Creating a School Math Closet - Mrs. B's First Grade

Creating a School Math Closet

Do you have a book room for guided reading books? We do. Our room is lined with bookshelves holding boxes with guided reading books. It is open to all teachers and has a check out system. Do you have something similar for math? We didn't either until we decided to change that...

Our School uses Bridges Math by The Math Learning Center. In our program there are several math workplaces (or centers) that go with each grade level. When first beginning the program, they were time consuming to put together. Once we had them though we were golden. Until we realized the possibility to differentiate with them.

In my first grade classroom, my students are at a WIDE range of levels in all academic areas. Can you relate?
I meet weekly with a differentiation team to make sure I am meeting the needs of my learners. We talk about my lesson plans and decide how we can differentiate them. We were always talking about borrowing a center from either second grade or kindergarten when it hit us...

Why not put centers in a common area and share them?

Why didn't we think of this earlier? We had a book room, so we needed a math room too! The problem was space. The book "room" is really a large closet. There wasn't anything else like that at the school. We took a field trip and walked around. We discovered there was a large cabinet in a resource room that could be taken over. The differentiation team and I decided we were going to get this done.

This is where the fun started.

We emailed the teachers asking for their centers.

Easier said then done, right?

This was actually a long process. We arranged with the principal for teachers to have substitutes so that they could organize all of their current centers and add any materials needed to them. We provided them with ziplock bags and stickers with the center name and Common Core Standards addressed on them. We also provided them with cardstock copies of all the center directions and masters. If we had not given them these, they would have had to make copies from their teacher manuals.
We left a list for teachers to write supplies that they needed to order to complete their centers.

Once the centers were FINALLY done (not going to lie - this took awhile!) we sorted them into bins from Lakeshore Learning Store. We made one bin for each standard. The centers addressed multiple standards, so we decided that we would use the first standard listed on the label to decide where it went.
A work in progress - life isn't always pretty! 
Lastly, we created a check out sheet so that we knew where the centers were. We sorted and put out manipulatives by closet and printed/laminated a list of the centers by grade level, unit, and organized by Common Core Standards so that the information was right there.

To celebrate, we had a ribbon cutting ceremony! We tied a large red ribbon, had muffins (it was in the morning) and cut out numbers for the table. It was a fun way to kick off the new resource and thanks teachers for their hard work.
Do you have a math room or closet? I would love to hear about it!

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