Diggin' into Next Year: Math Workshops





Organization of Math Workshops


This year was the first year that I tried math centers/stations/workshops as BUILD. I saw a blog post some time ago before school started and wanted to try that out with the new school year. So, I did. LOVE. I absolutely love it. It keeps me organized. It keeps the kids organized. Here’s what I had at the beginning of the year.


This is a photograph of cabinets in a primary grades classroom.


I had each letter posted and a pocket below. Each child had a name stick (a popsicle stick with their name) and would place it turned the correct way (so I could see every name) in the pocket of choice.  If you’ve never heard of the B.U.I.L.D. system, this is where I first heard of it. She has a wonderful explanation with tons of pictures.


B = Buddy Games
U = Using Manipulatives
I = Independent Work
L = Learning About Numbers
D = Doing Math


For B, I usually put games that were a bit more difficult and partner games here. These were also games that I thought they would be okay doing alone.


U = Any new manipulative that was introduced was placed here first. Games that included the use of manipulatives were usually here, as well.


I = I used the “I” basket for journals. I placed half-sheet math pages in the basket with glue, crayons, and pencils. They had to complete the sheet and then turn it sideways and glue it in their math journals with the date at the top of the page. This made it super easy for me to check who actually completed math journals and who didn’t. I also was able to see who could work independently on certain skills.


L = At the beginning of the year, I used “L” as the place for all of our making numbers games/sheets. If we were learning about the number 15, the focus in “L” was the number 15. Later in the year, this housed decomposing games.


D= This was really my free-for-all basket. If there was something that I really wanted my kids to work on that was either a duplicate skill or themed for a holiday, I placed it here.


What I like most about this system is that it kept me very organized and allowed for a range of activities. My school is an AMSTI school. I was trained in AMSTI the summers of 2008 and 2009 in math and science. We currently use Investigations, of which I’m not a fan. This system also allows me to use some of those games if I want and not use them if I don’t need to.


This is a photograph of different colored organizational baskets in a classroom.


This is what each bucket looks like. Sorry! I took this at the very end of school. They aren’t usually stacked into each other. Each has a letter so the kids know which to pick up.


This is a photograph of an Easter-themed math workshop basket.


This was one of our last games in April that they LOVED. All of the contents fit inside. I like these because they are big enough to hold any thing with which we need to work. This was a make 10 game.



I will not be using my cabinets to house the letters and the pockets. This did not work for my kids in the beginning of the year. I kept the baskets the same throughout the entire year. I do like the way that BUILD is set up. I am going to have either a pocket chart or something that they can clip their names to so I’ll know where everyone is. There is also a sheet floating around Pinterest or somewhere with a table that you can color/shade in to keep track of where your children are going daily/weekly. I’m debating using that. 



I will continue with BUILD and the baskets this year. This summer, my goal is to have all of my math workshops planned out and organized for every week or two weeks. Some of the skills usually need more than a week. I will be placing all of the materials inside zip baggies and putting a full-page cover sheet in the front to easily identify it. That’s the goal. Let’s hope I can get it done. EEEEK!!!! What are some of your goals for this year? Leave me a comment below. It may be something that I need to work on.


Be sure to check out Laura over at Where the Magic Happens to see the rest of the people that linked up this week.





If you made it down this far, you can check out a Cowboys and Cowgirls classroom set. Next up will either be Farm OR…hmmm, I’m not really sure. Maybe Kids themed.




Over 300 pages of goodness! Any theme decor set you’d like to see made?


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  1. Math stations is definitely something I need to work on organizing. For me, it's harder to organize than guided reading because the types of skills you do in math change a lot more than in reading. Your explanation was really helpful. Thanks!

    Your cowboy set is super cute! What would I like to see next? Hmmm…I like patterns. Anything with stripes, dots, or chevron would be great!

    Kindergarten Teacher at the Wheel

    1. I totally feel like you!!! Math is so much more work and that adds to more stress!!! Thanks for the ideas as well.

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