Imagine this: It’s Friday and you’re ready to get out of your classroom, go home, see your family, maybe have a small bottle of wine…I mean glass of wine and just relax. You totally deserve it, and you do! Then Sunday night rolls around and all of the relaxing you did turns into sheer panic when you realize your math centers aren’t ready! How many of you have been here before? I can’t say it’s never happened to me because it totally has! It happens to literally every single teacher. However, this can be combated by organizing math centers BEFORE you hit that bubble bath on Friday night.
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#1: Start with a Plan!
You’re probably thinking, “Make a plan? I make a plan every week!” Yes, you do! However, you need to make a specific plan for organizing your math centers. I used to believe that my centers had to align perfectly with lesson plans for that week. That’s just not true! Math centers have a totally different reason. You should be using math centers to help review and enrich material that your students have already learned. In fact, from my experience, using the activities you are currently learning in class is a hindrance to your students. This all relates back to my Easy Centers Framework concept of clarity!
This makes organizing math centers even easier! You shouldn’t be giving your students anything they haven’t already learned. I actually don’t put any activities in my centers that my students haven’t seen for at least two weeks. What does that mean for planning my centers? The work is already done because I did it two weeks ago. All I need to do is look back at what my students had been learning two weeks ago and add those standards to my centers.
So, on Friday afternoon, I pulled out my lesson plans from two weeks ago, grabbed the centers that aligned with those centers, and I was ready to go. I didn’t have to spend hours organizing anything because it was already done.
#2: Prepare Your Math Centers a Month Ahead…Or More!
In order to have my math centers organized, I always make sure I have at least a month of centers ready to go. That means they are cut out, laminated, and organized into boxes with labels that are easy to find. This all comes back to functionality which is another part of my Easy Centers Framework program.
You have to have a ready supply of activities ready to effectively organize math centers.
That’s why our kindergarten, first, second, third, fourth, and fifth grade math and literacy centers bundles are so great to use. You will get so many fun activities students can do independently because they don’t have to relearn activities. All you need to do is print, laminate (if you want to), and cut out the needed pieces. I even made sure you can easily cut out each piece with a paper cutter so you don’t have to spend so much time (and hand strength) cutting small pieces.
You can find math and literacy centers that are themed for holidays with our Volume 1 centers. However, if you’re not a fan of holiday themes, you can check out Volume 2. This has several different themes but none of them are specific to the season or holiday.
#3: Organizing Math Centers
Now that you know how to get everything you need to get your math centers organized for students, you have to organize math centers for you! I always take my math centers and organize them into iris boxes. Each one is labeled with the approximate month I think I will use them in. Now, I say approximate because you never know what’s going to happen. However, by having them really close, you can make switching out centers incredibly easy.
All you need to do when you are finished with the centers for that week is take the boxes students have been using, replenish any supplies, and put them away. Then, pull out what you need for the next week and set it out. If you are always organizing math center boxes as you finish with them, you’ll be able to simply pull out the centers you need for that week and go home! All of this took no more than 10 minutes. Plus, you can grab a free guide for organizing math centers making your teacher life even easier! No more Sunday night blues for you!
Organizing your math centers can seem like a daunting task that can wait till Sunday night, but why give yourself the anxiety? By using my Easy Centers Framework, your students will be able to review and enrich their math skills with ease. Plus, you’ll be able to enjoy your weekend stress free!