How I plan to never pass out math manipulatives again!

One of the things that I KNOW is a huge time suck is passing out math manipulatives.  Counting them out, making sure everyone has what they need and then looking for all the things that are dropped when we aren't supposed to playing with them really eats into the time of the lesson.  Well, I am working on changing that. Enter my table drawers.  OK, I need a much catchier name than that! Anyway, here is my new-to-me organization station for each table.  Ain't it pretty?

Each table has one of these in front of it.  Plus I have an extra one in hopes I can get rid of desks and make 5 smaller groups instead of 4 large groups.  Each organization station (I'm liking that!) has 3 drawers (I found these at Wal-Mart, but I know Target has them, too).  Each drawer will hold math manipulatives, white boards and other items we might need during the day.  I am thinking of putting in bottles of glue, extra pencils and erasers, but I haven't made my mind up fully on that yet.  I may even add some paper in the drawers, but I always have that out and ready for anything we could do.

Here is my top drawer.  Things have been put in there haphazardly for now, as I was in a time crunch when I did this.  So far there is a basket of linking cubes, bags of counters (10 in each bag for now...we will add more later), bags of playing cards, a container of dice and a container of 1's cubes.  I'm hoping the students will choose what they want to use, put it away neatly and keep it organized.  Funny, right?

The middle drawer right now is sad.  It has whiteboards and nothing else.  I don't even have markers in there.  I think the markers will stay at the desks and the kids will be responsible for keeping track of their own special marker.  It could happen.  Last year my kids had their own personal highlighters and they never lost one!  Impressive!  We couldn't keep our crayons, but we never lost a highlighter!

Drawer 3 has some items we will use later.  There are teddy bears (I think I will move those up to drawer 1), tens rods and rulers.  This way almost everything we need is in one place and can easily be reached by the kids.  They will know where to put things away, too!  I think I will assign a table captain each day or week and they will be in charge of keeping it tidy.  We will add items in there as we need them.  I do have some shapes that need to be organized into smaller groups as well as clocks for later.  As I find stuff, I will add it in.  We will see how it works, as it will be a learning process for us all!  

If you're wondering, the tub on top is our recycling bucket. Any paper scraps we have go in there and at the end of the day we dump it into the recycling bin.  It really helps cut down on kids walking back and forth to the bin and leaving a trail of trash along the way.  The students get very insistent that their table mates clean up their mess before going anywhere.  It's quick and accessible for all and makes it much quieter in the room!  It may not be everyone's ideal way of doing things, but it's worked for me!

After working (cleaning) in my room today, I am basically ready to start getting ready for the first day of school.  It feels like there are a million things to do, but it's all the little things that need focus and more than 90 minutes at school.  Next week I will go in for a bit each day and then not go in Friday to enjoy the last day of vacation with my daughter.  Come August 10, it's back to school for us all!  She actually starts that day while it's meeting time for me!  

Here's to a nice weekend relaxing with my little family, trying to stay out of the heat!

1 comment:

  1. Ack...it always astounds me how many teachers are going back (or already are -- a gal in my book club started this week!). I can't even imagine. When I was in a year-round school, we started back the 2nd week of August....if that was true now and we started when you did, I'd see kids on my birthday (August 10). No thanks! :)

    Anyway...two of my colleagues use a similar table organization system to this but it is for big textbooks and some shared supplies. I haven't tried it because I feel like it makes their rooms look cluttered with the extra stuff on the end. I think I would like it more if I had smaller table/desks than we do.