Cuisenaire Rods, Questions & Experiences

God's Creation From A to Z: A Complete Kindergarten Curriculum
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Cuisenaire Rods, Questions & Experiences

Unread post by Lucy »

Cuisenaire Rods - Are they scheduled?
kelmommy wrote:I'm new to MFWK and I just got my curriculum last week. I've been reading thru it all trying to get everything organized and planned.

I'm not seeing anywhere it says in the Lesson Plans to use the Math Blocks. It is something extra to do it or am I just missing it? Thanks
The deluxe package comes with a book, Cuisenaire Rods Alphabet Book, that you use the blocks with each week. You do a letter a week. This was just added this year so the change has not been made in the T.M. but you just follow the directions in the book. It is a great addition to the K math but is not essential.

You can order this book separately also. It helps to develop all kinds of math skills.

Otherwise, the blocks are to be used as you are teaching math concepts for early addition and subtraction. They are a visual help so that your child can see the concept and manipulate them to find the answer. They are also highly suggested to be used in MFW 1 and into 2nd grade math as well.
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Cuisenaire Rods & Alpha Book have been helpful

Unread post by Poohbee »


We're just finishing up K, and we did use the Cuisenaire Rods alphabet book with blocks. We used the book and blocks just one day a week.

First, my dd would build the letter in several different ways. I used the questions in the book to guide her. Then, I gave her the picture page for each letter, and she built those. Finally, I gave her some free building time with the blocks. We just did it as an oral exercise.

By the end of the year, I can see that the activity has really helped with her problem solving skills. I didn't do any direct teaching with the blocks, and I just occasionally used the questions in the book to guide her. Otherwise, she eventually discovered on her own that each Cuisenaire colored block has a different value, and she learned which value each block had. For example, she automatically knew that the blue block is 5 units long, etc.

Also, she has learned that if she has built part of a letter with two 10-blocks and she is asked to use four blocks to build the letter, now she needs to exchange each 10-block with two 5-blocks. I hope this makes sense.

I have a 2-year-old dd, as well, and building with the blocks was one activity that she could join in on. While my older dd worked with the Cuisenaire book, the younger one would just build with the blocks. They sat at the table and worked side-by-side. It was precious!

It is certainly not required, and it is not scheduled in the manual, but I would say that it is worth it to get the book and Rods. My dd considered it a fun time during school, and she definitely gained problem-solving skills while having "fun".
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Connecting rods vs. non-connecting rods

Unread post by cbollin »

kugoi wrote:Hey, I just saw Cuisenaire rods now have connecting ones with single units marked off. Wonder if MFW will be changing to them. Isn't that why they used to go with the Math Sense blocks?
I asked about this last fall. I remember being all excited about those because it sounded so nice on the website of the company that makes the rods. Emailed the info to MFW.

MFW told me that they bought them and tried them out just like they do with all products. The Cuisenaire connecting rods connect end-to-end. Because they connect end-to-end, they don't fit right with the alphabet book in the K deluxe package. So MFW wasn't going to switch ... at that time.

You never know.... things can change. Publishers can update those books. Who knows what will happen "one of these days"

Cuisenaire Rods & Alpha Book - How many pieces needed?

Unread post by cbollin »

mom2h wrote:Has anyone recently used the Cuisenaire Rods and Alphabet Book? I am trying to see if I need the 100+ piece rod set, or if one can successfully use the Alpha book with the 74-pc set? Just don't want more "small pieces" to clean up than I have to...

According to the MFW office staff, you need more white blocks to use the alphabet book than what is in the 74 piece set.

And from my personal experience, it was nice to have the extra ones in the set because my younger child wanted to have some pieces to play with as well.

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Cuisenaire rods & Alphabet book

Unread post by Daisy »

LOL! I wish I had bought more of those rods. Who would have thought my 2nd grader would want to do them also. Both of my children love that book & have lots of fun (even if they do argue over the rods). ;)
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Using Cuisenaire

Unread post by Mom2MnS »

momspeapods wrote:I was wondering when the best day to introduce the cuisenaire alphabet book would be?
Posted: Tue Sep 26, 2006 3:08 pm
Hi Jennifer :)
I introduced the cuisinaire rods on our light day. I try to do quite different things on that day (Weds for us). My dd really liked them, but the activity took time (because she was so interested in how many ways to make the "S" with different colors, etc). I have added a little extra time for this activity in our schedule from now on, so she will have plenty of time to design. She is looking forward to using them again tomorrow for "M"...
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Unread post by Texas Gal »

Posted: Fri Sep 29, 2006 7:12 pm

Concerning the Cuisenaire Rods/Math Sense Blocks, I have broken things down and made lesson plans for days 1-5. (We don't use them on Day 6.) I came up with these ideas by reading the Mathematical Concepts section at the beginning of the workbook. I also tore out all of the pages and put them in page protectors in a 3-ring binder. This way, I can present only the applicable page and my dd won't be distracted by other pages.

