Back To School Prep: Math Madness

I am *****THIS***** lucky that I get to keep my bulletin boards (and really anything on the wall) in tact over the summer.  I can begin changing things up at the end of a school year rather than wait until August.  Trust me, I know how much of a blessing this is!  Some teachers like to remove themselves from their classroom for a while before making any changes but I like to do this while everything that worked/didn’t work is still fresh on my mind.  I actually had my students help me do several things.  They helped guide some of the changes that I made {and then talked about how lucky my future students are because the classroom is now 1,000 times better than it was before… gee, thanks, kids!  Sometimes I forget how horrible they had it ;)}
I knew that I wanted Word Problem Strategies up on the wall.  So, I used these posters from my Workin’ On Word Problem unit.  The angle makes it look like the burlap is covering the posters, but it really isn’t!
I’ve had my number line down low for quite some time now.  But, I wasn’t fond of the arrangement.  I decided to split it into two sections and hang my number words in the middle.  My Word Problem Strategies and 100s Pocket Chart anchor the sides of the number line!
In addition to my number line, word problem strategies, number words, and 100s chart, I also keep a Math Bulletin board to the top right.  We use this for anchor charts, math work, and vocabulary.
Material and Pennant Banner:  Hobby Lobby
Border and Letters:  Mardel
I will post about the things to the right later on!  Also, I can staple to ALL of my walls.  Once again, I know how lucky I am!  I use material (for the most part) because it doesn’t fade or crinkle over the year!
I also spent *quite a bit* of time organizing my math stuff!  I had 9 years worth of files cramming up 6 filing drawers.  Every.single.time I had to open that cabinet to find something I gave up.  I just couldn’t handle the baggies flying up and trying to stuff everything back inside.  After 9 years of hating my filing cabinets, I finally tackled the MESS!  Now, instead of using 6 drawers, I only use 3… and they aren’t even jam-packed!
 In my files I kept originals of activities that I find myself regularly pulling from.  I threw away thousands of worksheets… class sets that I thought I’d get to…and outdated junk!  Side-note… I had to use post-its to label my file folders because they are black!  I didn’t want to take the time typing up labels… so I just stuck a post-it note on and wrote with a permanent marker!
After taking out printables and originals, I took all of the other “stuff” and organized them into math bins.  These bins are not for my students to utilize.  These are for me… to keep me more organized and on top of my game!  I divided my stuff into 10 categories because that’s how many matching buckets I had!  I bought my chevron plastic bins from Wal-Mart.  The bins that I have are currently sold out online, but can be found in many Wal-Mart stores.  The main thing is that you need to be able to fit paper, baggies, books, and games.  So, they can’t be a standard shoebox size.  Here are the dimensions of my bins:  14.6 x 11.4 x 6.68
Math Tub Labels:  Click HERE  (The labels are editable and I added a bunch more that you can choose from)
Inside of each math bin I have an assortment of things:  games, stations, cards, and pretty much anything that requires a baggie…
 And any books that I have on that topic.  So often I’m hunting down books to read aloud while teaching a topic and I just can’t find it anywhere!  It never fails that I find it the second I move on to a different skill!  Now all of my books are tucked away in my math bins!
This project was definitely time consuming.  I did it over the course of a couple of weeks.  One day I went through and purged A LOT of stuff (with the help of my students).  The next day I went through and sorted all of my stuff.  Then I had to sort out baggie activities, books, printables, etc.  Once I had all of that done I had to get everything in either a bin or a file folder… and label it!  While it was a grueling process, I’m so glad that I did it!  This will surely help minimize my headaches and “where did I put that again?” moments!  My goal in the next 10 years is to do the same with my ELA stuff… no need to tackle everything all at once, ha!
b2s prep math madness

Hi, I'm Amy

Hey, y’all! My name is Amy Lemons and I am passionate about providing students with both engaging and effective standards-based Math and ELA lessons.


Sample a day of Rooted in Reading with these lesson plans and activities for Reading Comprehension, Vocabulary, and Grammar!

12 Responses

  1. Love how you organized your math “stuff”!! I am struggling over where to put my number line. It's been above the board for a couple of years and I just don't know if that is the right place. It's impossible for the kids to reach it, but they LOVE to use the yard stick as a pointer. I can leave everything up over the summer too, but this year, I'm having my room painted so it. is. a. mess! Maybe the sis a sign to move the number line to a better location! Thanks for showing what you've done. It helps for me to see what others do with similar challenges! Kelly Hearts 2nd

  2. LOVE this post today! I have been teaching 32 years now and have never done such a thorough job of organizing but this has been the summer to dig in. This post has given me great ideas and the inspiration to keep going. Thank you!

  3. Guess what WAS in stock at my local Walmart here in League City, Texas? 11 of the large storage containers with lids just like yours, Amy! They had the two smaller sizes in the distressed chevron pattern but I was fortunate enough to purchase every one they had in the exact pattern you have. So, it won't hurt to look in your local Walmart as they for sure are not online.

  4. I love the chevron boxes. I actually have the large boxes like you and the smaller ones as well. Last year was my first year teaching and I am trying to get better organized. Thanks for the great idea about the math tubes! 🙂

  5. I've done the same thing. But also with my ELA stuff. My tubs and labels aren't nearly as cute but it works. My coworkers love that they can come in and borrow stuff because of the organization. 🙂 I will have to get your labels and make them that much better. 🙂

  6. Love your organization!! I did the same thing with all of my math units however I placed them all in tubs and emptied the file cabinet completely. Curious to know what math papers go in the file cabinet and which go in the tubs? Thanks!

  7. 1. the blog looks fab and 2. moving to a new classroom this year and I'm purging left and right! I like seeing how everyone organizes stuff!