Monday, June 25, 2018

No Prep Math Centers for August

Teacher confession time...

Every year, without fail, the end of school rolls around and for the entire last month, I CANNOT WAIT for the last teacher workday and summer to begin, and...Whoa, whoa, WHAT???

Just like that, I would start reflecting on things to prepare for the next school year, changes I wanted to implement, and new ideas to try.  I always got so charged up, that it would take me two-three weeks to get out of school mode and into summer mode!  Does this happen to you??  (PLEASE, say yes... lol)

The first thing I always tried to do during the last month of school was to prepare my "No Prep Math Centers" and "No Prep Literacy Centers" for the first month back in school.  It's a perfect time of year, because I always had a lot of students who couldn't wait to help by cutting and bagging.  (Hence, the NO Prep)  Don't worry, that it's now summertime, they really ARE so easy to make, that you'll have them made in a snap!

Today, I'm going to focus on my No Prep Math Centers for 4th grade.  However, you can find these for 2nd grade as well as 3rd grade in my store, along with No Prep Literacy Centers for 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grades.  (Just click on the grade level to see the units.)

Each month usually has ten centers along with two-three bonus activities.  If you are like I always was, there is WAY too short of a prep time in your day and EVERY. SINGLE. SECOND is precious!  These centers are a breeze to get ready!  I have included games, interactives, foldables, movement, and more!  There is no colored ink used (other than answer guides), to make this even MORE user-friendly!

You have several choices for printing:
1)  Copy onto regular white copy paper.  Use for the week and then throw in the trash and print a new set next year!  (Easy-peezy, right??)
2)  Want to have those pops of color?  Print just the game pieces on colored paper (or construction paper).  Again, you can throw away or keep.  (Mine have held up for 2-3 years without lamination.)
3)  Print on colored cardstock and laminate.

How you choose to prepare, really depends on the amount of time you want to spend prepping. 

This month's centers include:  

Fractional Sets 

Fourth grade is HUGE for fractions, so I like to get the year started with review of fractional sets.  I like to always print the directions for all of my centers on colored copy paper to draw the students' eyes.  I also like to use two different colors for the fraction and the fractional set.  I only use a couple of pieces of my hoarded precious color copy paper.  I make copies of the student response sheet and my answer page on regular white copy paper. 


I love to keep this center out (along with several of the other ones) to use for small group remediation.  Some students need that extra support and guidance on a concept, and being able to play this as a game works perfect.  In the center, the students work together to decide if the number rounds up or down.  In years' past, I have used this as a center during our unit on rounding, and then used the worksheet for a formative grade.  I am then able to see at a glance which students need to work in a guided small group.

Place Value

This activity is one of my favorites to do during the first couple of days of school during our math time as we are getting settled in.  While I'm checking to make sure I'm positive how every child is getting home, or I'm checking in supplies, or any of the other million and one things I need to accomplish, the students do this activity as a whole class during quiet time.  (Admit it, you know by the middle of that first day back, you need just a LITTLE time to rest your ears!  haha)  I put the directions on the document camera and project onto the large screen at the front of my room.  I carefully explain the directions and even do a couple with the students to make sure they understand.  Then, while they work, I'm able to do some of those much needed beginning of school chores!

Comparing Numbers

This is one of my students' favorite centers every year and it is oh, so, simple!!!  Students play in a small group.  The number cards are stacked upside down on the table.  Students take turns going around in a circle and drawing the top card.  They begin in the ones place to build the number.  (This game can be played for any place value to differentiate your students' needs.)  Once every child has built his/her number, someone spins the spinner using a pencil and a paper clip.  If the spinner lands on greater than, the student with the largest number wins.  If the spinner lands on less than, the student with the smallest number wins.

Classroom Treasure Hunt

I love giving my students every opportunity throughout our day to have some movement, considering that recess is only 15 minutes each day.  (Sad, sad) My students LOVE these scavenger hunts.  I print the cards on bright paper, scatter them all around the room and students move around reading the cards and writing the answers.  I've used this center both as a small group and as whole class (which is my favorite).  I like to collect their response pages to use as an informal data collection for different skills so that I can start forming small remediation groups.  However, I always place the cards under the document camera so that we can review and discuss as a class.

Addition with and without Regrouping

I have yet to give students "naked" addition or subtraction problems without hearing groans from someone.  However, when they have a cool name like "Ninja" attached, all of a sudden, the students can't wait to complete the problems.  (I'll call ANYTHING a cool name if it encourages students to do their best work!)

Standard, Expanded, and Written Forms

Our curriculum map always begins the year with all things related to place value.  I've tried to include a lot of activities in the August unit to help reinforce those concepts.  As always, I copy the instructions on colored copy paper.  I make three copies of each of the other pages so that the standard form is one color, the expanded is another, and the written is yet another color.  I then have students play this game with a partner (or in a small group of 2-3 students).  Students turn the cards face down.  They take turns turning one card from each row to try to make a match in the classic "Memory" game.  On another week, I have the students complete the second part which is the response sheet of cutting and making the correct matches.  Numbers look very similar to make sure that students really understand the different forms.

Word Problems

Sometimes, students just have to be convinced that they enjoy math.  "I LOVE Math" is an accordion book that students make.  They then choose a word problem card, read it, and solve in their book. 

Bar Graph

I've combined the fun game, "I Spy" with a bar graph.  Students search for the pictures counting how many there are of each and then put the information into a bar graph and answer questions.

Ordering Numbers

I always make two sets of these numbers.  (Make sure you use two different colors for your own sanity of keeping them separated...haha)  Students will work together to put the numbers in order.  Students then work independently to complete a response sheet putting numbers in order.

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You can store the pieces of each center in a ziploc bag, a large envelope, a small basket at the center or whatever makes life easiest for you.  

Direction posters are included for each center.  Placing these in the center gives explanations to the students so that you are not spending valuable time explaining multiple times.


I don't worry about printing because I have HP Instant Ink.  This means that I get 300 pages every month.  It is based on the pages, and not the ink.  My printer lets HP know when ink is running low and I receive new ink in the mail before I even need it.  SCORE!!

Click on the picture to get your own great deal on a wireless printer so that you too can print all you need without worry!  
Please keep this link to enter to get extra months of FREE ink!

(Please note this blog post has an affiliate link for the printer.  This means that if you purchase using the link, I receive a very small commission that helps me with the upkeep of my website.  However, this doesn't add to the price of the item for you.)

Click on any of the above pictures to see this product in my store.

Easy, peezy, making your life breezy...

That's just

My Kind of Teaching!


  1. You have thought of everything in this unit! Looks great. I use instant ink too & love it. The best part is that I NEVER have to worry about running out of ink!

  2. You think of everything! I appreciate how you've laid everything out step by step. And I LOVE your no-prep centers-they are the best!

  3. These look amazing! I love that it doesn't use color ink! Thanks!!

  4. I've used your no-prep packets and they are fantastic!

  5. Those look awesome! Thanks for taking the time to make such great resources!