New Year, New Ideas, New Possibilities Linky Party: Grab and Go Math Centers

I am super excited to link up with Primary Possibilities for the New Year, New Ideas, New Possibilities Linky Party!

Everyone involved in this linky party is guest blogging on someone else's blog, so if you follow the circle, you'll actually end back here! How fun!! I'm actually guest blogging at Fun in 1st Grade, so make sure you head over there once you're done reading. So sit back, relax, and ENJOY this awesome post written by Julie from Primary Pointe. She has a FAB solution to keeping your math bins organized!!

Hello Hippo Hooray for Second Grade followers!  My name is Julie.  I am a kindergarten teacher, blogger, ballet student and crafting-crazy cat lady!  My blog is called Primary Pointe.  I use my blog to reach out to my kindergarten families and other teachers of little learners.    
Today I will be sharing my math manipulative bins makeover.   These bins are for the early finishers during our math center rotation.  Let me tell you…  they definitely had little hands all over them!  Here’s what they looked like before winter break.

I totally hear Jimmy Fallon's "EW" voice!
I like the idea of having open-ended activities available, but with structure.  These activities provide little learners an opportunity to select their own materials and activity to support their math learning.   I work hard to train the children to be responsible and purposeful during this time.  It builds a sense of self-motivation and responsibility for their own learning… skills that will take them well beyond a practice worksheet!

Here are the changes I made to add some structure to this messy BUT essential independent learning time!  I am calling them Grab and Go bins.  That way the kids know to just take a bin and take it to a spot in our classroom.  It’s meant to be a quick and easy transition from their assigned math center to independent learning time.

1. Control how many options the children have. I decided to take out a lot of the manipulatives, so the bins weren’t overflowing and CLOSED (YES, I did!!!) the bins that I did not want to be used yet.  Don’t worry…  I’ll get back to this part soon!

2. Label it and bag it up!  I posted labels for each manipulative to showcase them for the week.  These four bins are what we are starting with.  Ziploc bags aren’t the prettiest way to store all our “stuff” but they are easy for the children to manipulate, organize and find the manipulatives they are looking for.  I used Ziploc bags for the beads bin and for storing sorting cards for the linking shapes.  Like the labels?  You can grab them right here!

3. Anchor charts.  Above the labels, you will see blank anchor charts.  These will set the guidelines for what is expected when using the Grab-and-Go bins.  Why are they blank???  Well, the children will show me what counting, sorting, patterning and adding looks like during centers.  I will take pictures and post them on the anchor charts as a visual reminder of the choices they have at the Grab and Go bins. 
Thank you to Graphics from the Pond for the borders!
During the next few weeks, I will rotate the bins so the children have the opportunity to learn and practice using math manipulatives the correct way.  The goal is to take the CLOSED sign down!  It’s going to take a lot of time, practice and daily reminders to get them there, but I know they can do it!
As evidence that they are ready for ALL of the math bins, I have a chart for the little learners to fill out.  Teachers can also use this chart as a summarizing strategy at the end of center time.
Click on the picture above for a FREE copy!
As I mentioned earlier, the Grab and Go bins are in addition to the other independent learning activities assigned during the center rotation.  Of course I get the BEST ideas from Pinterest.  Here is a link to my Pinterest board for math centers.  Hope you can find something to use with your little learners!
Thank-you Primary Possibilities for hosting the blog exchange.  I can’t wait to meet some new blogging buddies and find out about all the wonderful things you are doing in your classroom!

WOW! Thanks Julie for the organizational tips! Now head over to Fun in 1st Grade to check out my post on how to spice up your calendar!



  1. Hi Angela!
    I LOVE your hippo-themed blog! All my students know that hippos are my favorite, so they tend to come up often in our activities...all your hippos on here are just too cute.

    Learning to the Core

  2. Great idea! I hope to have math centers and stations worked into my schedule for next year.
    Thanks for linking up!

  3. Awesome organization! My organization structure right now is hard to keep up with. I would love to try something like this!

    I'm your newest follower. Stop by my blog if you have the chance :)
    The Fabulous First Grade


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