$10 OFF Unlimited Access to All 9,000+ LLL Resources
Code: BTSTEN

Sale Ends Aug 19

Day(s)

:

Hour(s)

:

Minute(s)

:

Second(s)

Please make sure you are not using our custom header option and enabled theme builder setting. See here for more information: https://help.diviengine.com/article/155-using-divi-mobile-in-the-theme-builder
Home » Blog » Math » Small Groups & Math Centers » Everything You Need to Know About Math Centers

Everything You Need to Know About Math Centers

Math, Small Groups & Math Centers

Written by: Jess Dalrymple

How do math centers look in your classroom?  Ideally, it’s a time for students to work independently on a differentiated task while the teacher is working with students in a small group setting.  Of course, there is a lot more to it such as student questions, accountability, organization, flexible groupings, guided support, and so much more.  This post is your one stop shop linking you to all the best Lucky Little Learner tips and tricks so math centers run efficiently and effectively in your classroom.

1st or 2nd grade math centers

MATH SCHEDULE

The key when planning your 2nd grade math schedule is to keep procedures and time consistent from day to day. This way students know what to expect whether you’re there or a sub is there in your place. Also, if the flow is predictable, kids can spend their energy on learning math concepts instead of new routines.

Check out our 2nd Grade Math Schedule post for a walk-through of the components of a sample 2nd grade math block. 

second grade math schedule

HOW TO LAUNCH

Whether you are launching math centers at the beginning of the school year or even mid-year, it is essential that you go through the necessary steps to lay the foundation for the successful management of math center time. Read all about how veteran teachers make launching and management stress free in our 2nd Grade Math Centers: Launching & Management post.

2nd grade math centers launching and management

Be sure to take a look at our Free 2nd Grade Math Centers and Launch Kit post too so you can grab some freebies to get up and running!

clear consistent rules for launching math centers

HOW TO SET UP

Math centers setup is a very important piece of a successful math centers time. Questions to consider are: Does everything have an intentional place for organization? Do I have the right materials and containers? Can students independently access the materials they need? We’ve got some pointers to set your mind at ease in our How to Set Up Math Centers post. 

math centers set up

If you’re interested in how to set up your entire classroom, head over to the Second Grade Classroom Set Up post. Classroom photos included! 

HOW TO ORGANIZE

Teaching math in the primary grades involves a lot of math tools and papers, especially in our centers. So how do we organize our math centers? The key to effective center planning is top-notch math center organization of all your materials.

Whether you’re organizing math centers or manipulatives we at Lucky Little Learners want you to be able to flow through your math centers with ease! All our best tips for centers organization live right here in this post called “How to Organize Math Centers“.

how to organize math centers

FLEXIBLE GROUPS

Flexible grouping is a great way to set up for math centers. What this means is that once a student has been placed in a group, this does not determine their ability level in math for the rest of the year. In fact, as teachers look at data, students will move around regularly based on the skill being studied.

Read our Flexible Grouping in Math post to find out the many advantages of grouping students in this way!

flexible grouping in math

CENTER ACTIVITIES & DIFFERENTIATION

Math centers are a very important part of the math block but you must have enough math center activities to keep your students engaged all year. The math center activities should be fairly independent and it’s ideal if they are hands-on, engaging, and self-correcting when possible.

You’ll love our Math Centers Activities post – jam-PACKED with fun and worthwhile center activities for your students! You know we love a good freebie, so to get you started with math centers, check out this free Math Center download!

math center activities

LLL Math Centers Resources

For Getting Organized

SHOP THIS POST

toothy task kits

Editable Center Rotation Cards

toothy task kits

Editable Math Tub Labels

Center Games & Activities

SHOP THIS POST

toothy task kits

1st Grade Math Centers

toothy task kits

2nd Grade Math Centers

toothy task kits

Math Puzzles All Year

toothy task kits

Digital Math Puzzles

Toothy Tasks (Printed)

SHOP THIS POST

toothy task kits

Kindergarten Math Toothy

toothy task kits

1st & 2nd Grade Math Toothy

toothy task kits

3rd Grade Math Toothy

Toothy Tasks (Digital)

SHOP THIS POST

toothy task kits

Kindergarten Math Toothy

toothy task kits

1st & 2nd Grade Math Toothy

toothy task kits

3rd Grade Math Toothy

Interactive Notebooks

SHOP THIS POST

toothy task kits

1st Grade Math Notebook Bundle

toothy task kits

2nd Grade Math Notebook Bundle

29 Comments

  1. Courtney

    Angie, you inspire me to be an even better teacher so thank you! I also was wondering, how do you handle students who take longer on the independent practice and therefore have less time for their center? Do you have them finish it the next day or later?

    Reply
    • Angie Olson

      Hi Courtney! Thank you for your sweet words! I explain this a bit more in the FAQ and flexible groups section of the post but students who need more time to finish the independent task go to the teacher table before they can go to their center. Typically, these are the students who need the extra help anyways so having them come to the teacher table allows for me to break things down step by step and include manipulatives and marker board practice if needed. When they finish with me, then they can go to their center. The centers aren’t something that I expect them to finish since they are a spiral review of a math skill they should already know. Hope that helps!

      Reply
  2. Caitlin

    Thank you for posting this blog! I am currently using math centers but looking for ways to make it even better for myself and my students. Since you have 5 centers.. do students complete all 5 centers within that time, or 1 center per day since you move the names of the centers each afternoon? I’m just thinking how long each center should be and how often they move to the next?

