Keeping Center Activities Organized

There are days when transition times between centers during Daily 5 or Math Rotations can be a hair-pulling experience. I have found that this is where students waste the most time and lose out on necessary work time, not to mention distracting others along the way... not cool ;)

What I have found is that the key is to stay as organized as possible by keeping everything in one place. That way, kids can grab what they need lickety-split and get to work anyplace in the room that they'd like.

Here's what I have found this year and I just love it:

The Place Value Words activity is available in my TpT Store HERE

Each folder contains the following:
  • small dry-erase marker
  • "eraser" {back fleece remnant from Walmart I cut with pinking sheers to roughly 5"x3"}
  • laminated activity & recording sheet
  • any extra manipulatives needed (dice, cards, baggie of coins, etc.)
The enveloped themselves are clear plastic envelopes that close with small velcro. The ones I use are from Office Depot and I couldn't be happier with how they have held up!

Now, when a student is working on Word Work in Daily 5 or Math Centers in Math Rotations, he/she can go to the drawer they need, pull out an envelope, and find someplace to work, knowing that all of the materials they need are in there to help them. Whew! What a time/sanity-saver this is!

As I mentioned, all of these envelopes are stored in labeled drawers in my lovely carts:

One side is for Word Work and the other for Math Centers. They are labeled now and just look lovely :) :)

How do you keep centers organized? Share your tips below!


  1. I love those envelopes! I need to look into adding those to my station area. This is a much better option than plastic bags.

    Fun in Room 4B

  2. Thanks for these tips - had to pin them for my summer to do list.

    Looking From Third to Fourth

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  4. Can I ask where you got the Place Value Words? I would absolutely love a copy.

  5. I have my centers in their own tub with everything my students need to do it. If they need a whiteboard marker, they get one from a cup I keep out. It was such a hassle to have a marker for every single center, and the marker cup works perfectly!
    Teaching in the Valley

  6. So much good info! I'm featuring this post on Bagels and Blogs later this morning. :)

    Math Coach’s Corner

  7. I love the envelopes! I will definitely have to make an investment! As it currently stands, I just organize everything into these buckets and the kids have to grab the materials they need that way. This is so much easier!

    I noticed also how your ran the switch from 4 to 3...I had a hard time giving up the idea of MATH rotations lol. And partly also because I have a fairly large math class... but I think it might be worth it to have 2 extra kids in the group to squeeze everything into one day. Love math facts as an early finisher station!

    I am your newest follower. :)

    Teach With All the Colors of the Wind

  8. Oh my. Love the carts! I haven't seen the double-wide before. Where did you get them? Do you have a photo now that they're labeled, or will you share how you've labeled them?

    Thanks for sharing!!