Teaching math and literacy in the primary grades involves a lot of tools and papers, especially in your centers. So how do we organize our math and literacy centers? The key to effective center planning is top-notch math center organization of all your materials.
Whether you’re organizing centers or manipulatives, we at Lucky Little Learners want you to be able to flow through your math and literacy centers with ease!
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Organize Centers with Stellar Storage
As teachers, we try to be as organized as possible. It makes the prep time easy and quick. There are so many wonderful storage options out there for your math centers that will save you time and sanity.
How to Organize Manipulatives
There are so many manipulatives! I store all of my math manipulatives in plastic containers that I got from Walmart. You can also get them from Amazon. You are able to see what’s inside of them without having to open them. There are also labels that fit nicely on the outside so you can quickly grab and go.
Here are some links for my favorite plastic bins!
- Small math storage (12-pack)
- Medium math storage (6-pack)
- Large math storage (4-pack)
- Project Boxes (5-pack)
Grab these wonderful Math Tub Labels to help bring a bit more organization to your math center manipulatives!
How to Organize Centers
When it comes to organizing task cards, worksheets, recording sheets, and more, we have you covered on storage options! These are great for your students to grab and go as they tackle their centers and for every activity to have a place.
As you read through the ways that you can store your math centers check out these amazing centers and puzzles that will truly make your students eager to learn and you ready to store.
- 1st Grade Math Centers
- 2nd Grade Math Centers
- Literacy Centers (2nd Grade)
- 2nd Grade Math Task Cards
- Math Puzzles
A great option that will save you some money in your teacher wallet is a plastic bag. When organizing your math centers this is a great option to grab and reuse for those manipulatives, task cards, directions and recording sheets, as well as any other fun items you may need for your center!
This is a perfect way for your students to grab and go for independent work during math or literacy lessons as well.
Envelopes to Grab and Go
Another affordable option for organizing your math centers is to use file envelopes. These will fit any normal size sheet of paper and so you can add your center’s directions right to the front or slip it inside with the recording sheets as well. Plus they can also be laminated for long-lasting durability! This is a great way to also store those task cards so your students can go and grab their center and take it with them all in one neat storage space.
The Colorful Iris Containers
If there is one storage container at Lucky Little Learners that is iconic in our storage use it would be the Iris Containers. Whether you purchase them from Michael’s or Amazon these containers are great for Toothy Task cards. There is no question your Toothy Centers will be stored and ready to go with these colorful containers.
Have you not tried out our Toothy Math Centers yet? These are the perfect addition to your lessons to help your students meet those math standards! Learn more about why Toothy is such a game-changer in the classroom in this post here and check out our Toothy math centers!
12 X 12 Project Case
If you are looking for an option that can store multiple copies of a center in one neat place then the 12×12 project case is a great choice! It can fit nearly 10 centers into the case and it’s all closed up and ready to store! This can be great to use to store centers by month, holiday, or theme! Your centers can be placed inside with a folder or a plastic bag. Then you are ready to grab them during the right season and use them as needed!
File folders are a tried and true option that is inexpensive and great for storage. A lot of teachers have in their classrooms a filing cabinet that has been there since we moved in. If not then a quick file folder organizer is a great option! This is great for papers that you need for students to take with them, or for papers that need to be turned in at the end of centers.
When organizing math centers a rolling cart is a great way to have a spot that students know to go to each day to receive their center work. Whether the drawers are numbered or labeled your students can find papers, file folders, or plastic bags with all they need safely tucked in the drawers.
Sterilite drawers are an excellent investment in your math center storage. They are sturdy and will last for years to come. Even better we have the labels in our math center bundles you will be able to find your monthly centers with ease! These are great with your centers stored inside in folders or bags. They can fit anything from your task cards to worksheets!
Binders are the perfect storage solution for short text! You can organize your reading passages by comprehension skill, which makes it SO easy to find the passage you need when you’re teaching a particular skill! Take your organization one step further and color code your binder labels for nonfiction (orange) and fiction (yellow). These labels are included FREE when you download our 2nd grade reading passages bundle.
Storing Unfinished Work
How do you keep track of unfinished work in your classroom? When it comes to the hustle and bustle of daily center time, it can be hard to keep kids accountable for any work that wasn’t completed. Here are a few easy to implement options for handling unfinished work in the classroom:
- If you have tables, you can put a two-tiered basket in the center and train your students to keep their unfinished work on the bottom shelf.
2. Hang file folder- sized pocket charts and assign each student their own pocket to store unfinished work.
3. Student Mailboxes would be another fantastic way to store unfinished work from center time.
Ways to Organize ALL Your Seasonal Center Activities
The last thing you want to do is dig for a particular activity you want to use during center time for 20 minutes, then have to re-prep when you can’t find it!
You can organize by…
Or, you can combine multiple methods! How about organizing by skill AND month?
There are times you might want to pull an activity that matches a particular holiday – so having your activities organized by month is great! (Maybe you have large tubs for each month.) BUT.. you can go a step further and you could store activities in file folders or baggies inside the tubs labeled with the skill kids will be practicing.
However you choose to organize your center materials, when you have storage solutions, you will be able to spend more time doing what you love and less time in a mess of materials!
More Info on Getting Your Centers Up and Running
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