Keeping Math Skills Sharp All Year with File Folder Tasks (Math Labels Freebie)

Like most special educators, I teach several different skills in math a day. In our math rotations, I am able to see each students 1:1 for about 10 minutes to teach them new skills, and then they rotate through the other centers to practice that skill and previously mastered skills. This is the first year I have done this system, and it’s been magical!

Here is a quick run down of our math rotations (we color code our stations):
Blue Table: Work with teacher on new skill
Black Table: Practice new skill with teacher assistant (I use a lot of my cut and paste pages here)
Yellow Table: Technology (math games – I love ABCYA Pre-K/K level for my young lads and Prodigy for my older kiddos – both are FREE)
Red Table: Independent binder work – I keep their binders stocked with sheets of previously mastered skills.
Green Table: File Folder Tasks – more practice with mastered skills

Since the red and green tables are independent, I mark or provide the amount of work they have to do. I always have fun, MOTIVATING, STEM-esk activities for them to do if they finish early, so they are typically motivated to kick it in high gear and work efficiently so they have time to do the fun activity before the timer goes off to rotate. Some of the “fun” activities included pattern blocks, gears, popsticle sticks, Legos, building sticks, marble run, etc. I’ll save those for another post.

Today I want to talk about magic that happens at the green table. This station used to BUG. ME. OUT. before I started using strictly file folders. With so many different levels, I would be constantly switching out materials while the timer was going off, which left the student at my table free to do whatevs (which is NOT good). Now, I have all of the file folders prepped and on shelves at the station. As I’ve said before, I color-code everything in my classroom, and that does not leave out the actual children. At the beginning of every year, I assign each of my students a color (kind of like larger elementary classes assign numbers). I talk about color-coding a lot in THIS POST if you want to check it out.

Back to the topic at hand.. 

I organized all of my file folders by math topic. The levels in my class right now are about PreK – 2nd, so I start with Numbers and go all the way through Division and Fractions. I use file folders from my Math Skills Megabundle, so I know that I’m covered for all the skills I will be teaching throughout the year, even though I have so many different levels in my class.

I loving using the bins to store my file folders, but I also like the idea of using a filing cabinet as well. I’ve even seen people use dish strainers to store them. I personally like to have them out in the open because it’s functional and also very pretty (let’s be honest). The bins are from Really Good Stuff’s website.

Each day, pull 2-3 folders out and place them in the student’s bins. I use these File Holders from Amazon. They’ve held up great! I only place mastered skills in a students bin, so that they can do them completely independently.

During rotations, the students just pull down their color, complete the tasks, and put them back in the bin and back on the shelf when they are finished. At the end of the day, or whenever I have time throughout the day, I check their folders, take the data I need, and reset the station for the next day.


Since I have so many folders prepped, the students work on a variety of skills and folders throughout the week. They don’t get bored doing the same things over and over again, and I’m happy because they are reviewing skills they’ve learned throughout the year and keeping their mathematic minds SHARP.

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  1. Pamela Hartwig on May 9, 2017 at 12:30 am

    Love this post! Thank you for sharing how you make math stations work in a self-contained classroom! How do you manage the pieces for file folder activities? I currently put pieces in a baggie and Velcro to back of file folder but wonder if there's a better way.

    • Gabrielle Dixon on May 16, 2017 at 1:47 am

      Hi Pamela! That's my favorite way too!

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