Organization is a MUST with guided math! I have put a great deal of thought and effort into organizing different aspects of guided math in order for my students and me to be successful. It is important to remember that whatever organizational systems you establish needs to fit you and your students. In addition, you may choose to organize something in a particular way, and after putting it into action it may not go as well as planned. Be thoughtful, yet flexible. It may take some time to get something just the way you want it—and still you may adapt and change to fit the needs of your students over time. My organizational systems have evolved with time and experience. The following organizational systems work well for me and my students.

**Guided Math Teaching Tools**

I refer to the various items housed in our guided math area as ‘tools’. I have an old wooden cubby organizer that works fabulously to organize guided math tools and guided reading materials. It’s located right behind the circle table where guided math groups meet. I also house all other math tools, that may be needed at any given time, in the cabinet right behind our small-group table. This way everything we need is at our fingertips.

The top four sections of the cubbies are a home for materials used during guided groups and are labeled Groups 1-4. The materials in each group’s cubby are concept/skill specific and ever-changing. Group cubbies hold various math tools (base ten, ten frames, place value disks & strips, counters, coins, and more) number cards, number lines, activity sheets, paper, pencils, etc. Each time we meet in guided group, the kids take turns being the cubby kid—the person who gets and passes out all student materials that are housed in their cubby.

I keep additional teaching tools in two teacher tool cubbies below the student cubbies. These materials are only accessed by me.

**Rotation Organizer **

A rotation organizer helps students know what group they are in, where they need to start and rotate to, and what group cubby to access during guided reading small group time with me.

**Arrows**—Each student starts where his/her name appears on the organizer. When it is time to rotate, the arrows direct students to the next task. I have simply drawn the arrows on the dry erase board, and they remain there all year.

**Student Names**—Students’ names are magnetic so groups can change as needed.

**Numbers**—Numbers are written inside each quarter on the organizer. Numbers do not indicate order. They simply help students know which cubby will house the tools used in guided math groups with me (explained in more detail above).

**Station Task Labels**—A station task label is located next to each quarter on the diagram. This directs students to the task they will be doing. Labels are magnetic and can be easily interchanged depending on the day.

**NOTE: **The number of groups I meet with each day varies, thus the number of rotations varies. I do not always take a group, as there are times when I circulate the room as students are engaged in tasks. This gives me the opportunity to formally assess students, ask questions, and individually conference with students.

**Independent Practice: Stations**

For many years, I used baskets, tubs, or folders to organize independent practice materials for stations. I wanted to do something different because the baskets seemed too big and items just “swam” in them. Not to mention, with minimal space they were always sitting out in our writing center. Not the best option, so I asked my students if they could brainstorm a solution–they too felt a need for something better. Jimmy piped up and said, “Why don’t you get some more drawers like we use for our workstations?” This was followed by a resounding. “Yeah!” Jimmy went on to describe how the drawers could be labeled for each station and that they could easily be pulled out and put back in. Tidy! (that’s the word we always use). I praised his brilliance and told him it was worth a try. He finally added, we could use drawers for guided reading, too. Well, his system was a perfect fit for us!

The drawers are labeled as follows:

**Show What You Know:** This drawer holds differentiated independent tasks. These are done without a partner. Tasks are varied.

**Math Journal:** This drawer holds prompts for the day—often differentiated. Several problem solving discussion fans are also kept in the drawer.

**Math Games:** This drawer holds two or three differentiated games related to small group work/concepts of the day. If games are played on the iPad or computer, they are listed as choices on a “To Do” sheet that is placed in the drawer (see below).

**Math Workstations:** This is a drawer used in the place of the numbered workstation drawers and system described below. This was done because I often choose two or three workstations that are differentiated practice to reinforce concepts learned and don’t want to provide as many options.

**Read & Reflect:** (this drawer was added during the 2014 school year): There are times when students explore a math text and are asked to reflect on their learning.

**Discussion Fans:** (now included in math journal drawer): Problem solving discussion fans are used with math journal and, at times, for whole group discussion.

**Rotation Materials:** This drawer is used by me to hold materials for upcoming stations.

**Note: **Math vocabulary, discussion, accountability, and reflection are built in to most stations.

**Independent Practice: Math Workstations**

Math workstations, in our classroom, include various things—independent, individual and partner practice (e.g. activities, task cards, math software, games/centers, etc.). Workstations are kept in numbered drawers. Students use the display on the whiteboard to determine what workstation they will work on and who they will work with (if another person shares the same workstation number). Numbers are magnetic and easy to rearrange.

Students quickly take a numbered drawer that contains all needed materials. Additional tools are always available in the same area for students to use in solving problems. Since the tools used are their choice, they are not housed in workstation drawers. Students know exactly what is expected and show great responsibility.

**Note: **Math vocabulary, discussion, accountability, and reflection are built in to most stations.

**Independent Practice: To Dos **

To dos such as these are always included in independent practice drawers so students know exactly what is expected. To dos help to ensure independence and instill responsibility. The happy face icons following each task tell students if they will be working on their own or with a partner or small group.

**Update 6/27/14**

Some have inquired about the 6-drawer organizers shown in the pics above. I used a utility knife to cut off the tabs so drawers are removable. The following pics show the drawers and a close up of the label.