Light Table with Kindergarten Manipulatives Bundle at Glenshire Elementary

Moderation state
Grant Applicant
Brandy Flesock and Taylor Strong
School Site
Grant Date

Kindergarten is truly a magical year in the school life of a young scholar. When they enter the classroom on the first day of school, they truly are babies -- unaware of the norms and routines that guide any classroom. Over the course of the year, the transformation that they all go through is truly remarkable and is a product of the multi-tiered teaching that guides their instruction. By the last day of school, they leave as scholars -- ready to continue their learning journey for years to come. 

Kindergarten instruction goes far beyond foundational skills and content standards. As teachers, we must focus our efforts just as diligently on social-emotional learning, motor skill development, phonemic awareness, classroom norms and routines, language development and so much more. We rely on a number of different curricula and teaching tools to incorporate this integrated level of instruction for all of our students. At Glenshire Elementary School, our Kindergarten team prides itself on the rich learning experiences we bring to our students everyday in the classroom, and are always seeking new, engaging and innovative ways to enrich our students' learning. 

With the support of an Excellence in Education grant, we hope to purchase a Light Table, as well as a number of accompanying manipulative accessories. The accessories include a Manipulative Center, Translucent Magnetic Blocks, Magna Tiles, Crystal Building Blocks, Crystal Climbers, Alphabet Tracing Tiles, Simple Words Tracing Tiles and Counting Trays. Collectively, these tools are highly engaging and can be used in a multitude of ways for all of our students. They enhance some of the foundational skills and social-emotional development that are an indispensable aspect of our curriculum -- writing,vocabulary development, literacy development, peaceful play, scientific inquiry, fine motor skill development, phonemic awareness and more.


Benefits of Program

When learning the foundational skills we have mentioned earlier, it is important to consider that the delivery of those skills must be sufficiently differentiated across multiple learning modalities, ensuring equitable access for all of our students. These tools, in addition to the standard curriculum tools we already have, are meant to create a more engaging approach to learning those foundational skills. These tools would be used daily in Kindergarten, and in many cases, be shared between the classrooms of the Kindergarten team. 

In general, manipulative tools in the classroom are meant to support kinesthetic and tactile learners. In our experience, much of the standard curriculum tools we use in the classroom are not tailored this way, and often challenge the teacher to seek new ways to teach the same skills. The light table, which is already integrated into 3 of the classrooms in the Kindergarten classrooms, would complete the classroom sets. However, the addition of the manipulatives allows us to integrate the light table across nearly all subject areas taught in the classroom.


Success of Program

The success of this grant will be providing kinesthetic learning opportunities across the curriculum to all of the GES kindergarten students. As mentioned previously, kindergarten students need to be given a variety of learning opportunities that allows multiple ways to learn a skill. As of today, only three out of the four kindergarten classes have a light table and a few manipulatives to share. We have seen how successful the light table and manipulatives have been as shown by an increase in student excitement for hands-on learning and differentiated instruction. 

The value of these tools in the classroom have been proven to be effective in developmentally appropriate learning for kindergartners. This grant will enhance our classrooms by providing more opportunities for hands-on learning to all of the GES kindergarten students. Students can ignite their imagination and innovation during our STEMscopes lessons. It will enrich the students sensory development, encourage growth and nurture their curiosity. This grant will also increase brain activity, promote self-esteem, self-motivation, cooperation and many other developmentally appropriate skills.



If this EEF grant is funded, we hope to purchase all of the items for use during the 2020-2021 school year. In order to gain a better understanding of how our team plans to incorporate each component into the classroom, we will describe each item and what it will be used for. It is also important to note that every manipulative component described works in conjunction with the Light Table. All of these tools greatly enhance student learning of Kindergarten priority standards:

Light Table - This engaging and exciting tool can be used in literacy centers, Daily 5, handwriting, math centers, scientific inquiry and even peaceful play. With the use of the requested manipulatives, the Light Table enhances students’ fine motor skill development and promotes cooperation and teamwork between peers.

Manipulative Center - The Manipulative Center allows students to explore properties of color and light, while at the same time building math, science and language fluency. The manipulatives are organized in tubs, with translucent letters, numbers, color chips and pattern blocks. They allow students to develop essential Kindergarten priority standards of sorting, counting, patterning, beginning/ending sounds and building simple CVC (consonant-vowel-consonant) words. 

See-Inside Magnetic Blocks - These translucent blocks give students an up-close view of how magnetism works, a foundation science skill. Students can also explore how 2D shapes are transformed into 3D shapes. 

The Crystal Climbers and Crystal Building Blocks are also similar, but allow for more imaginative creation and fine motor skill development. They explore and apply their knowledge and understanding of geometric patterns, creating an authentic connection between shapes and their function.

Alphabet Tracing Tiles - These translucent tiles, when placed on the Light Table with paper, allow students to build muscle memory as they practice proper letter formation. They can even trace the engaging picture as they explore letter sounds. 

Simple Words Trancing Tiles - Similar to alphabet tracing tiles, these manipulatives allow students to practice their printing, while exploring letter sounds and boosting their vocabulary. 

Counting Trays - These trays allow students to properly place their manipulatives for hands-on counting practice. These promote organized math habits, essential to their acquisition of new math skills. 

Magna-Tiles - These tiles integrate math and engineering practices, an essential component of NGSS standards, as students create, formulate plans and build. Students will be able to problem solve as they construct solid structures using the tiles for support. 


Can you share this grant with your grade level or subject team?

Most of the components of this grade can be shared with our Kindergarten team. As mentioned before, there are currently 3 out of 4 classrooms that have Light Tables. With the purchase of the Light Table with this grant, all Kindergarten teachers at GES will have a Light Table in the classroom. 

Some of the manipulative components would require daily use from teachers or simultaneous use amongst Learning Centers. As a result, additional sets of those components have been requested. Other manipulative components could easily be shared with other members of our Kindergarten team, and only one set of each of those components is requested in this grant. These items together would be used regularly over the course of the school year.


The items outlined in this grant are not consumable items. While products from Lakeshore Learning are designed specifically for heavy student use in the classroom, there is always the chance that over time, some items may need repair and/or replacement. However, with proper care and use by students, classroom manipulative products like these are built to last for many years. In order to help take care of them, we are also requesting Heavy Duty Book Bins, which will allow us to safely store and transport them for classroom use. Therefore, we do not anticipate additional funding from EEF to continue this grant in future years.
Amount Funded
Individual Budget Items(s)
$699 - Color-Changing Light Table
$199 - Light Table Manipulative Center Qty:2
$70 - See-Inside Magnetic Blocks
$20 - Crystal Climbers
$40 - Light Table Alphabet Tracing Tiles
$40 - Light Table Simple Words Tracing Tiles
$50 - Crystal Building Blocks
$65 - Light Table Counting Tray Qty: 5
$130 - Magna-Tiles-Master Set
$50 - Heavy-Duty Book Bins-Set of 6 Colors
Other funding sources

Currently, there are limited funding sources available for classroom purchases, so an Excellence in Education Grant is our only opportunity to acquire these classroom tools. Measure AA funding only supports consumable items, such as crayons, paper, and more. These are annual purchase items used to supplement our curriculum. In addition, Eagle Walk, our annual school fundraiser for classroom funds, is already used to supplement material costs for our theme-based units.



We appreciate the opportunity to submit our grant proposal to our Excellence in Education partners. Thank you for supporting our amazing learners and teachers throughout Tahoe Truckee Unified School District.