Here's what we're doing:
Day 1 - Complete steps 1-4 as directed. Look for symmetry in the letter. If present, choose blocks such that the colors also show symmetry.
Day 2 - Recreate #3 by looking at the colors drawn the previous day. On separate paper, write the rod story and then translate it into the number sentence. Count the blocks and write the sum to complete the sentence. (In other words, say you use two pink rods and a green rod to make something. You would write Pk+Pk+G=_ and then translate it to read 4+4+3=11.)*
Day 3 - Repeat #3a using a different combination of rods (see back of book for suggestions, if needed). Write the rod story and number sentence and find the sum, as before.
Day 4 - Complete the block pictures.
Day 5 - Come up with different block pictures. Use the suggestions in the back of the book or come up with original ideas.

*This "pre-algebra" as I call it introduces at an early age the concept that you can do math using letters instead of numbers. This can be so hard to teach later on when you get to algebra, so introducing it in this way at this age will help tremendously later on.

My dd is picking this up very quickly, so we actually go a step further and group like numbers together. So, in the above example, after we write 4+4+3=11, we notice that we have two pink blocks. So, instead of writing 4 twice, we add up those blocks and just write 8+3=11. She can see how much easier it is to shorten the number sentence by grouping like numbers. Depending on how quickly your dc is picking up the math concepts, you can do all sorts of things with these rods. Just read the beginning section of the book for more ideas.

Hope this helps!
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Cuisenaire Rods.... Useful?

Unread post by kugoi »

kidswife wrote:I was going to stick with the basic package and add the Ant Hill, the Butterfly project, and the Dino book from the Deluxe package.

But taking a look at those cuisenaire rods, I'm wondering if that really is helpful in studying math, problem solving, etc. At first, I just look, and foresee a mess, and more toys to add to our already plentiful collection that never really get played with.... you all know what I mean.

Can I get some feedback on the usefulness of those rods... and the book that goes with them??? Thanks!

My almost 6yo loves Day 6 because we get to do the cuisanaire rods and book. He gets so excited when he sees me pull it out. My just turned 4yo can't wait until he starts K so that he can do the rods. We have a lot of fun with them and it's an interesting way to see how ds's mind works.
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Unread post by courthart246 »

We use the Cuisenaire rods on Day 6 as well and my ds really does well with them. I love the critical thinking skills that they provide as well as more hands on experience. I don't think they are necessary to the K package, but we like them a lot and are very glad we purchased them.
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Unread post by Cyndi (AZ) »

The Cuisenaire Rods are not scheduled in the TM because they are optional. They are mentioned in the TM on page 14 (of mine, anyway) as an activity for developing skills in problem solving, counting, symmetry, area and addition.

It's very easy to add them to Day 6 because it's a light day. We also added the Classical music CD that day.

My dd truly did love the Rods. At first, I thought the worksheets were goofy, but as I watched her make decisions about which lengths to use and saw all those gears churning in her head while she used them, I was sold. I love to see those "thinking hard faces" followed by "lightbulb moments" and we got them every time with the Rods. My dd still uses them to build, make patterns, and as math manipulatives.

Day 6, being the last day of the unit, is a great day to play with the Rods and then read lots of books and act them out or draw a picture and spend some time outside together.
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Unread post by Lucy »

Hi Kidswife,

Welcome to the MFW Board!

I think a key element and a real concern on your part is that they do not get used or "played" with. The key to keeping them engaged with the rods is to only use them at certain times and not leave them out to be played with all of the time. For some kids this would be fine but, for others it just becomes another toy that they tire of and it is best to only take it out for limited time and then put it away for later.

If you do decide to buy them I would strongly suggest using the book as well. The book coordinates with the program since it covers the letters of the alphabet. So when you cover the letter S, you use 2 pages from the workbook that use the letter S.

You will also find that you will have continued use for them as a manipulative for math as you progress.

Just some more thoughts for you to think through as you decide.

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Are the Cuisinare Rods Scheduled?

Unread post by sojen »

Mexmarr wrote:Are the Cuisenaire Rods Scheduled into the Kindergarten Curriculum? I have never used them. It the way they are used for K considered just a fun activity or do they really give a good math foundation? Are the concepts something that I easily duplicate with things around the house?

You use them with the corresponding Math book. The pages go along with the letter of the week. For example, when you are learning "H" in the K manual you build a house from the activity book with the rods.

I thought all through K that those rods could not be doing much, but when we got to first grade math my daughter was a whiz. I had never done any other math book or curriculum with her. She is now in 2nd grade doing Saxon, and I really think those little rods laid a great foundation. I love how MFW picks something that looks simple, but teaches concepts in a fun way. I feel the same way about the Lauri toys.

Maybe someone else has a different experience?
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Re: Are the Cuisinare Rods Scheduled?

Unread post by Cyndi (AZ) »

I thought of the rods as a "Day 6" activity.

I also thought they were goofy little toys until I realized how much it was developing my dd's reasoning ability, as well as mental addition and subtraction. It is a very cool book!
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Re: Are the Cuisinare Rods Scheduled?

