I'm amazed by what a teacher can learn simply by watching first graders work with manipulatives. I've learned about their understanding of shapes, physics, patterns, cooperation, and cleaning up. At the same time, they've been having an absolute blast. It will be an effort of mine to ensure that they have some time for exploring with various manipulatives throughout the entire year. I don't want them to lose the joy and the free learning that is happening in these pictures.