When I first started teaching, file folders were all the rage to store your math centers in. I would love to tell you that I had a fancy way of organizing them…but really, I labeled them with the game and then hopefully I remembered to add the skill. Organizing math centers was not my favorite thing to do and I would happily skip that if I could.

Why you should organize your math standards by units…

When you think about organizing your math centers, you need to make sure that you are being realistic. I know that is easier said than done. Originally, I stored them in folders but never cared what they were labeled. Then I did something really silly and labeled them by standards.

Why don’t I label them by standards anymore? Well- my state stopped using CCSS and started using Florida Standards. Guess what I would have to completely change over? All of my labels. Nope. I like to work smarter…not harder!

I ended up storing them based on the “main topic” of the math text book. Recently, we switched from Go Math! to Pearson. Each part of the book is called a topic and I was able to label each section as a topic instead of a skill. For example, Adding & Subtracting Decimals, Adding & Subtracting Fractions, Multiplication, Multiplying Fractions, Dividing Fractions, etc. When we switched companies, the topics stayed the same. The boxes were labeled this way so that when I was ready to dive into that unit, I pulled out the box and pulled out all of the centers.

How to Organize Your Math Centers

There are SOOOO many options for your math centers. I have gone through several options and now I will show you which one has worked out brilliantly for me. I highly recommend that you get boxes that will fit your centers. For example, my centers are half pages or full pages. Getting the little photo boxes will not work for me. However, they may work for your centers. I do use the photoboxes for my task cards

Step #1

Choose your boxes.

I use the Iris Project case for each unit. I bought them as a 6 pack.

Another pack that I have used in my classroom is the photo boxes. I use these ALL of the time when we are using task cards. We have 2-3 of these in the classroom.

My least favorite one but did the job was the file folders. I don’t use file folder anymore. If there are multiple pieces involved, I will use a paperclip or a binder clip.

Math Spinners in the Iris Box
Math Spinners in the Iris Box

Step #2

Organize them in your own way. I am going to give you a variety of methods to choose from. This will be your own choice but I HIGHLY recommend that whatever you choose to do, make sure it makes sense.

By StandardsA great way to great students based on the skill.You need to know your standards so when searching you can find it quickly.๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ
By SkillAll the skills for that topic will be in one place. You won’t have multiple topics blended together.You will probably need more boxes because there are more skills than topic than unit.๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ
By PurchaserIf you purchase through the same person constantly or a variety, you will be able to find it in that one box.You have to remember where you purchased the center from and what you need.๐ŸŒŸ
By Type of CenterIf you have a massive variety of centers, this one is good! You know that you can look in your spinners bin and find all of your spinners. You can find all of your task cards in one place etc. The con is that you may have to spend time sorting through all of the centers. ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ
By UnitThe entire chapter is in one place.You have to separate the lessons out.๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ
Pros & Cons of Organizing Math Notes

Step #3

Now that you know the way you want to organize them, you need to organize. I usually laminate EVERYTHING that goes in these bins. Why? First is so that when I need to wipe them down, it won’t run the center. Second, they maintain their original look. It definitely helps for the next step.

Step #4

Lastly, I love the post it notes on the center. I will label the top of the post-it notes with the quick version of what the center is. For example, if it’s spinners, I will just label it “Spinners” and keep it simple. When I am looking through the box, I am able to find the center pretty quickly.

Math Centers in iris Box
Math Centers in iris Box

Step #5

Now store it somewhere safe. Put them in your cabinets, or on top of your cabinets, or anywhere safe.

Put it away when you’re done!

I know this sounds super silly but you need to make sure once the students finish with the center you wipe it down and then add it back into the correct bin. The last thing you want is to keep searching for the missing center or constantly adding to your bins.

Keep it clean!

Organizing your math centers isn’t that hard. Like I said above, make a smart choice with how you want to organize it and how you want to make sure that you store it.

Do you need some math centers?

Below you can download a free math center to use in your classroom immediately!!

Similar Posts