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Thursday, July 1

3 Tips to Keep Your Math Manipulatives Organized All Year Long

math-manipulatives

“Do you see how those fraction pieces line up perfectly? That shows that they are equivalent.” This and countless similar conversations take place at my guided math table every year with the help of our math manipulatives. I adore math manipulatives! If we’re being honest, I am kind of obsessed with math manipulatives. If there's a teacher who is getting rid of old supplies, a yard sale on my block, or a rockin’ Amazon deal on math manipulatives then I am all over it! I love the way math manipulatives gift my students the opportunity to see, touch, and explore math concepts. As amazing as math manipulatives are, how do you keep them all organized? How do you teach your students to return your math manipulatives to a special space and keep your math block running smoothly? As I say to my students, don’t fret! Over the years I’ve come up with three messy-class-proof ways to organize and maintain your math manipulative station. Read more to learn my top three tips for keeping your math manipulatives organized all year long.


Tip #1 to Keep Your Math Manipulatives Organized All Year Long- Use Pictures


I used to store my math manipulatives in labeled bins. Clear enough for organizational ease right? Not exactly. Remember teacher friend, you are not the only one using your math manipulatives, your kiddos are too. Keep organization simple for them by adding pictures to your math manipulative labels! You would be amazed at how seamlessly math manipulatives are returned to their correct containers once a visual cue is involved! It’s not that students are unable to read math manipulative labels, but I have found the visual picture cues are all the nudge they need to keep our math manipulative station looking spick and span. No more picking unifix cubes out of the one's tub (can I get a woot woot!)


Want these math manipulative labels for your classroom? THEY’RE FREE! Just click HERE or the picture below to download your FREE math manipulative labels now!


math-manipulatives



Tip #2 to Keep Your Math Manipulatives Organized All Year Long- Keep it Easily Accessible 


Want your kiddos to explore, use, and return math manipulatives? Keep them easily available to access and put away. I have found that the more difficult/ inconveniently placed the math tools are, the more likely they will be shoved in someone's desk (insert teacher groan) and less likely to be returned to where they belong. In my classroom, I keep my math manipulatives on a low shelf that is easy for my students to access and reach. Easy to access and easy to return is the key here. Additionally, I store all my math manipulatives under my math bulletin board. This makes it easy for my students to find and remember where all the math tools are should they need to use them.

math-manipulatives



Tip #3 to Keep Your Math Manipulatives Organized All Year Long- Teach and Reteach Expectations


As teachers, we know that the key to any good classroom practice is clear expectations. I spend ample time at the beginning of the year teaching my math block expectations. I take time to model how each part of the math block should look and sound. Seems easy enough right? You can even take real photos of your kids doing an amazing job at each math station and post it on your math bulletin board as another visual cue (they love this!) It is easy, but no amount of active modeling will keep your math block running smoothly all year. If you want your math manipulatives to stay organized and not turn into a chaos corner, you will have to do expectation booster lessons at various points throughout the year. 

math-manipulatives



There you have it teacher friend, my top three tips for keeping your math manipulatives organized all year long. How will you implement these tips in your classroom? I would love to see your setup! Tag me in your math manipulative organization photos on Instagram at Instagram.com/TailsofTeaching


Wait you almost forgot! Remember to grab your FREE math manipulative labels! Click the download button below to get you FREE math manipulative labels now.


teacher-freebie


math-manipulatives




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