Math station organization is key to keeping your items organized so that they are easy to find from year to year. Stations are wonderful tools to use for engaging your learners, but they can easily become overwhelming with the amount of manipulatives and task cards involved.
Not only am I going to give you some tips on how to organize your math stations, but I’m also going to share with you simple ways to prep your materials once and for all.
Prepping Your Stations
When prepping your math stations, I recommend that you print onto card stock and laminate. This ensures that your materials will last. I have a personal laminator that has been a lifesaver! 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.
That takes up way too much time. If you are using task cards, 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 Your Stations
1. Ziploc Bags
I like to keep things super simple. Plus, I’ll admit, I’m cheap. Also, ziplocs are on most school supply lists. Most of my stations are stored in gallon ziplock bags. Each bag contains the direction pages, the recording sheets, and all the pieces.
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.
3. Poly Zip Folder
These poly zip folders are actually my favorite way to store my centers.
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 ziplock will fall down and they are more durable.
The only downside is that they can be expense. I purchase mine off of Amazon and 16 envelopes for $16.
4. Manila Folders
You can also store your stations in manila folders. I recommend laminating them so that they will last. All of your pieces and recording sheets go inside.
5. Large Plastic Containers
For longterm storage, I use these 9×12 Sterilite containers. Each container holds one set month of stations. I also buy these from Amazon but they can be found at any department store.
6. Drawer Carts
Drawer carts are great for math station 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.
Other Math Station Organization Options
Some other storage solutions include file 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? What do you need to purchase?
If you are looking on how to get started with Guided Math, check out this blog post that explains what Guided Math is and how you can get started.
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