Math Tip Monday- Back to School Edition

I am so excited to be hosting Math Tip Monday with my friend Theresa from Theresa's Teaching Tidbits. This new monthly linky came about on our plane ride home from the Teachers Pay Teachers conference in Vegas last month. We wanted to create a way for primary teachers to share their best math ideas and collaborate with others. Be sure to check back on the first Monday of the month for our newest postings.

This month we are all focusing on Back to School Math Ideas. I'm going to share with you how I organize my materials and prepare for the year. 

First comes the unpacking process. I always have such great intentions to organize at the end of the school year but somehow energy brainpower time always seems to get away from me. I start my year by putting all of my math materials in one area. Please note- these pictures are coming to you live, straight from the mess of my room and are not quite the picture perfect classroom images I dream about sharing, but let's be real....unpacking always gets worse before it gets better!

I like to have one area with all of my math materials for easy access. I also like to label each item so my students can get what they need, and hopefully put things away. (I'm in the process of updating labels and will reveal the final look during my classroom tour in a few weeks).

Next to my materials (manipulatives, 120 chart, math games, dice, etc.) I have a rolly cart for math centers. I find myself teaching a brief whole group lesson and then doing guided practice. Typically this means that my students are using white boards to apply the skill or playing a partner game while I monitor. Next comes my "weeding out" process. Once a child shows mastery I send them to the rolly cart to get a math center of their choice. I like to keep a combination of centers that focus on our current standard and also spiral back to previously taught skills. My kiddos have free range of where to sit and work in the classroom as long as they are on task. I send children off to centers until I am left with the few children who need additional support. This process works well for me because I can instantly provide support for those who need it while my remaining students are engaged elsewhere. Also, this form of flexible grouping ensures that kids get support when they need it, on skills they need help with. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses and I don't want to formally group students for math because their proficiency changes so frequently.

In order to keep up with all of my centers I create storage boxes by standard. I stick a label with the Common Core standard to each center baggie and place it inside. This way, I can see everything I have to work with. The labels on each also help me remember the game's focus. Another bonus is that Administration instantly knows when  they see my kids laying on the floor playing games, they are in fact educational ;)

How do you organize math centers in your room?

Thanks for checking out a few of my organizational tips for back to school math setup. If you want to link up with us in the future please click here to learn more. We'd love to learn from as many primary teachers as possible each month. Also, here is a sneak peek as to what's coming up this year.

If you are interested in the actual math centers that I use each month, here is a collection of many of them. Enjoy!

Back to School Edition- Math Tip Monday


  1. Love the organization ideas! Thank you for posting this.

  2. Thanks for getting us organized! See you next month.

  3. Love your organization and listing the standards with the lesson that go with it!

  4. I love your organization ideas! I really love how you organize by standard, that will make it so much easier!
    Megan Shea

  5. This sounds like a great system! I will have to try it out this year. Thanks for the great idea!


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