With surprise and pleasure I have met a manufacturer/publisher/teacher trainer of educational materials and services that presented to my class of pre-service teachers. Guy Foresman from Think It By Hand presented twice to my Theory and Practice in Mathematics Education class at Cal Poly Pomona.
His presentation of lessons and strategies had my students engaged in K-12 content utilizing fraction pieces, base ten blocks, algebra tiles, and angle sectors. His activities were presented in ways that supported English Learners with specifics of how he differentiated for the language proficiency levels. This is an area that numerous teachers struggle with.
Mr. Foresman also presented lessons where he showed how to scaffold the material from special education students' needs through GATE students' needs. After he presented a concept, he would engage the participants in identifying what met the needs of the far below basic student, and what met the needs of and challenged the gifted student within this same activity.
I strongly recommend districts to see what Guy Foresman at Think It By Hand has to offer. His presentations will teach teachers the effective ways to engage students in learning mathematics in order to increase student achievement at all levels.
You will find Mr. Foresman to be a very useful professional development trainer at your school and district as well as how the Think It By Hand materials are used to address the learning needs and styles of a broad range of students.
California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, Teacher Education Faculty
Thank you for your presentation of Think It By Hand math (arithmetic, fractions, base ten, algebra and geometry) to the Professional Advocates For Gifted, Los Angeles county coordinators. You truly illustrated the difference in knowing the procedures and understanding the concepts. Your skillful kinesthetic illustrations of the concepts caused me to make a quantum leap back in time to reflect how I was taught. Indeed, most students are taught as I was, even today. Therefore, moving into algebra and algebra II becomes diffucult and incomprehensible to most students.
Your multiple experiences as a student learner, a teacher in special education and a teacher in gifted and talented education are reflected in the Think Iy By Hand program. I am greatly impressed with the program as it pinpoints a weak area in the math background for most students and adults. The connections between procedure and concepts are an invaluable lesson for our students, teachers and parents. I think that you having solved a learning conundrum.
Sheila H. Smith, District Coordinator
To Whom It May Concern:
It is my sincere pleasure to write a letter of recommendation for Mr. Foresman and the Think It By Hand materials. As a former math teacher, I was first impressed with Mr. Foresman's materials and ideas when I met him in 1999 at a National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Conference. I stopped by his booth and was introduced to the classroom manipulatives for math. In the area of K-12 math, our district believes that it is critically important to provide students with insight into the conceptual content of math along with procedural/computational skills. I knew I wanted our teachers to be trained in the use of these materials.
Especially nice, is the fact that when Mr. Foresman trains teachers in the use of the Think It By Hand math manipulatives, he also deepens the teacher's knowledge in the specific math concept being modeled. Mr. Foresman's professional development provides teachers with a hands-on experience that is insightful, engaging, and comprehensive. Teachers see and experience how the Think It By Hand manipulative sets are used to connect the student's visual, tactile, and kinesthetic abilities to their learning of abstract concepts and processes in K-12 math.
We have had Mr. Foresman train in the area of mathematics at the secondary level in algebra and geometry; the intermediate level, primarily in pre-algebra skills; and at the primary level in basic operations and munber sense. He was well received by participants and evaluations are always positive.
Mr. Foresman was also a featured presenter at our Kindergarten Summer Academy where we had over 90 kindergarten teachers receive training in the use of math manipulatives and the language arts sets. He also presented at our Connecting Learning and Standards K-2 Summer Institute. Should you visit any of our 31 elementary schools, you will see the Think It By Hand materials in the majority of the primary classrooms. The teachers love the materials as they provide the tools for students to connect their "seeing and doing" with their thinking.
I am very happy that I happened onto Think It By Hand eight years ago. It has served to be very beneficial for the students of Paradise Valley. Please feel free to contact me should you have any questions.
Julie Salley, M.Ed., NBCT
Director of Professional Development
Paradise Valley Unified School District
To Whom It May Concern:
Several years ago, while a a Conference for the Advancement of Mathematics Teachers, I was introduced to Think It By Hand for the first time. As a secondary math specialist, I saw great possibilities for the manipulatives in the secondary mathematics classroom.
