Creating & Planning Math Centers Ahead of Time

In my classroom, I only have three math rotations, and the third rotation, math centers/games, is the only one I routinely have to plan & prep ahead of time. Today I want to share with you how I plan and choose the best math centers to make that third rotation meaningful and effective!

Within each small group, my students have a partner (chosen by me). That’s the partner that students complete math centers with. The math centers students complete with their partner are meant to be review – I do not have students work on brand new skills during math centers. I usually try to pull a variety of skills each week: fact fluency practice, telling time, counting coins, graphing/measurement, addition & subtraction, etc. I use 5 centers a week, so students complete one center a day.

I like to choose centers that match the standards we’ve already worked on, so I use these 2nd grade stations by standard (find the first grade version here) – This allows me to pull centers that match exactly what I want my students working on or reviewing without having to worry about them being seasonal (although I do use some seasonal/themed ones still too!)

Sometimes I’ll even print & prep two versions of the same center, that way students have the same games & activities but at the level they need. I use these differentiated centers to help with that!

I really like to plan and prep my centers a month ahead of time. I can look at the month ahead and know what I’m teaching, what I want my students reviewing, and more. Click the image below to head to my Free Resource Library and download the freebie!

Happy planning!



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