaning of multiplication should precede memorizing multiplication tables. Focused assessments should distinguish whether children are struggling with concepts or with other math skills, such as automatic recall of facts.
Conceptual understanding can be developed through the use of visual or pictorial representations as well as through concrete manipulatives. Computer-based “virtual” math manipulatives are also increasingly helpful.
Struggling students, including those with learning disabilities, are consistently found to benefit from instruction that is explicit and systematic. Important math concepts and skills should be directly and clearly taught; the sequence of instruction should emphasize the learning of prerequisite skills before higher-level skills. and sufficient opportunities for practice are needed for children to develop automaticity with new skills.
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