Do you use math centers or small math groups in your room? I have been using them for the past 5 years, and I don’t think I could teach math without them. I love teaching with math centers, and my students cheer when they know it is Math Center day. In order to use math centers effectively, you have to have a good organization system to organize the games and task cards that your students will use. I like to have mine set up from the start of the year, so I can just pull what I need as the year goes on. On this post, I want to share some tips I have for how to effectively organize and store your math centers for optimal use. For more tips for how to get started with math centers, click here.
1. Store all of your materials in labeled tubs or bins.
I use the three drawer clear bins from Walmart. I store them under the marker board in my room for easy access. The students, as well as me, go in and out of them on a regular basis. Having them front and center in the room makes it so easy to use. As you can see from the picture, I have each drawer labeled with the domain (the fraction domain label fell off….hot glue gun just can’t win against a school that turns the air off each day).
2. Store centers by domain or by skill.
As I mentioned above, I have my drawers labeled by Common Core Domain and then a 6th drawer labeled Seasonal Centers, where I store all of my holiday math centers and test prep centers. As you can see from the image, I have each item in the drawers labeled by standard. I have a variety of containers that I use to store each item in and each container is labeled with the specific standard it addresses. When I set up my math centers each week, I literally just pull out the specific standards from my drawer that I want my students to review that week.
3. Store task cards in labeled containers or photo albums.
I actually use both labeled containers and photo albums to store my task cards. I use the photo albums primarily for independent practice or partner work. The other plastic containers (Ziploc bags would work just fine, but I snagged these at Office Depot last summer) contain an additional set of task cards that I use when small groups are working on the skill. However you choose to store them is fine, but I suggest keeping the containers similar for easy access by you and the students.
4. Store “larger” center materials in gallon bags or other containers.
Larger centers can sometimes be a pain to organize and store. I bought these plastic containers (similar to my smaller ones from Tip 3) at Office Depot as well. They are perfect to store my Roll and Answer Math Centers. You can read more about my Roll and Answer math Centers by clicking here or clicking on the images below. I use gallon bags to store other larger math centers like my Halloween Math Centers seen in the image above.
I hope these tips have given you some suggestions for how to store your math center resources. I am not a super organized person by nature, but this system has worked well for me for the past two years. The part I love best about it is that I can easily train my fifth graders to access the materials and even set up my centers for me. If you would like to see more about the Roll and Answer Math Centers mentioned in this post, click on the images below.
If you are interested in task cards for 5th Grade Common Core Math, click on the image below.
Now, stop by these blogs to read some more tips for organizing or starting your school year off on the right foot.