How to Organize Math Manipulatives
How We Organize all of our The Good and The Beautiful Curriculum and Manipulatives
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Recently I posted how we organize our school curriculum for my year 1 student and my year 0 student. As I was filing all the books in their proper spots, I quickly realized that I was going to have to be a bit more creative when it came to organizing Math. If you're like us, we have an incredible amount of math manipulatives and two activity boxes from The Good and The Beautiful Math K & 1 Math to organize. That's a whole lot! Let's dive in so you can see how we're doing it.
I hope you enjoy this video below as I tour our Math organization in this home. Below you'll see all the resources I use and or recommend to start organizing all the math things in your own home.
In this 2020-2021 year, my kiddos placed into the Math K & Math 1 levels of The Good and The Beautiful (TGTB). I looked at several math curriculum before deciding on TGTB, but I always kept coming back to it for various reasons:
I'm definitely not the only one that loves this curriculum as it has sold out twice since March 2020! Luckily, I was able to secure the Math K Activity Box from The Good and The Beautiful, however I was not so lucky with the Math 1 Activity Box. Thus I purchased the PDF version of the Math 1/2 Activity Box and started to see what I already had as far as manipulatives go and what I needed to gather, purchase or create.
According to The Good & The Beautiful Site, these are all the items offered within their Activity Box for Math 1 & 2:
If you search Math Organization on The Good And The Beautiful Community Group on Facebook, you'll see lots of ways to organize things. Some of the most popular choices are the following:
My particular choice is the first one, the Photo and Craft Keeper by Recollections. Please see the video below to see how we organize it exactly. The great thing about the other options is that they have enough space to also hold the Math Spiral Bound book per student, a great option if you like taking your curriculum on-the-go. Now let's dive into the individual manipulatives needed:
The Math 1 Activity Box comes with a small learning clock for students. There are ways to DIY a learning clock, but in case you're curious with what's out there, here are some options. The first option has additional items that help you teach "reading time" along with the learning clock. The second is just the small clock, which actually was the option I went with and fits perfectly in the photo keeper box I opted for to organize the manipulatives.
The Math 1 curriculum uses seashells ALOT. Luckily, we went to the beach several times this summer and set my kids on a hunt for beautiful seashells. I sorted through them all and selected the smaller shells that would fit within the printed math mats. (You can see the seashells in our organized box in the video above.) Below are some manipulatives that match the printed material within the PDF if you purchase the downloadable version of the Math Activity Box.
Additional Manipulatives That We Gathered On Our Own
So these are the manipulatives that you can buy at the dollar store, market, or probably have in your home already:
Other Tools & Manipulatives
Because of the additional games one can do as a bonus with your students, you'll need at least 2 pawn pieces or game pieces. This is one thing I didn't specifically buy as we already have a chess board at home and counting bears. My daughter always opts for the counting bears when we play against each other in math games.
Here are a few options that will be necessary to have available for your Math 1 & 2 students:
I went ahead and purchased the PDF for the activity box (a. because I didn't want to wait until TGTB restocked in August 2020, & b. because I felt it would be a good idea to have the PDF version of Math 1/2) and that allowed me to be able to print the Game Instructions as well as the Math Place Value Chart, Game Work Mats, Play Mats, & Tangram Puzzle Mats. You can see how I organize it all in the video above, but to give you a hint, I use the below items to make it possible.
The different printing places to look into that I found were the most economical for this curriculum were the following:
The absolute best thing about organizing your math manipulatives this way is that it takes up a very small footprint. It stays in its small suitcase in a corner of our homeschool room and is ready to take out at a moment's notice.
To make it easy to pull out the correct small box of manipulatives at Math time, I made labels for each group of manipulatives. I have these clear Avery Return Address Labels on hand, so this template is for these in particular (Avery 18667). If you don't have these labels in particular, you can use this template for inspiration on labels you currently have or cut and paste on to another template. If you do have these labels, you may edit the below template to suit your needs.
I hope this tour helps guide you on one way to organize your own math items. If you have any questions, please reach out! I'm happy to help.
Next up, I'm planning on showing you all how I'm traversing the legalities of homeschooling and how I'm setting myself up for a Portfolio Evaluation. Stay tuned for a freebie and all the research and advice.
See ya soon!
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Mom of three beautiful kids, married to my best friend, finding daily ways to bring joy!