Moving Manipulatives with Cafeteria Trays

Sherwood, Oregon, teacher Maggie Englund writes in with a fabulous idea for moving manipulatives:

I frequently use cafeteria trays during whole group lessons that involve manipulatives. Students do their work on the trays, whether building arrays, sorting objects, or creating models of regrouping, as shown in the pictures attached. When students share their work, they can bring their trays up to the document camera to display and talk about their thinking.  The blue trays are a little dark, but it helps to turn off some of the lights in the room when displaying them under the camera. I also use the trays for any work places that involve using small objects to help reduce loss. We recently used the trays while students were playing "Handfuls of Treasure" from Work Place 8, 2nd Grade, to help keep the glass globs from escaping to the floor.

Thank you, Maggie, for such a helpful tip!

Do you have a great idea? Please send it in!


I also found that cookie sheets are great to use for kids to bring up their examples, especially having the lip on them.

A stiff piece of cardboard or a thin cardboard box (like page protectors come in) also work well.

 What a great idea, Maggie.  Thanks for sharing!