Since that time, I have used the Algebra set in workshops from grades 7 through Algebra II. Teachers have always been very receptive and wanted information to purchase sets for their own classrooms. On follow-up observations in teacher classrooms, I have observed teachers using the product and have seen the interaction it has created with the students. Students have shown positive results in conceptual understanding with the help of the manipulatives. Teachers have even extended uses with the manipulatives over and above those used in the original workshops. I have had several requests to go out to districts and hold trainings on the use of the Think It By Hand manipulatives.
Because of the success at the secondary level, the elementary specialist has also started using the elementary manipulatives in her workshops with similar results. All the consultants using the manipulatives believe that they give students the best means of connecting their doing and seeing with their thinking. All of us find that the Think It By Hand manipulatives enable teachers to help students make clear and lasting connections between the conceptual understanding and computational procedures.
The Think It By Hand manipulatives have had a positive impact on the teachers and students in our region. I thank the company for their products and the concern they have for the education of our students in the concepts of mathematics.
Secondary Math Specialist
Education Service Center, Region 2
Dear Think It By Hand:
Please feel free to share my thoughts (below) on your Algebra Alive tiles with any persons interested in them.
Making the transition from concrete to abstract is a crucial step in the study of many areas of mathematics. At the same time, it is an area in which many teachers are at a loss to find effective ways of helping their students make this transition.
I have found Algebra Tiles to be an extremely useful, easy-to-use, and effective tool to help teachers help their students to bridge the gap between arithmetic (a concrete, easily demonstrated topic) and algebra (a more abstract topic). The use of tiles to demonstrate arithmetic operations for algebraic expressions helps students make connections between procedures and concepts, thus strengthening both. Moreover, the ability to manipulate tiles rather than commit their thoughts to paper helps many of our less adventurous students try out a variety of ideas instead of sitting in front of a blank sheet of paper awaiting instructions. This flexibility supports a problem-solving approach to the material.
At CSU San Bernardino and the Inland Counties Mathematics Project, many of us have for years used the Algebra Tiles produced by Think It By Hand very successfully. The Algebra Alive tiles are an excellent tool in teaching a balanced mathematics program.
Algebra Tiles support teachers in addressing students with a variety of learning styles. Algebra Tiles are an invaluable aid to teachers in meeting the needs of visual and/or kinesthetic learners. For the visual learners, the different shapes and colors clarify the difference between numbers and variables, and the use of different shaped tiles for numbers and for unknowns to manipulate algebraic expressions helps eliminate mistakes such as combining unlike terms. For the kinesthetic learners, the ability to move the tiles around as the student thinks about the algebraic manipulation helps to internalize an understanding of the meaning of the rules.
Dr. Davida Fischman
Director of the Center for Enhancement of Mathematics
Coordinator, Master of Arts in Teaching Mathematic
I have been using your algebra tiles in my classroom for the last two years. They are truly fantastic! Since I teach high school, the tiles designed for the students are big enough for my students' "large" male hands. Because of thier size and the board to place then on in the front of the room, my students like coming up and showing how problems can be solved with the algebra tiles. When I am absent, I always come back and find that a student has used the tiles on my board to create another math problem. High school students really like them.
Using these algebra tiles to help my students in all my classes from Algebra I through Pre-Calculus has helped me teach and helped them learn through a great visual method such topics in mathematics as combining like terms, multiplying binomials, factoring, solving linear equations, solving systems of equations, dividing polynomials, and completing the square. They are the one manipulative that I use all year long.
I also do many demonstrations for teachers using the Algebra Alive tiles. The tiles enhance my presentation greatly. Being able to use the tiles on the presentation board gives me the opportunity to also write things on the overhead explaining how I have my students set up the problems. I have taken the Algebra Alive Presentation set and my student Desk Top Tiles sets to conduct workshops in Idaho, Texas, as well as California. Thanks so much for your development of this great classroom tool!
Glenda A. Wilkins
High School Math Teacher & Teacher Trainer
Dear Mr. Foresman:
Thank you for coming to visit Posidon School today. We were most impressed and enthused by your math program. Feedback from the staff was so positive! I can attribute this to your ease with the concepts and the materials being presented.
As a non-profit school, we are constantly looking for new and interesting ways to assist our teaching staff. It was so kind of you to lend us your time and expertise.
