Mr. Jim Franklin, an elementary special education teacher at Elm Street Elementary School in Rome Georgia, has spent the last ten months establishing a new company, Slide-A-Round Math Manipulatives, LLC, and working to manufacture the products he created and designed to help the students in his own classroom face the challenges of ever-increasing rigor with national math standards (CCGPS).
To provide a little background, at the beginning of the 2011-2012 school year, Mr. Franklin’s assistant special education director along with a math coordinator from a local college, requested to observe his 4th grade math inclusion class. The students were working with math standards involving the abstract concept of rounding numbers. When he began to search for new strategies/interventions that had been successfully implemented by other teachers involving the concept of rounding numbers, he was somewhat surprised with the lack of options. He saw only dry erase markers and boards, blocks, paper and pencil, and number lines up to 100; the numbers his students were using were greater than 100. Although all four options have been used for years with some success, Jim wanted math manipulatives that could make an immediate impact on his students’ educational performance.
At this point, incorporating movable, interchangeable slides, he created a number line system that helps students visually round whole numbers up to 10,000,000. Student responses and achievement were both encouraging and immediate. When Jim began to show the concept and manipulatives to his colleagues, the reaction was overwhelmingly positive. Teachers began to ask him to create manipulatives to address a variety of other math standards that were difficult concepts for their students to grasp. Due to their requests, he also developed manipulatives for them that involve weight, elapsed time, money, decimals, and fractions.
As with any truly powerful teaching tool, the ideas continue to expand and grow based on student need. Collaborating with a variety of stake holders – teachers, students, administrators, parents, specialists, and therapists, Mr. Franklin has added a visually-impaired (24-inch) version of his student version and is also currently consulting with American Printinghouse for the Blind to convert the Teachers’ Aid (32-inch) to Braille. When you visit his website www.slidearoundmath.com, you will be able to view images of all of his current products as well as follow his blog which details updated information about meetings, conferences, and new product releases.
Jim will be an exhibitor at the 2012 NCTM Conference in Dallas, TX this October 10-12th and will also present at the 2012 ACTM in Montgomery, AL on November 2th.