Sunday, August 30, 2015

Organizing Math Manipulatives

Organizing and storing math manipulatives is not an easy task.  For two years, my storage and ability to use manipulatives with kids was a hodgepodge of ziploc baggies, bins, and if I am honest, a HOT MESS!  This summer, I spent quite a bit of time organizing my math manipulatives before I started working on organizing and setting up my classroom.

I started by sorting out all of the students' addition and subtraction fluency cards, their skip counting cards, their fact family cards, and secret code cards to ensure that each student had all the cards they were supposed to have.  The red, orange, blue, yellow and green cards are from Math Expressions, and the skip counting cards were created by The Happy Teacher.

Once all the card packs were sorted, I cut apart a shoe organizer I bought from the Dollar Store ($6.00) and numbered each slot.  I hung it on the wall below my calendar math activities.  By splitting the shoe organizers into twos, students can easily access their math fluency cards.

Once I got this task accomplished, I moved on to the manipulatives students used on a daily basis.

I took 4 blue baskets, again, purchased at the dollar store, and put these materials in each basket.  Each basket holds enough materials for six students.  Each student has Styrofoam cups for expanded notation, base ten blocks, 2-sided counters, coins and dollar bills, three different number lines, a ten-frame, and a number chart with numbers through 120.  Thanks Primary Graffiti!!!! 

In the box containers are the items used for math workstations.  When a game or activity are taught, it is put into the math workstations.  They are separated into numbers 1-6.  I split students into groups - heterogeneous at first and then by ability.  The games are customized to each group's ability level.  

On the lid students will find basic directions for the various activities in the box.  Students take their workstation box to their designated spot in the classroom and practice their math skills.  

I put the rest of my math manipulatives and games in small storage bins.  On the front of each bin is the type of math to make it easy to pull when it's time to use.  

For each game or activity inside the box, each piece is numbered.  That way, if one is separated from the bag, I know right where to put it.  

It is time consuming, and makes a great summer project, which of course doesn't really help now.  But, if you have a parent helper who is not comfortable working with students, this is a perfect activity for him or her.  

Alright.  It's time for me to sign off.  Here's hoping my math manipulatives stay nice and organized this year!