Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Organizing Centers

I joined in on Lesson Plan Diva's Center Organization Linky Party! Check it out!


While I’m not sure that I have the best handle on organizing centers, I thought I would share how I currently store things.

I have a love-hate relationship with centers.  I technically do Daily 5 style centers, but love all of the beautiful center activities amazing bloggers share.  I have started to print and laminated some centers.  I use them more or less often depending on my classes and the time of year.  This year I seem to be sticking to the D5 routine, so most of my materials are stored in a way that gives the students access and is run by them. 

I will try to straighten up and take a few more pictures tomorrow.

Listening Centers:

I use MP3 players, the computer, and Leap Pads with my students.  I load cds onto my MP3s and store the books in a crate with hanging files organized by month.  I switch out the books, that are theme and content based, every month. I store the MP3s and earphones in a container like the one below and put a basket on top for the books.  I have 3 Leap Pads (well 2 actually – one was broken already) and about 20 books.  I store the Leap Pads in one of the totes below and the books in another.

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Read to Self

My students choose their books from a leveled library.  The books are stored in bins and the kids keep their reading and writing materials in magazine boxes.  This system is pretty independent and compact.

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Word Work

I store two items for practice in each of the blue buckets on the bottom shelf. When students have word work time, they grab a bucket and go practice their words – either from their sight word list, their spelling notebook, or Words Their Way sort words. I change what I assign the kids to work on. I try to pair up one building activity and one writing activity, and I change them out every other week or so to keep the novelty fresh. The upper shelf holds our Dolch Sight Word Games. I color-coded the drawers and materials to match the list label on the outside. Some of the games are Battleship, Go Fish, Connect Four, Pig and Stop, Bang (or some variation of it), Roll, Say, Keep, bingo, and probably a few others. 



I wish I had a picture of my system at school!  In general, I have Sterlite storage tubs that are by theme and stored under my computer tables.  This year I covered the bottom of the tables with fabric to hind my storage.  I store any writing activities with the theme we are studying.  So, in the “Farm” tub, I have popsicle sticks with prompts, a calendar to use as picture prompts, word charts, and so on. When we begin a theme, I pull out the tub and any writing center items are put in a basket for students to use.

Math Centers

Right now, I have my centers stored in baggies in the rolling cart below.  I label the drawers by each topic we cover.  Any units that are really large like addition and subtraction, have an additional tub under the computer with activities.  I like the drawers, but they come off the track easily.  Game items and counters are stored in the drawer unit.

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I hope these ideas give someone else a new idea.  I can’t wait to check out what other bloggers post!


  1. You look very well organized. I'm impressed!
    Grade ONEderful
    Hey, you're almost at 100. Whoo hoo!
    PS we mailed our letter to you last week. Hope you get it soon.

  2. Love your organization! Just found your blog and followed! You are almost at 100!

    Peace, Love and First Grade

  3. I'm 100! I'm 100! Your stuff looks so tidy. I'm even more embarrassed by my messy pictures!!

    Buzzing with Ms. B