This post is part of a 3-part series that will teach you:

**1. How to Set Up and Organize Math Centers**

**2. How to Run Math Centers**

As a Reading Specialist, I’ve got differentiating down. I am confident in my ability to analyze data, create a game plan, and create opportunities for my students to be successful. However, math is an area I’ve wanted to be better at. I don’t know if it’s because math is after lunch and I’m drained {and sometimes irritable} or if it’s because math isn’t my favorite. I’m going with the latter!

**In my dream world, I’d love to run math centers like I do with my Literacy Workshop time.**However, I’m just trying to get by this year…so I’m taking baby steps. I decided to set up a math center for my early finishers. Teaching a 1/2 class, this has been a life-saver! While I’m teaching a lesson to my first graders, my 2nd graders are normally doing a math center. When I’ve got my 2nd graders on the carpet, my 1st graders are finishing up their independent practice from the math book and then they choose a math center to work on.

Let me start off by saying that setting up math centers was pretty simple. I grabbed some cute baskets for storage, found a space that was out of the way, and thought about some of the skills I wanted to my kiddos to practice.

I bought these colorful baskets at Big Lots in August.

I used a plastic shoe organizer to put flash cards, dice, Expo markers, and other essentials in. It’s easy for students to get to and the clear plastic lets the kiddos know where everything is.

To make the centers more fun, I buy cute bags from the Dollar Bin or 99cent story, depending on the month. This cute lovebot was for February.

To save on laminate, I print out games on cardstock and stick them in the heavy duty Dry Erase Sleeves from the Target Dollar Bin. I bought them over the summer and haven’t seen them since. Oriental Trading also has a dozen for 12.75, what a bargain! I have also stuck them in sheet protectors and they’ve worked well.

**Teacher Tips for Math Materials:**

Tired of dice flying all over the place, just put them in this magnetic spice holder! I bought several at Michael’s for 1.99.

An easy way to keep your flashcards together is to hole punch them and use a circle clip or metal shower hook to hold them together! I buy flash cards at the 99cent store or Target. Target has great ones write now that are made of dry-erase material and come with a marker. I teach a 1/2, but I make sure to add multiplication and division flashcards as well, to challenge my high learners.

Student whiteboards are an essential component of math centers. Trust me, you’ll save copy paper and your kiddos will feel so fancy writing on their white board. Since we use whiteboards several times throughout the day, students keep their whiteboard, Expo, and eraser at their desk.

I hope some of these tips will help you set up your math centers. Stay tuned for {Part 2} How to Run Math Centers.

Join my linky party with some ideas about how you’ve set up math centers in your class! Use the button above in your blog post and link up! I can’t wait to see all of the amazing things happening in your class.

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C Hath says

The Dollar Tree, and Target dollar spot are my favorite places to find things for math!! I love finding great things to use for manipulatives to use in math from there!! I also love finding ways to organize my math materials with fun and creative ways to present the math games or centers to my students. I can't wait for your next part of this linky too! Thank you!!

Mrs. 3rd Grade

Melanie Arizmendi says

Thank you so much!! I've been wanting to begin using math centers since the beginning of the year, but have felt overwhelmed. This post has really helped. Can't wait for the next two parts!!

Phoenix pre-k says

The owner is a very warm, caring individual who understood the emotions a first time mom would experience when leaving her child with a daycare facility.

Hoots and Hollers says

Just found your site today and linked up! Thanks so much for sharing all of your wonderful ideas and the opportunity to link up. :0)

Smiles,

Sarah @ Hoots N' Hollers

Leslie Moore says

I am just beginning to incorporate my math centers. I love them and so do the kids! I have a question though: How do you grade the center work??? I have two separate math groups and struggle with the plastic sleeves. I have been running off papers instead. Any ideas???

Kristen says

Leslie,

To be honest, I don't grade everything. I'll do a quick check to see that they understand the concept. Or if I'm running a small group, I'll call one of my strugglers over to show me what they've got. It's more of an independent thing so I let them be off on their own. We go over the lesson for the day together. I'll leave my TE under the document camera and they correct their work and hold it up so I can see. As you can tell, I'm not a huge fan of grading tons of work. The quick check makes it easy for me. Hope this helps