Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Prepping & Organizing Math Centers

Hi friends!
This is my first full week back to school and it is already the L-O-N-G-E-S-T week ever!!  I wanted to pop over tonight and share some ideas for how to easily prep and organize math centers.

Often times teachers get so overwhelmed by prepping math centers and they just decide to not do them at all.  Now, I will preface this with I do not use all the cute Target Dollar Spot buckets and erasers for my math centers - my kids would ruin them and it saves me some money!  My 2nd graders are just as happy with task cards and some black & white clipart they can color when they have finished all their math!

So, I am on year 3 of using math math center cards - so once I got those prepped the first year - it makes it super easy for me to pull them out of the closet and they are ready.  How can you easily get task cards prepped?  Print them and laminate - and then - have a parent volunteer cut them out!!  I think I had parents cut out almost all of my math center cards for the first year - and they were more than happy to help.  So, if you have parents who want to help and can cut straight lines - let them help make your life easier!

I prep my math center copies a month at a time.  If you caught My Plan Box post from a couple weeks ago, I use file folders to sort my copies by weeks for the quarter.  I keep all of my original copies and my answer keys in a 3-ring binder.  Each month's answer keys and copies have their own sheet protector, so I can easily pull out what I need to copy.

So this week when I went to make my weekly copies, I found my February set of centers I had filed earlier in the quarter.  I prep my centers the week prior to the new month, paperclip them, and store in a box in my classroom closet.

By the way, I LOVE these clear paper baskets from The Container Store!  I set them out with papers for my kiddos to pick up each morning to take home and they are perfect for hauling back my weekly copies from the copier!

I store my math centers in plastic ziplock bags - gallon sized and freezer size.

Each set of task cards is stored in a quart-sized and I use address labels to label the bag with the title of the center and I've also included the CCSS standard on the label, just for reference.  All of the quart-sized bags go in a gallon bag and I store the gallon bag in my monthly storage boxes.

Each Friday as I am prepping my Mon-Fri boxes for the next week, I pull out math centers - both activity sheets and task card bags for the next week and file in the box.  Then, when it's math time, my centers are ready to give directions and let them at 'em!

Now, we all have kiddos who don't use their time wisely, or take a little longer to get their work done.  I have a metal wall organizer that hangs right next to our "math center table".  When the kiddos clean up from math centers, they put the task cards in the bottom bucket.  That way, when my friends have time to go back and finish their math center(s), they know where to go to find the task cards.  Every couple weeks, I'll clean this bucket out so there is room for more bags of cards.

So, my quick and easy steps for prepping and organizing math centers:

1.  Print and laminate center cards.  Have a super helpful parent cut out the task cards for you.

2.  Copy activity sheets once a month (or once a week if that works for you) so they are ready when it's time for math.

3.  Store your math centers cards in ziplock bags (clear and easy to see).

4.  Find a place to store task cards after math centers for friends to easily grab and finish at a later date.

Want easy to prep math centers that are meaningful and fun?!?!
Check out my math centers in my TPT store!

You can grab my math centers individually by month or bundled together August-December and January-May. Please note - these are not aligned to Engage NY.  I have used these for the past 2 school years with different curriculums.

Hang in there friends!  It's almost Friday - and the camel is out of the way now!!


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