Want to create a balanced schedule to fit EVERYTHING into your math block?

Join me for a FREE, Guided Math workshop to discover how to easily incorporate Guided Math into your current schedule! 

6 Ideas for Organizing your Math Centers

Organizing math centers is key to keeping your items organized so that they are easy to find from year to year. Math center time and stations are a great way to engage your learners for the entire school year, but they can easily become overwhelming with the amount of manipulatives and task cards involved.

Math station organization

Not only am I going to give you some tips on organizing math centers and math lessons, but I’m also going to share with you simple ways to prep your materials once and for all.

Prepping Your Math Centers

When prepping and organizing math centers, I recommend that the first thing you do is print onto card stock and laminate to begin your organization system. This ensures that your materials will last. I have a personal laminator that has been a lifesaver and has become one of my favorite things for my classroom space! These can be found at Walmart, Target, or Amazon for around $20. The lamination is much more durable than the flimsy film that most school laminators have. I buy my sheets in bulk from Amazon as well. 

If you do not read anything else in this blog post, please do not miss what I am about to say!

DO NOT make multiple sets of the same stations for each child to have their own during center rotations.

organizing math station materials

That takes up way too much time. If you are using task cards in math centers, print 1 or 2 sets onto different colored paper for students to share. The different colors allow the cards to not get mixed up.

If you prefer to print in color, label the back of each set of cards with all the same number or color to keep them from getting mixed up. 

If an activity includes some sort of game board, I make 3 sets so that they can work in partners. I never have more than 6 students in a group so 3 copies is plenty for students to share. 

organizing math station materials

Organizing Your Math Centers

1. Ziploc Baggies

I like to keep things super simple. Plus, I’ll admit, I’m cheap. Also, ziplocs from the Dollar Tree are on most school supply lists. Most of my centers or stations are stored in gallon ziplock bags. Each bag contains the direction pages, the recording sheets, and all the big and small pieces. 

math station organization with ziploc bags
math station organization with ziploc bags

2. Different Colored Sandwich Bags

Look for different colored sandwich sized bags at your local dollar store. I was able to find some that were red, green, and blue.

For each set of cards, I added that color dot to the back. All the blue dot cards go in the blue bag. It helps getting pieces from getting mixed up. 

math station organization with ziploc bags

3. Poly Zip Folder

These poly zip folders are actually my favorite way to store my center supplies.

They are large enough to hold a full sheet of paper and still close where as gallon zip loc bags are not. They easily stand up in a file cabinet or crate where as a plastic bag will fall down and they are more durable.

math station organization with polyzip folders

The only downside is that they can be expense. I purchase mine off of Amazon and 16 envelopes for $16. 

math station organization with polyzip folders

4. Manila Folders

You can also store your centers and math materials in manila folders. I recommend laminating them so that they will last. All of your pieces and recording sheets go inside.

Math Station Organization with Manila Folders

5. Large Plastic Containers

For longterm storage, I use these 9×12 Sterilite containers. Each container holds one set month of math centers. I also buy these from Amazon but they can be found at any department store. 

math station organization
math station organization

6. Drawer Carts

Drawer carts are great storage containers for math center organization. Mine are organized by concept. I purchased this cart from Sam’s for around $25. They can also be found at Michaels but are more expensive there. 

You can see mine in the photo below. I have a designated drawer for each concept. This is where I keep any activities related to that concept so that I can grab them at any time to store my math manipulatives and more.

math station classroom setup

Other Math Center Organizational Tool Options

Some other storage solutions include file plastic folders, but know that pieces can easily fall out. For long term storage you could use a drawer in a filing cabinet or store them in a crate. 

Now it’s time to think it through. You need to decide what type of storage solution is going to be best for you. Can you use something that you already have in a creative way in your math classroom? What do you need to purchase to stay organized for the entire year?

If you are looking on how to get started with Guided Math time, have this FREE E-book sent straight to your inbox! Simply fill out the form below!

You can also check out this blog post that explains what Guided Math is and how you can get started.

Pin the image below to refer back to this post when needed!


You might also like...