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Must-Try Tip for Organizing Classroom Centers


I am going to bluntly say this (speaking to myself, too). We make things harder on ourselves than we need to. And center time can be a real bear to manage. But I found something that helps! This must-try color coding tip for organizing classroom centers is one that will totally change your centers and your classroom!

*For even more helpful strategies and tips, be sure to watch our FREE “5 Ways to Organize Your Centers” webinar!

This must-try color coding tip for organizing classroom centers is one that will totally change your centers and your classroom!

Must-Try Tip for Organizing Classroom Centers

Rotating centers or setting up choices doesn’t have to be an endless sea of labels, supplies, and Tetris-like feelings trying to figure it all out. That’s just exhausting!

In my classroom, I have anywhere from 6-10 math centers and 6-10 literacy centers available at one time. If I was always worrying about changing the labels to perfectly match, I would be spending all my prep time on that alone. No thanks! 

Now, if you and the label maker are BFFs, then go for it! But for me, I just prefer to simplify it a bit.

So here’s my super simple tip for organizing classroom centers. Color coding!

Color code your boxes and bins to clearly identify and organize classroom centers.

Color Coding for the Win!

I have one color for math and a different color for literacy. All literacy centers get put in specific color bins, and all math centers are in another color.

No, you do NOT need to go out and buy new bins.

Last year I did buy new bins that are color coded because I had been wanting to for some time. But you can absolutely use any bin you have. You can even use bins you may find the office throwing out so you dig them out of the trash (I have never done that… or have I?). 

Don’t let Instagram or Pinterest tell you that your bins need to look like a color-coordinated wall of The Container Store.

If you have mismatched bins (like I used to and like many of us do), simply laminate colored pieces of construction paper and tape them to the front of whatever bin you have!

Laminate coordinating colored construction paper and tape it to your bins for easy color coding.

How Does It Work?

Students will learn (with practice, of course) that if it’s literacy time, they go to the blue bins (or whatever color you decide), and if it’s math time, they go to the red bins. It’s as easy as that!

They won’t go to the other bins, because it is not time for that color bin.

This is especially useful if you don’t have a ton of storage in one area. Sometimes you may need to split up where your classroom centers are stored and this tip helps.

Kiddos always know what is available to them, no matter where it is housed in the room!

Are you ready to rock your centers? Request your invite and join us for this exclusive training!

You don’t need to reinvent the wheel to have your math and literacy centers run smoothly. In this mini-course, I’m going to walk you through the exact system I use in my classroom: Free-Flowing Centers!

This course is a combination of video lessons, printable resources, and guides to assist with setting up centers so that you can:

  • Save hours of prep time
  • Engage students in playful learning
  • Discover tons of opportunities for differentiation
  • Encourage independence in kids
  • Minimize management issues and disruptions
  • Get a 2-hour certificate of completion at the end!

No need to wait until next school yearrequest your invite today so you can “Supercharge Your Centers!


6 Responses

    1. Hi there,

      These center signs are not available for purchase at this time. They are a part of our Path to Play Training so be on the lookout for our live round of that training in May! They are also available in our P.L.A.Y Course. You can request an invite HERE and you will be the first to know when the course is open for registration. Have a great week! 🙂

  1. Thanks for the info. Now, how do you do the rotations? Are students able to choose the center they want, do you assign them?

    1. Hi Siomara!

      Happy to help you with centers! Alex does not do center rotations or assign centers to students. Her students do what we call “free-flowing centers” where they move freely between choices independently while she works with small groups. She teaches exactly how to do this in Module 2 of the P.L.A.Y. (Playful Learning All Year) course, and our final session for 2022 is starting on July 25th! You can find more info about it here >>> (And if you scroll to the very bottom for FAQs, there’s even an included letter and brochure you can give your admin to ask them to send you!) Hope to see you there!

    1. Hi Darlene,

      We’re so happy to share our resources with this amazing community of teachers! Hope you have a great day! 🙂

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