    Reply
    • Angie Olson

      Hi Caitlin. Thank you for your message. With this structure, students are going to once center per day and they do this five days a week to get to all the center choices. You can read more about this in the math block and flexible groups section of the blog post. Hope that helps!

      Reply
  3. Mary jo Tesolin

    Wow!! Thank you for sharing all this amazing, organized and detailed information. I am going to start getting things to enhance my stations.
    Thank you very much!! Mj

    Reply
    • Angie Olson

      Hi Mary Jo. Thank you for stopping by and for taking the time to leave a comment! I’m glad that this information was helpful!

      Reply
  4. Adrian

    Thank you so much for this! As a first year 1st grade teacher, I have been struggling with centers, both ELA and Math. I have help coming from my district and mentor next week, but this really helped me see how to plan, organize, and implement centers.

    Reply
    • Angie Olson

      Awesome, Adrian. I’m glad that this post was helpful for you. It’s definitely a structure that can be very overwhelming if it’s not implemented and ran the correct way. The nice thing is that there are many ways to adjust math centers so that they work for you. Best of luck and thank you for taking the time to stop over to read!

      Reply
  5. AQeelah

    Great read. Beneficial even for this fourth grade teacher!!! Thank you!

    Reply
    • Angie Olson

      Awesome! I’m glad to hear that this is helpful!

      Reply
  6. Jenica Valdivia

    I LOVE your math centers! I have been starting to implement them in my first grade classroom this year and the kids love them too! Do you offer editable name cards (the ones with shapes) to be purchased? I really like how you have that set up. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Angie Olson

      Hi Jenica!

      I do offer editable name tags in my shop, I have placed a link below to where you can purchase them through TpT if they are what you’re looking for! Thanks fo reaching out, I hope this helps!
      http://bit.ly/2NwCrvZ

      Angie Olson
      Lucky Little Learners

      Reply
  7. Kara Carpenter

    So the students only do one math center each day?

    Reply
    • Angie Olson

      Yes, that’s what I do in my classroom but each classroom should do what works best for them.

      Reply
  8. Jenny

    Angie, thank you so much for taking the time to document all of this! I have the Toothy bundle and the Math Centers bundle, but just added the Notebook bundle and Fact Fluency Sticks to my Wish List. I’m so excited to implement your plan!

    Reply
  9. Brett

    Angie,

    Thanks for providing this resource. I have been doing your Math Centers all year, but want to incorporate some of the things I learned in this blog. For example, I would like the Center Rotation chart but cannot find it anywhere. I am wanting to start it Monday. Thanks!

    Reply
  10. Julie

    At this time the links to the free downloads are not working. I have purchased your math centers and would like to access these items as well please. I appreciate all and any help that you can provide. Thank you!

    Reply
    • Angie Olson

      Hi Julie!

      You can email me at angie@luckylittlelearners.com with any questions you may have about these links. Hopefully I will be able to help you sort this issue out! Thank you!

      Angie Olson
      Lucky Little Learners

      Reply
  11. Mari

    I just love your 2nd grade math centers! I will be moving to 3rd grade, are you planning on doing math centers for 3rd grade?

    Reply
    • Angie Olson

      Hi Mari!

      Thank you for your message and purchase. I also appreciate you taking the time to message me with your great suggestion. I will add it to my list and do my best to get to it. Have a great day!

      Angie Olson
      Lucky Little Learners

      Reply
  12. Emily

    Angie, looks like the links aren’t working for the two freebies here: Math Center Launching Freebie and Math Center Notes. I would love to use them in my classroom. Can you either fix the links or email the resources to me? Thank you so much!

    Reply
    • Angie Olson

      Hi Emily!

      You can email me at angie@luckylittlelearners.com and I will set you up with the correct links for these freebies. Thank you!

      Angie Olson
      Lucky Little Learners

      Reply
  13. Christine Lent

    Just wondering if you have any tips on the technology center–do your students complain that they only get do it once a week? Technology seems to be the only center that the students get excited about and get upset if they don’t get to do it every day.

    Thank you for your wonderful ideas!

    Reply
  14. eblake

    Angie,

    How do you get the free Math Center resources? It will not let me type my email address. When you click on free download link it takes to the video.

    Reply
    • Angie Olson

      Hi there!

      You can email me at angie@luckylittlelearners.com for the freebie or for any question you may have about this link! Thanks so much!

      Angie Olson
      Lucky Little Learners

      Reply
  15. Louise Loh

    Hi, Angie,

    Your work is AMAZING!

    I have two questions.

    #1: I just need your pattern block task cards, where can I find it?

    #2: I wonder do you give feedback or check all their center works?

    Thank you for your time.

    Reply
    • Bailey Jordan

      ​Hi Louise! We would love to help you with this question, please email us at customerservice@luckylittlelearners.com and we will do our best to answer it for you! Thanks so much!

      Bailey J.
      Lucky Little Learners

      Reply
  16. Kelly

    How can I get a copy of the posters? Thanks!

    Reply
    • Jess Dalrymple

      Hello Kelly, This is a part of our FREE math centers launch kit! Grab them HERE. Have a great day!

      Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Welcome, I’m Angie!

Hello there! I’m Angie Olson- a teacher, curriculum developer, educational blogger and owner of Lucky Little Learners.

Shop with Us

Planning is a breeze with this ⭐FREE⭐ 2nd grade scope & sequence

 

But that's not all! This FREEBIE also has a YEAR of free lesson plans! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You have Successfully Subscribed!