Unread post by beaglemamma2008 »

Cyndi (AZ) wrote:I thought of the rods as a "Day 6" activity.
I thought of it the same way, Cyndi. But unfortunately, I forgot to do it most of the time! &)

I highly encourage you to go through your TM before you even begin your year and pencil in Cuisinaire rods and music on the 6th day of each unit. :)

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Re: Are the Cuisinare Rods Scheduled?

Unread post by cbollin »

I thought it was mentioned in the newer manuals on or about page 14? I know I thought of it as a Day 6 thing as well because there were no other worksheets scheduled on that day, so it seemed natural to pick up the book as part of the math routine for day 6.

but that reminds me of something in the archives that MexMarr might like to see

that link will show you the routine in K. One way is all text, another way was with a grid picture.

So, I guess they aren't scheduled precisely. but with the note on or about page 14 of the newer manuals (since the Rod were added), it seemed like they were part of the math routine. but I'm with Jennifer (beaglemomma2008) that I remember better once the routines are in my brain and said in the manual in front of me. I guess I just found a way that year with the template grid and my Case It folder to remember it. So, the upshot is: make sure you find a way to remember them.

and on the other thread you have about must have's... just repeating that from my post: they are thinking skills/logic/reasoning with the book. good stuff for the age.

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Re: Are the Cuisinare Rods Scheduled?

Unread post by jasntas »

beaglemamma2008 wrote: I highly encourage you to go through your TM before you even begin your year and pencil in Cuisinaire rods and music on the 6th day of each unit. :)
This is what I did, pencil them in on Day 6. I would have forgotten otherwise.

I have got to do this with the Come Look With Me and the music for 1st, too. :~
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Cuisenaire Rods

Unread post by jasntas »

Mom2theteam wrote:I see the pages are perforated. Do you take them out? I'm noticing the book doesn't lay flat when you open it. I'm thinking it will be hard to place the rods on the pictures if the pages aren't flat. But, if you do take them out, do you keep them? To me it makes sense to keep them. So, how do you store them? If I'm going to take them out, I was thinking maybe I should laminate them. Then, they would be good long term. What did you do? ??
What I did with this book last year was tear the pages out of the book and put them in sheet protectors. I placed the pages into a thin binder. The binder was either 1/2" or 1". I forget now. I put the cover into the area on the front of the binder in that clear pocket thingie so I could see at a glance what it was. I could then either remove the needed page and place it on the table or leave it in the binder as it would lay flat. This worked out very well for us.

I also did the same thing this year with the Pattern Animals book for 1st.

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Re: Cuisenaire Rods

Unread post by BHelf »

did the same thing here. :) worked great until my kids got a hold of the rods without me being present. Now we have rods all over the house and I'll never fins them all. ;(
But, the sheets are still in good shape in the binder. ;)
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Re: Cuisenaire Rods

Unread post by NicoleJ »

I laminated all of the pages after taking them out of the book. I hole punched them and put them in their right order in a file. Surprisingly, my girls are not at all interested in the rods or the book!
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Re: Cuisenaire Rods

Unread post by Mom2theteam »

NicoleJ wrote:I laminated all of the pages after taking them out of the book. I hole punched them and put them in their right order in a file. Surprisingly, my girls are not at all interested in the rods or the book!
This is what I was thinking of doing first. Hmm...I'll have to think about it. I punched holes in my workbook pages and put them in a notebook. I sort of regret that. So, I'm kind of trying to avoid anything permanent for now. I may try the page protectors first and then possibly switch later. I do want them to last through several kids if possible.
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Re: Cuisenaire Rods

Unread post by tangomoon »

My pages are torn out of the book and stored in their own file. Then each unit I pull out the ones that we'll be using and put them in page protectors. At first I really wanted them all in page protectors or laminated, but this was a cheap solution for the time being. :)
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Re: Cuisenaire Rods

Unread post by Bandy »

Great ideas...I've been inspired to break-in my new laminator just for this purpose.
My girls will love this. Thank you.
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Cuisenaire Rods Alphabet book question

Unread post by jasntas »

IntoTheirHearts wrote:Did you use the alphabet book in kindergarten? Would you recommend it? We wouldn't need it for learning colors or letters, but more for math (although we are adding a different math option into our K year). I am just not sure whether or not to get the cuisenaire rods and book or not.

It is not necessary but it's nice to use if you can fit it into your budget. I think it's more for spatial recognition or something like that. My dd loved it when she got to get out the rods and build the letters and shapes.
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Re: Cuisenaire Rods Alphabet book question

Unread post by far above rubies »

It's nice to have if you can swing it. I used it the first time I taught K, but I didn't understand the thoughts behind it, so put it away, thinking it was a waste of money.

So I wasn't going to buy it this time around, until I heard the Hazell's CD workshop on teaching K and 1st grade. Then I "got it." So now we're using it and I'm looking forward to it. :)
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Re: Cuisenaire Rods Alphabet book question

Unread post by MuzzaBunny »

It has been DD's favorite part of school. :) (Well, that and dancing to the music with a beanbag on her head...)
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