Saturday, March 15, 2014

Math Centers Linky Party & Student Motivation Saturday

Linking up with Easy Teaching Tools for a three-part Math Centers Linky Party.  Although, I am getting in on this one a bit late...

Math Centers Linky Party
Part 1 -- Topic: Setting Up Math Centers

My kids love math workstations/centers! I have used the same organizational system the last two years, and it works fabulously!

Iris' six-drawer storage systems from Office Max are perfect for math workstations, among other things.  I simply used a utility knife to cut off the little nubs on the sides of the drawers that prevent the drawers from sliding out, as I wanted the drawers to be removable.  Then, I numbered them from 1-12. 

Each of the twelve drawers houses a workstation.  I change workstations out depending on target skills, concepts for review, and/or season/holidays.  

Directing students to particular workstations is a snap with this equally as simple name and number system located on our magnetic white board.  When it's time for workstations, students get the correct drawer, gather any needed materials (stored in tubs above the drawers for easy access), and get to work in a location of choice. Students may also be directed to me for small group work.

At times, I cycle students through the stations, so the next time we meet they move on to the next station.  This system also provides for differentiation, as I switch out centers in drawers and assign stations based on individual students' needs at times.

Why not stop over to Easy Teaching Tools to learn about more ideas for setting up math workstations? :0)

Student Motivation Courtesy of Smile Makers

I know I used to get excited about stickers when I was a kid, but my kids have topped my excitement 10 fold.  I know stickers are a simple and obvious means of student motivation, but whatever works!!  

Recently I was at the dentist's office for my six month cleaning when I noticed his rolls of 2 inch square stickers for little patients.  After gazing upon them when I entered and as I was leaving, I kindly asked if I could snag one from my grandson--the pterodactyl. Yes!  In light of my students' excitement over stickers, I looked on the back to see if there was any order information. I thought they would get a charge out of these jumbo delights. :0)  They were made by Smile Makers, so I hopped online, went a bit crazy, and purchase just a few--HA!  

These goodies hang on dowel rods from command hooks for all the kids to see.  At the end of each week, if students maintain excellent conduct and effort as outlined on our responsibility sheet, they get to choose two stickers.  Needless to say, they look forward to the end of the day on Friday. The Fruit Ninja scratch and sniff, Muppet, and rainbow dolphin/unicorn stickers are favorites.

If you have never checked out Smile Makers online, it's a must!

Have a happy weekend!


  1. I *LOVE* your math centers - so organized, color-coordinated, cute, and functional!

    My kids - 5th graders! - absolutely LOVE stickers. It's the weirdest thing - they clamor for them! And it's mostly the boys :) So if they score 95 or above on an assignment, they get a sticker. I will have to check out Smile Makers to get those rolls of large stickers - that would really motivate them!

    Joy in the Journey

    1. My fifth graders loved stickers, too! :0) Even my husband loves his ATV product stickers they send with orders--funny! Have a super week!


  2. I love your work station set up! Over the summer I need to invest in more plastic organizers!

    Swinging for Success
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    1. Thanks! I always use the Office Max Perks coupons that they hand out in our area when school gets out for summer. Super savings! Keep a lookout! :0) Thanks for flying on over...

      Have a great week--

  3. Your math workstation set up is amazing Sarah! And, those sticker rolls??!! Soooo motivating! Especially since they're hanging as a reminder for your students to earn one! Love it! Thanks for sharing and linking up!
    Head Over Heels For Teaching