Back to school means getting ORGANIZED! So your goal is to get Math Workshop up and running in your classroom, but you are dreading getting “buckets” together with materials such as dice, chips, game boards, etc.You know how much planning time you lose setting this up and how much time you spend after they are done cleaning up. Then something familiar rings in your head from last year when you were doing a guided math group and attempting math workshop…you hear “Mrs. Samulski, I only have 9 chips instead of 10 and I am missing a dice.”

STOP the madness! It’s time to have your students take responsibility for the materials they need for math workshop by creating a “Math Salad Bar” (yes, even Kindergartners get this concept). My “Math Salad Bar” is on two carts with easy-to-use pull-out drawers. Students go to the salad bar by grabbing a bowl (all manipulatives MUST travel in their salad bowl in the room) and loading it with the necessary materials to play their game.

I use the Removable Dry Erase Labels from Office Max on the drawers of the cart so I can switch the name of the manipulative with ease instead of needing a new label or bin each time.

A math salad bar wouldn’t be complete without a drawer of My Counting Buddy Juniors and Seniors, now would it?

https://sis4teachers.org/shop/

Be sure to set expectations and work toward a goal of everyone putting things back where they belong (game boards, chips, and other math tools). Feel free to use this sample I-Chart!

http://www.scribd.com/doc/165305215/Our-Math-Salad-Bar-I-Chart

Katie Haas says

I saw you at the KG Conference in Columbus this past January and loved all of your ideas! I really like the idea of the Math Salad Bar. Even after observing other math teachers in my district, the math salad bar sounds like a great way to organize Math centers. I plan to start the Math Salad Bar with my Kinders next year!

Thanks for your great ideas!

Shannon Samulski says

Hi Katie- I am so glad you enjoyed the conference! The Math Salad bar is a great way to promote independence and you will be shocked at how much time you will save from getting at the materials ready over and over again for each game! Let me know how to turns out! Take Care!