I’m sharing my favorite ideas to organize and set up writing and math centers for your students! You’ll find some fun teacher hacks, the printables and activities I use, and how to put your bulletin boards to work for you!
Are you right in the middle of setting up your classroom? I really worked on a complete classroom makeover a couple of years ago. It has made my life so much easier! You can actually view a video about an easy way to organize your room by clicking the photo below. I was completely honored when TPT featured this video in a newsletter that is distributed worldwide. Seems we all need tips for keeping our classroom organized!
The other thing major thing I’ve done and I discuss it in the video mentioned above is create 2 Interactive Centers. I have 2 bulletin boards on each side of my white board. I placed a table in front of each, 2 chairs, and colorful drawers beside each table. **If you don’t have colorful drawers, consider using a box with hanging file folders. (You can click on the photos below to see my Interactive Writing or Interactive Math Centers on TPT!)
This gives you an idea of what it looked like while I was setting the center up.
On one board I tried sheet protectors to hold my choices. This is what it looked like when I first set it up.
The major thing that makes the Interactive Centers different from anything you’ve purchase on TPT is that students have a CHOICE of what they want to work on. They beg to go to the centers because having a choice is so important to them. Even kindergarten students can work independently at these centers because COLORED EXAMPLES (or B&W Examples) are included for every single activity. Your students no longer have to interrupt your small group time to ask you how to complete something. They simply look at the example on the board. They also no longer interrupt your time to say, “I’M DONE! WHAT DO I DO NOW???” If they finish one of their activities, they simply move on to another. You may have bigger bulletin boards and can offer students even more options. I like to give my kindergarten students 4 choices. I put 2 sheets they may need for reference on the bottom row and I hang the supplies they will need from a ribbon that is strung across the bottom of the board. Clothespins make it so easy to change these out as needed plus it just looks adorable!
As the year went on , I decided the board was a little too busy. I removed the ribbon on the edges of the sheet protectors and made it much easier to replace the activities. Instead of labeling the page protectors with words like “journal” or “book cover” that I was constantly having to change out, I simply added a 1,2,3, or 4 pencil. All of these labels, the bulletin board title, and the numbered pencils come with the resource on TPT!
Students look at the choices and go to the corresponding numbered drawer. If I want to do option one, I look in drawer number one. If I choose option 2, I look in drawer number two for my supplies.
Keep in mind that this is just a SAMPLE of the possible options on my board in August. There are many different Options included in my Interactive Writing Center on TPT. For this example, option one is labeling. Students will find labeling sheets in the drawer and a colored (or B & W) sample on the bulletin board.
Option 2 is the Class Journal. We LOVE our class journals so much! At the end of each month we staple all of the pages together, add the author page, and cover page and place the journals in our class library. Students LOVE to check those out from the library. The pages get progressively more difficult as the year goes on. I’ve also included a journal appropriate for preschool through kindergarten students and a separate class journal for first through second grade students.
Option 3 is that students can design a book cover. They love this one!
In this example, students will design a lunch note for option 4. If they aren’t sure what to do, they can simply look at the colored (or B & W) example on my bulletin board.
Again, this is just an example. I love that the resource on TPT has writing practice for every major holiday, poetry practice, and ways to respond to texts.
Let’s move on to the Interactive Math Center. I really love the way this turned out. I spent an entire year working on this center for you. I decided to decorate some clipboards with wrappping paper. It was such an inexpensive way to redo these boring old clipboards. The clipboards are also even easier to change out than the page protectors I used on my Interactive Writing Center.
In August when I start using my centers, I will only give kids 2 options. This is an example of how it might look at first.
The bottom row has a reference sheet to use as needed. If students choose option 1, they will be putting the shape puzzles together.
Option 2 is to sort flat shapes.
Of course in the writing center you will need to make copies but I love that the math center has lots of reusable activities, from sorting to puzzles to clip cards! Let me share some other examples of how your board may look.
There are so many cute activities included. You simply change out the activities and samples on the board to go along with what your students are working on!
Please let me know if you’ve tried my Interactive Centers. I would love to hear about your experience!
Happy Teaching & Mommy-ing this week friends!