As university students shared a large host of geometry center activities last night, I was reminded of the fact that sometimes simple, easy-to-use materials and activities are better than complex, creative materials. Why?
Simple materials that are well designed allow for a lot of teacher/student voice, creativity, and thought. Those materials do not take a lot of time to manipulate, but leave a lot of room for problem solving, discussion, and creativity.
On a similar note, it isn't necessarily better to make your own materials thought it can be beneficial from time to time. With an Internet filled with magnificent teaching/learning ideas, models, and lessons, it's better to know where to find the best materials than it is to make all of your own resources. Yet, to personalize and create can help the students in your context contribute more investment and gain better learning.
As we find, create, and embed learning/teaching materials into our classrooms it's important that we make some time to discuss our process for finding/making materials and what matters most with respect to optimal student learning.