Math Manipulative Organization

It's time to talk math organization! I am a firm believer that students must be able to access manipulatives--whether they be counters, rulers, dice, or whatever--without an adult passing them out and saying "Today you will use these!".

As mentioned in the Common Core, students need to be able to successfully "Use appropriate tools strategically", and helping them know how and when to select them is key. Below you will find one of my favorite storage system for miscellaneous "counters", so that students can take a drawer right back to their work space whenever needed. You can see the bucket of rulers and protractors next to it, and the shelves below house dice, calculators, base 10 blocks, and other math supplies.
Students need to learn to access and use math manipulatives independently, so we need to have classroom organization strategies to help!  Check out this post about how I organize math supplies.
These awesome drawer sets come in a variety of shapes and sizes. This one was pretty reasonable at a local home improvement store...I have put an affiliate link to one on Amazon here if you are interested.  It's not identical--but similar.

Each drawer gets filled with a variety of different counters...some "standard" issue ones--and others that I have picked up at the dollar store and other fun places! Mini erasers, bingo counters, plastic "gems" from the floral area...all work just great and are super inexpensive.
Students need to learn to access and use math manipulatives independently, so we need to have classroom organization strategies to help!  Check out this post about how I organize math supplies.
To me, the most important thing is that students have easy access to everything they need WITHOUT prompting. We want them to independently use tools and to THINK about what will help them solve the problems they encounter!
Students need to learn to access and use math manipulatives independently, so we need to have classroom organization strategies to help!  Check out this post about how I organize math supplies.
This is my trusty dusty math cart...a shelf for a tub of markers and a tub of fabric squares for erasers and the top shelf for my whiteboards. We can wheel it to wherever the math happens!  I have had a LOT of requests about where I got this cart...it's so old I can't even tell you! I have put an affiliate link on Amazon to something I think would work just as well (and actually much cuter!)
I'd love to hear any great math organization tips you might have! I love to learn new ways to make MY life easier and to make math more accessible to students.  Remember, we want students to be independent so we can free ourselves up to teach, observe, and coach! 

Rather pin this for later?  Here you go!
Students need to learn to access and use math manipulatives independently, so we need to have classroom organization strategies to help!  Check out this post about how I organize math supplies.





6 comments

  1. I have a wire rack that I house the center stations that remain constant - mainly math facts options on one side, and then there are 6 plastic shoe boxes on the other side that hold the 6 centers/stations for the week. After we do the lesson, I pull them out for the remaining time so students can work on the different options all week long.

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  2. I have to organize my Math stuff - right now all my center stuff is either filed in a binder or spilling out of various tubs on a table or lying on the carpet (I'm ashamed of the last but it's true - and it's been there for a whole week being worked on) The problem is I don't really have room for a storage cart - there are so many fixed counters in the room that I don't have many options. I'd love to have stations but it's impossible with the room layout. Will have to continue to live with the mess until inspiration strikes.

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  3. I am at home so I can't post pictures, but I have all my math manipulatives and tools in a large cubby unit. Each container is clearly labeled and accessible to the children. In addition, I have caddies that house the calculators, templates, and other laminated charts that the children use more frequently. These caddies can be carried back and forth to the tables as needed. ~Stacy @ new-in-room-202.blogspot.com

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  4. I totally switched up my math area this year in the hopes that students would be able to access the stuff more easily--AND KEEP IT PICKED UP BETTER! We are getting there but...

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  5. I LOVE this organization! Do you remember what store you got this at? Your blog is fantastic :)

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  6. Sorry I missed your comment, Holly! I got the little drawers at Lowe's, I believe!

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