We’ve been in school for 3 weeks now so I guess its as good a time as ever to post a little tour of our classroom area. Starting at the left side and moving to the right…
This is our paper chain. There is one link for everyday of the school year. Each month is in a different color. Having a visual helps to defuse the conversations about when Halloween, Christmas, birthdays, etc.. happen.
Each day we remove a link (if we remember…) and at the end of the month we tear the tab with that month off our little list.
Around the corner we have our calendar, word of the day, number of the day, day of the week, and weather chart.
Our calendar is made of CD cases lined with scrapbooking paper. Each case has a velcro dot in the upper left corner. I use numbers meant for traditional pocket calendars, putting velcro dots on the back of each number to attach them to the CD cases.
The last couple numbers also have velcro dots on the front so that if it is a short month I can simply flip the number around to its blank side. The CD cases are great for dry erase markers. I like having a larger space to write on since we keep all our important dates one one calendar.
Below the calendar are our word and number of the day charts. To make these I simply wrote out the chart on a white sheet of paper, slipped the paper inside of a plastic page protector, then lined all 4 sides with some colorful duct tape. Each morning we fill out the charts together with a dry erase marker. (Please disregard the random 66, it is unrelated.)
Below those are our days of the week chart and our weather chart. I made these using a $3 border organizer from Target. I’ll be posting more on how we do our weather chart at a later date. It comes with a cute song so be on the look out for that post.
That table is the same one shown in many other posts but it has gotten a bit of a make-over. You’re probably used to seeing an old wood table that is scratched up and faded. I finally got tired of looking at it that way so I sanded it down and painted it with some chalkboard paint I had left over from another project. I had LittleMan and SunnyGirl put their hand prints in the corner along with the year.
Continuing around the room you’ll see a large branch with yarn wrapped around it. I originally picked up this branch to make some natural blocks for the kids but ended up wrapping yarn around it in a figure-8 fashion to have a place for weaving feathers and pine needles that we find on our nature walks.
Our nature table has evolved quite a bit since I first posted about it. We started out with just the box and a magnifying glass. Now we have some large pieces of tree bark, some living land snails, a vase to hold leaves and flowers, miscellaneous sticks and rocks, a bowl of pine cones, some skins of molted bugs, and even a Robin’s egg shell.
Above the nature table is our map, to the right is our posters and schedule.
Our hundreds chart and ASL alphabet posters are held up with velcro so they can easily be brought down for hands-on activities. Most everything else in the room is secured with semi-permanent mounting tape or thumb tacks.
Under the hundreds chart you’ll see 3 cups labelled “1s, 10s, 100s.” Every day we count just one number higher on our hundreds chart and add one toothpick to our cups. When there are 10 toothpicks in the 1s cup we wrap them with a rubber band and move them to the 10s cup, when there are 10 groups of 10 in the 10s cup we’ll wrap them in another rubber band and move them to the 100s cup.
For more information about our schedule and morning/evening routine charts, see this post (click here).
Under the posters, schedule, and charts you’ll see our storage units. A 3-drawer plastic Sterilite container holds math manipulatives, moveable alphabet, clothes pegs, playdough, magnets, etc.. Two black crates hold puzzles and discovery bottles. These crates also have padded lids so they can be pulled out and used for seating as well. The black file organizer on top of the crates holds all my printed materials for the school year. I’ll do another post about my filing system at a later date.
If we by-pass the entrance to the kitchen, the next stop on our tour is our milk crate shelves. We started with just 4 milk crates against one wall but recently we expanded by adding 8 more crates just around the corner. (A couple of the crates are just a bit scarce in the picture because we’d just finished one school week and had not yet filled the shelves with next week’s work.)
The bottom crates hold 1/3 of our children’s books (the rest being in other rooms), the top crates hold SunnyGirl’s tot-school trays which will be posted about at a later date. On top of the crates we keep our family board games and a basket for our card games.
And there you have it, our school room. I’m pretty proud of how it turned out and feel it really suits us well. I would like to incorporate some more of the children’s art, possibly a mobile of sorts from the ceiling. Time shall tell.