We will certainly spread the word about Think It By Hand. Thank you for making yourself so available to us. We look forward to working with you in the future.
Penny Spector, Principal
Poseidon School, CA
Dear Mr. Foresman:
Thank you for presenting at our Collaboration Fair. We appreciate the valuable insights and strategies you gave our participants related to your Think It By Hand program and its implementation. Your knowledge and expertise are clearly evident.
Your presentations were outstanding! Comments from attendees were very positive and appreciative. Most specifically, they valued the examples of how the Think It By Hand materials and strategies can be implemented to support secondary math instruction, particularly algebra. This will assists teachers in their efforts to effectively differentiate their instructional practices to support the needs of all students.
Sharyn Miller, Administrator, Secondary
Los Angeles Unified School District
To Whom It May Concern:
Our district has been exposed to the Think It By Hand math materials. These materials, hands-on and interactive, are a welcome addition to the tools available to our teachers in the presentation of math lessons from the most simple to very sophisticated.
They are designed to give students an engaging means to understand both the procedural and conceptual aspects of mathematics from arithmetic, to algebra, to geometry. For many students, math becomes a subject for the memorization of procedures alone. The Think It By Hand materials balance this landscape of learning to include the development of conceptual skills. This is of great benefit to both the talented student as well as the struggling student. Both receive an important but frequently missing key that opens a much more vast and exciting understanding of mathematics.
These materials also provide our teachers with the ability to clearly and easily model interactive lessons. The premis of the Think It By Hand materials is that students need to link their thinking to a tactile and visual experience in order to internalize and generalize mathematic relationships.
This program has proved to be a successful method welcomed by our teachers.
BTSA/GATE/College Programs, LAUSD
"We have experienced many successes in our classrooms with the Think It By Hand products...Students are coming to class calling 'dibs' on who will get to use the Presentation Set to show their class assignments...Students that normally are not interested are anxiously awaiting their turn."
"Students that are kinesthetic learners are benefiting greatly from the materials...I would again like to complement Think It By Hand on the great products they have developed and I am looking forward to using their upcoming additions to the sets we already have."
Kristin Tribett, Secondary Math Teacher
Lyford High School, TX
"I use the Think It By Hand materials in the classroom and love them, but most importantly, the students REALLY LEARN through them...I coordinate a Gifted Program in the summer at UC Irvine and our Math teachers refuse to teach without the materials."
Belinda Alcazar, ELD Coach
Coachella Valley Unified School District
"I have been impressed with the math manipulatives from Think It By Hand for several years. I have seen them over the years demonstrated at various math workshops. When the opportunity was afforded me to purchase my own classroom set of Algebra Alive and Base Ten Touch Tiles, I was quick to submit the order...The students really enjoy working with the tiles...For some students, being able to see and touch the expressions provides comprehension that has previously alluded them."
Linda D. Louton, High School Math Teacher
Vallejo High School, CA
"I have shared my Think It By Hand materials with other teachers. You are a hit here at Ringgold Elementary!"
Kenda Jones, Elementary School Teacher
Ringgold Elementary, TN
"I have the Algebra Alive Presentation set and have been using it with seniors who need to pass the high school exit exam. They love it and more importantly, they are finally 'getting' the math. Thanks for a great product."
Nitza Peraza, High School Math Teacher
West Covina USD, CA
"Guy Foresman impressed me with his desire to reach students who think about math differently and his creativity in finding ways to do that...If you weren't able to attend, I encourage you to check out the website www.thinkitbyhand.com
Sue Fountain, Secondary Math Teacher
Greater Louisville Council of Teachers of Mathematics
"It's people like you who really make a difference for students with special needs. Many of these students need to 'touch the concepts' and your materials allow them to do just that!"
Joan Sanders, Professor of Teacher Education
Saint Mary's College, CA
"I got my set today and the kids just love it! Now I can't get them to do their other school work!!!!"
Lorin Taylor, Elementary School Teacher
"Students want to use the board and numbers to show off their new found skills. Your product is wonderful!"
Rebecca Smith, Elementary School Teacher
Long Beach USD
"My students compete to get to be the demonstrator."
Marcia Sargent, Elementary School Teacher
Mission Viejo USD