Staying organized is the #1 way I have found to save time! Finding the right systems can take time, but once you have it, say hello to all of the hours you didn’t know you had! Below is the math area of my classroom. Today, I’m going to break down 10 of my favorite math center organization tips that really work!
One way that I have really cut down on my math center prep is by organizing my manipulatives in a way that my students can access them independently. I find that having all of the items they at their fingertips helps them build responsibility while saving me hours of prep time every week. You can find these math bin labels [HERE] or newly as part of my CLASSROOM LABEL BUNDLE [HERE]!
Math Manipulative Bin Labels
As you can see, they are clearly labeled with pictures, and are on a low shelf that they can easily reach. In some cases, I have organization built in to each bin. For example, each bin of unified cubes is pre-sorted into two different colors. This means that students can just take a bin to their table and already have that part taken care of (and no additional colors to distract them!) We use these to help visually represent composing and decomposing numbers, so two colors are essential!
I don’t know about you, but I am OBSESSED with dice! I have more than I probably should, but my students love them too! After years of outgrowing my storage systems, I have finally found a system that works for me. I give you, the Dice Box!
You can use any storage toolbox from Lowes, Home Depot, or the Container Store. Now if my centers require dice beyond the standard 1-6 doled dice, my students can get them independently, eliminating one more thing I have to prep! After some requests, I have posted the labels over at my TpT Store. Find them [HERE]
Second only to dice, I have a serious weakness for Target’s Dollar Spot Erasers. I needed a way to let my students access and choose their erasers independently, so another organization system was born.I use the small square toolboxes (similar to the Dice Organizer). I do this because I have them sorted by season. For example, the Fall/Halloween erasers are in one box, while the Winter/Holiday erasers are in another. This means that I can switch them out throughout the year to keep them new and exciting for students.
I have hot-glued one eraser to the front of each drawer so students can visually see them at a glance! The only problem with this system is that I have to keep buying more storage because I just can’t say no to Target!I used to cringe at how much time we lost while students got the correct amount of counters/chips they need for a game or center. To solve this problem, I decided I’d just have them pre-sorted! I used small Dollar Store containers, and filled them with counters and chips. For the translucent chips, I include two different colors so that they can be used for partner games.
Now, I just use empty Crystal Light powder containers. I don’t personally drink it, but my family is very good about supporting their teacher niece/daughter/cousin/sister. I just place a piece of construction inside to cover the bottom half of the container, and it’s all ready to go! Instant center!