Hello everyone! I hope that you had a fabulous week! For those of you who already have a few days of the school year under your belt, congratulations! I hope that you are having a marvelous start to your year! For me, Meet the Teacher was this Friday and it was an absolute joy to meet many of my incoming students and their families! I am so very excited to start this new school year.
I know many of you have been following my sneak peek classroom pictures on Instagram (adayinfirstgrade) and today is the day of the official classroom reveal! This year I will have nearly double the class size I had last year and for that reason, my school knocked down a wall and gave me a double classroom! I am very excited to use my newly acquired space.
Without further ado, here is a tour of our learning space for the 2016-2017 school year.
When you walk into my classroom, you are greeted by our reading area. This will be a quiet space for students to curl up with a good book.
After that is our gathering space. This is where most of our whole group instruction will take place.
In the corner is our writing area! On the bulletin board are a few ideas students can use to help them get started on writing! There are a small selection of writing supplies to begin the year and unlined paper. You will also notice our paper puncher. This is so that students can easily add holes to their writing and drawings and add them to their portfolios.
Next to our writing center is our dramatic play center. I am hoping that the close proximity between these two areas will encourage writing in my students’ play.
Next up are our literacy shelves. These shelves house all of our language arts activities. Students will be able to freely choose these trays and lessons when they are at morning (language) centers.
Currently, there are many activities to encourage fine motor development, pencil grip, name recognition, and letter construction on these shelves.
These metal insets are a Montessori activity that promotes many skills:
“-The child will learn how to grip and guide the writing instrument.
-They will experience the effects of pressure on the pencil.
-The very great variety of movements involved in this work, helps the child with control of the writing movements but also with changing directions.
-Keeping the point of the pencil on the edge of the frame or the inset, helps the child steady his strokes. The movements will go from left to right.
-The child can learn to make one continuous stroke. This is particularly helpful in cursive script, but some letters in modified print call for it.
-This work demands eye-hand coordination.”
This is the other side of the shelves. On the top shelf from left to right are: nomenclature shelves, the sandpaper letters, Waseca shelves that house Montessori phonetic pink, green, and blue card works. The second shelf has sand that goes with the sandpaper letters, and crayon rubbing letters. The third shelf has an alphabet dinosaur puzzle and a transfer activity.
(In this activity students will use the magnetic wand to transfer the magnets from the left tray to the right tray.)
These end shelves currently have an alphabet matching bag, rocks so that the students can practice writing their name and their friends’ names, a few puzzles and matching game, as well as AlphaBuild shapes to encourage letter formation.
In the middle of our classroom is where I will conduct my guided reading and guided math groups. I placed a large circle table there so that 4-6 students can sit comfortably. This table is in front of my sensory table (not pictured) and our math investigation shelves.
On the table are the gifts I gave to my students as they arrived for Meet The Teacher. I let each child choose their favorite card (which gave me a little insight to things that they are interested in!) and their very own magnifying glass.
Here’s a close up look at a few of the cards.
Also on the table were real specimens of preserved butterflies. I can already tell I have some amazing explorers entering my classroom! I can’t wait to see where their investigations, inquiries, and interests will take us this year!
Here is a closer look at our math investigation area.
As a note, to help my students at the beginning of the year with clean up, I take pictures (like the one below) and laminate them and place them on the shelves where each item belongs. This helps them know what the clean up expectation is for each activity.
As you walk left, there are small building items and our shape wall.
Then, in the corner are our large hollow blocks. On this bulletin board we will hang up pictures of our favorite creations and in the binder, students will add their blueprints and the plans they draw before or after they construct something!
I also took a picture for my students so they know how to clean up the hollow blocks! Once I print it, I will laminate and hang it up next to the block area as a reference!
In front of this area is our Math Provocation table. I love this table and the activities that go on it. Right now it has a train set that was a huge hit during Meet The Teacher.
The sign says, “In our class, we use teamwork!”
Next up are our math shelves! (On the wall behind the shelves are the Montessori 100 chain and the 1,000 chain.)
Currently on the shelves I have an abacus, pattern blocks, a matching number memory game, number box, and the Montessori constructive triangles.
On the next section of the math shelves is our Russian nesting doll. My students last year loved this!
I also have out the Montessori spindle box for practice with 1-1 correspondence.
Finally, I have the Montessori color box #2. (Which encourages students to sort the color tablets by color and shade.)
The last section of the classroom includes our light table, map area, and peace corner.
At the peace corner, students will have a variety of options to take a break during the day. On the shelf right now are the book, “I Am Yoga” by Peter Reynolds, a timer that you can’t see in this picture, a rainstick, a shell to listen to the ocean, and a bear to cuddle. These items will be changed out every once in a while.
In the classroom, I also have an easel.
I do have a few tables in the classroom that didn’t really fit into the pictures I took. I have one circle table (that you saw), one small rectangle table, two rectangle tables that are pushed together, and two small square tables. The table locations and sizes are purposefully selected so that students can choose if they want to work independently, in a small group, or in a large group (or on the floor!) For floor work, students can choose to use our rockers (4), or our work mats.
Well, there you have it! I hope you enjoyed the glimpse into our classroom!