Organizing math centers is one of the major keys to running smooth workstations in your classroom.
- keeps your students on task (more structure, less questions, less distractions)
- helps maximize time (when you and your students can easily find things you don’t waste time)
- keeps you sane (reduces your stress levels when you have a clear system)
So, how can you get organized?
Let me share the 3 areas you need to get organized in order to keep your students on task and have your centers running smoothly.
The first thing you need to do is organize yourself. If you’re disorganized, your kids will be too. Here are some things that will make your life a lot easier.
Create a Teacher Binder for Math Centers
The Teacher Binder is going to be your one place to come back to in order to reflect, plan, and stay organized. Inside you should include:
- Daily planning templates
- Weekly planning templates
- Student grouping sheets
- Team rotation charts
- Reflections questions (Check out my FREE 8 Things to Consider When Planning Math Centers Sheet)
Having a “Go To” place for all of your tools and templates really keeps you organized throughout the school year.
Create a Filing System for Student Papers
Student recording sheets often drove me crazy. I would find sheets hanging out of student desks, on my desk and in other spots throughout the classroom. Organizing the papers was essential to bringing down my stress level.
An easy way to handle this is purchasing a filing crate with hanging folders. Then number each hanging folder and assign a number to each student. This handy number system is an easy solution to place all of the recording sheets, booklets or math papers that pop up throughout math centers.
Get started TODAY by downloading the FREE Student Work Organizer (pictured above).
Organize Your Stuff
What do you do with all of these materials? How do you organize your materials so it’s not all over the place? You need easy access to materials that are not currently in use, but ones that you’ll need in the immediate future.
Check out these suggestions for easy storage solutions:
Use Sheet Protectors
I LOVE sheet protectors! They make it so easy to store your materials (ie. game directions and game materials). Just slide them into the pocket and you can see just what’s inside. PLUS…you can store them inside a binder.
Use Ziplock Baggies
I love using gallon sized bags as well as quart sized bags. Whoever invented these, are a friend to all teachers. No more missing game pieces or manipulatives. Simply place your items inside of them and hand them out to your teams.
Create a Stations/Centers Binder
These binders contain your math centers by domain (i.e. number and operations). You’ll easily find the skill you want your kids to work on and slide it into their work station. And remember the games and activities in those sheet protectors? This is where you store them when they are not being used.
Organize Your Students
You’re not the only one that’s responsible for organizing math centers so are your students. Having these things in place help share the responsibility and take some of the load off of you:
Use Center Bins or Containers for Student Materials
Store all of the materials and activities that students need inside of a see-through storage bin that is clearly labeled. This will be a huge help when it’s time to clean up.
Create Center or Station Folders
This is a place for your kids to place their recording sheets after finishing their work in the center.
So this wraps up my tips for staying organized during math centers! Be sure to try out some of these ideas, if you don’t already use them.
Want to learn more about different topics related to math centers? Check out previous blog posts from this series:
Join me for the next post: Managing Math Centers
Want to find the organization tools and templates mentioned in this post + MORE?.. then check out my course Math Centers 101. This video course walks you step-by-step through implementing math centers in your classroom.