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Take a Look Back #74- Math and Literacy Center Ideas for the Beginning of the School Year

Math and Literacy Center Ideas for the beginning of the school year. Sight words, Phonics, Science, Sorting and more!

My Take a Look Back blog posts are a way of sharing some of the content I have on Instagram from the past week. I pick 4 posts that I want to highlight and take a closer look at, and write a blog post about them.

A new year has started and I see so many exciting things happening in classrooms around the world through Instagram. I love seeing all the learning that is happening, and enjoy sharing some of my ideas with others. Since we are back in the classroom, I am starting back up this weekly blog post.

Building Blocks

I found this block set at Dollar Tree, and I was so excited to see them. They are perfect for creating centers, and you could do different sets to target different skills. I made some for sight words and letters, but you could make some to target math concepts. Once students build with the blocks, they can record the words or letters they used on a whiteboard or blackboard (the one in the picture was also from Dollar Tree).

I have made a similar set with the full sized Jenga-like pieces and used them in the past (you can see them in this blog post). One set was used for all 6 students at the table (it can get expensive to buy these block sets!), and there was arguments that would break out over how many blocks each student could have. With this smaller set, you could have multiple sets per center for students to use, and that should easily solve that problem!

Pick it, Make it, Write it

These work mats are perfect for the beginning of the school year to work on letter formations (and you can scaffold their learning by using the sight word cards when they are ready). You can use so many different manipulatives with these work mats (all those cute mini erasers). I love that these mats are easy to prep, and then can be used over and over again throughout the year.

If this is something you want to use in you class, you can find it here:

Sorting Trays

This tray was another great find from Dollar Tree. They are perfect for teaching sorting skills with a variety of materials. It can be an open-ended center, that students can show their learning at.

I wouldn’t give them much direction if I put this out at a table, I would present the materials, and let the students do what they wanted with it.

It is a great way to document their skills, and have them talk to you about their math thinking. Ask them questions about what they are doing and why, you will be amazed to hear what they say!

I Think, I See, I Wonder

This magnet investigation was so fun for out students. We filled a water bottle with different materials (some magnetic, some not), and let the students explore with the magnets. They could record their thinking on the page (with words or pictures).

You can find this recording sheet as a free download in my Resource Library. You can get the password to access all freebies when you sign up for my newsletter.

Need more daily inspiration for your classroom? Make sure you are following me here, on Facebook and on Instagram!

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