Math Center Organization Made Easy
Anyone else here a math center hoarder? #guiltyascharged Having so many games and activities, it can be challenging to find a math center organization system that works. For years, I had no system and struggled to find the games I needed when I needed them. Thankfully, after a few years of this struggle, I came up with the perfect system!
If your math center organization needs a bit of a refresh, consider implementing my tried and true system!
The Secret to Math Center Organization
Before you get started on reorganizing your math centers, you first need to come up with a system. Will you organize them by topic? Type? Month of the year you’ll use them? Maybe you have some seasonal centers that are only used a particular time of the year. Consider what you already have, and then come up with an organization system.
Personally, I don’t have many seasonal games, so I organize my math centers based on topic. Place value centers together, geometry centers together, money centers together, etc. This way if I’m focusing on a specific topic, I know exactly where to go.
If I’m not focusing on a specific topic, this system is still helpful. I may want to include a variety of topics and this system ensures I have an easier time finding different topics. I can choose 3-4 different topics to focus on, and easily pull a center or two from each one.
However you decide to organize your math centers, choose a system that makes sense for you and your classroom.
Storage Solutions for Math Centers
Once you’ve come up with your organization system, it’s time to invest in some storage. You will want to make sure that all of you math centers are stored individually in a way that keeps all the pieces together, but you also want a larger system that houses all of your centers. Exactly what you use will depend on the types of centers you have, and how many.
My centers are largely resources I’ve purchased off of Teachers Pay Teachers. Therefore, they are printable activities made out of paper. Some activities require other materials – such as game pieces, dice, or manipulatives – but for the most part, they don’t take up too much space.
I initially stored my centers in gallon-sized plastic baggies; however, these are not very durable and often didn’t last long. Now, I use these plastic envelopes from Dollar Tree (these ones on Amazon are similar). They come 3 to a pack for only $1, and are available in lots of colors and patterns.
They are much more durable than plastic bags. Inside the envelope, I place all the materials needed for the activity – all printed materials, plus anything else like dice or game pieces. If desired, you can also label the envelope. Mine are transparent so I never have, but I would recommend labeling otherwise.
For activities that don’t require an entire envelope (like task cards, or small matching games), I often do just use plastic baggies instead. This makes up a minority of my centers, so the less durable option isn’t as big of a deal. Depending on the size, I have also used plastic snack containers from Dollar Tree as well.
Using 10-Drawer Carts for Math Center Organization
Once you have each of your individually centers prepped and ready to go, the last step is to place them into your larger center storage solution. You will do this according to the system you came up with earlier – for me, I am organizing by topic.
I use this 10-drawer rolling cart to store my centers (the exact one I have is linked, but I spray painted mine black). Because I am organizing by type, I place all my centers for place value in one drawer, addition & subtraction in another, and so on.
I have labeled each of my drawers according to the topic of the centers it holds, so that I can easily find exactly what I’m looking for. The labels I used (pictured) are available here for free in my store.
I hope this post has been helpful to you and your math center organization. Of course, my exact system may not work for you, but hopefully you can take it and change it to meet your own needs. After you’ve organized your math centers, check out these tips to help you organize your math manipulatives, too!
How do you organize and store your math centers?
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