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Monday, September 7, 2015

Hello September! Bring on Fall, math centers and freebies!

I can't believe it's already September. I can't wait until it actually begins to feel like Fall. I'm trying to refrain from pulling out all the decor and scented candles! I forget how much time really flies when school is back in session. I'm sooo grateful for this 3 day weekend! But I admit it makes me wish every weekend had that extra day! Lol

So I wanted to link up with the Currently linky but its a tad late for that, I'd be number 3295 hah. I love those linkys but that one tends to fill up so quickly. So I wanted to blog but wasn't sure what to write about until an Instagram buddy gave me inspiration.

I posted this photo and @mirandalarayne (who's an awesome TN teacher BTW, follow her on insta and twitter!) Asked about my math centers. I am still working them in with our new curriculum but they have been going well so far so I'll share what works for me!

*Side note*
This summer I went to ITeach1st and was able to see one of my faves Reagan Tunstall present about her math centers and guided math layout. Although I couldn't implement my math centers in the same exact way her presentation did inspire me to use math centers in my classroom. I've used them in previous years but I'm trying to improve that area this year. Below is a link if you would like to see some of her post about guided math.


Number talks/ Spiral Review

I I begin my math lesson every day with number talks or a problem of the day. This is a countywide initiative where I teach so number talks and spiral review problems are provided by the county. This takes about 5-10 min. 

These half composition notebooks are where we write our problem of the day. I added labels.

Mini Lesson

Next we begin our lesson. As I said earlier we have a new math curriculum, and I'm definitely still getting used to it. Our lessons seem more broken down with this new program. Because of this latley I have strived to have a 20-30 min mini lesson whole group. This is when we review vocabulary, refer to habits of mind and habits of interaction, try out concepts on whiteboards and engage in discussions or partner talk about our math. It may also be a time to show a video that demonstrates the concept.


If we have a new center I introduce it before I give the rundown for the day. I demonstrate the activity whole group.

Then I let them know their centers for the day. We use the MATH acronym but I've seen others use BUILD or STACK. I prefer 4 rotations for our time frame. Each center has a basket with the corresponding letter and an activity inside.

M- Math Facts

These are centers like flashcards, number order games, number recognition activities, addition & subtraction Facts

They were playing roll and color. Roll the big foam dice, color the number. First to fill their row wins.

A- At my desk

This is where the student is typically working on something independently. It may be a worksheet or some other type of activity. Last week our activity was filling in blank 120 grids.

T- Teacher's Choice

I use this center flexibly. If it is a newer concept and I want to review with all group members I may have them come to my small group area. If I know of some friends that need reteaching I may call them to my table while the rest of the group practice skills on computers or at a center in the T basket.

H- Hands On

This is where the students do something, usually with manipulatives, that tie into the recent lessons. This may be modeling addition or subtraction problems. playing with a large 120 grid, etc. 

Setting up to play "How Many Am I Hiding?" A game to practice finding missing addends.

Other Details

The length of centers can vary depending on the time remaining in my math block but I usually like at least 10-15 minutes for each. If necessary I could also limit the number of rotations. Two long rotations on day 1 ( ex. 20 minutes) and two long rotations on day 2.

I get the games and activities from a variety of places including the materials my school/ county provides, TPT, pintrest ideas, etc. I store games and centers by standard so its easy to know what games apply to what lesson.

 This year I want to improve by incorporating some reflection and metacognition time at the end of the lesson, I just want to look into how to do so effectively. We have a TDG math lab coming up so that will give me some time to consider it. 

I hope that was helpful to someone! And if you have questions feel free to ask. Since you hung in so long, why not snatch a freebie? Here are some labels to use for math centers. I use a set with magnets on my whiteboard for rotations and a set on the corresponding tub or basket. Maybe I can grab a pic with them Tuesday...anyways

(Click the picture to be taken to the freebie in my TPT store)

Enjoy your weekend!

I've already been enjoying mine!


  1. Love it! Thanks for a break down of your math time! I really want to do more with math centers! :) (And thanks for the insta shout out! ;) )