Aug 14, 2009

Our Learning Room

I am very late for the Not Back To School Blog Hop but I FINALLY finished my schoolroom, and I finally gave up on getting great pictures and decided to just go ahead and blog about it anyway.

If you have been reading this blog for any length of time, you know that one of the things we were praying for in a house was a place for school. We used to stash our stuff in the corner of our tiny dining room and under beds. We would drag it out every morning and stuff it back every afternoon. So this little half of a room is an awesome gift to us. We squeezed all four kids in one bedroom to achieve this space.
Our schoolroom is actually an addition on the back of the original house. This first picture is what you see when you come into the room. You can see that half of the room is playroom and the other half is serious business. What you can't see is the other half of the playroom, the door to the back yard, the drier, and the door to the kids' bathroom. I can see all of those from my chair in front of the computer, which means I have my eye on the kids pretty much all of the time I am at the computer. Unless they are sleeping, in which case, they don't really need me to watch them. :)

So anyway, back to the school room. This is a view of the entire space. You can tell that it isn't really very big, but it is actually just about the perfect size for us.

I was having some issues with the light from the windows, so these pictures were taken at different times of day, which explains why the lighting is so weird.

These are the big kids' "shelves". The top holds our scale, our fraction manipulatives, a pocket chart that holds nothing in particular right now, our spelling tiles, a bowl of paper apples, our nature box, a tic-tac-toe set, strawberry shortcake magnets, our counting bars and a small bowling game. The black trays hold their finished worksheets and art projects for me to file, and all of our handwriting books and tablets. The white box that you can barely see on the end holds stickers, my "works in process" and scrap paper.

Except for what is in the white box, everything on the top of these cabinets and everything inside of them are for the big kids' "free choice" times.

Here is our flannelgraph board and pieces, our US puzzle, wipe-off crayons, chalk, water-paints, palate, floam, and their school-boxes, which holds their crayons, pencils, and erasers. The bottom shelf holds their art box (which is packed with things to thrill their artsy souls) markers, stamps, coloring books and puzzle books, and all our random crayons.

This cabinet is more specific and will be refreshed and restocked as the year goes by. On the top shelf are some fun, Draw-with-Chalk and Magnetic books, our geoboards and the bands and cards that go with them, dinosaur puzzles, some sign language cards that we got YEARS ago in kid-meals from Sonic, Nate's Kid K'nex set, a bowl of sugar for writing, our coin sorting game, and random cards that I have made. The bottom shelf holds a bowl full of magnets, and our magnetic wand, cuisinaire rods,some math games, our version of metal insets, lacing cards, and our collection of random puzzles.

Tucked behind the cabinets are various maps and learning mats. Then, on the floor are the tubs that hold the mats for the little kids' floor work, our CDs, our CD/cassette player and some magnets.

Next, is our easel. It is a magnetic white board, so we use it A LOT. On the other side is a chalkboard, and the two yellow clips on the top work wonderfully for holding pocket charts when needed. My awesome husband mounted hooks for me to hang more pocket charts, and I found the window clings at the Dollar Tree.

The white cabinet in the corner holds all of our supplies and things that are currently "unavailable" to the kids.

The very top shelf is art supplies. All of my beads, glues, wires, stickers, craft sticks that I will use to create more works for them to do. Also, our bubble stuff and shaving cream live on this shelf. The next shelf is math and stuff. Shells, manipulatives, cubes, foam and plastic animals, magnetic numbers, thermometers, all are stored here.

The next shelf holds language materials. Which basically means letters of all sorts: magnetic, chipboard, foam, cookie cutter... And all of our "learning" puzzles. And whatever supplies would not fit on the top shelf.

Then comes a random collection of books and folders, my long-standing collection of stencils, noodles, our small broom and dustpan, and our playdough and playdough toys.

The bottom shelf holds all of our games, flashcards, and paper games that I have created. Tucked in the middle there, is our brand-new balance scale that we can hardly wait to use.

On top of the white cabinet is: a mailbox, a Jenga game, a tractor, a LiteBrite, an empty vase and a basketful of flowers. I taped large coins to the front of the cabinet, and a weather chart and our chore chart to the side.

Above the window is the line that my husband hung for us to display our current works of art. The flags are from July 4th. I shamefully admit that is the last art project we have done.

The white shelf under the window is also a gift from my husband. :) Our Circle-Time charts sit on it, and underneath are boxes of storage for the little kids' Montessori works. Weeks 2, 3, and 4 are in the top box and everything else is in the bottom box. Hopefully, this will help as I rotate the themed stuff every week. Beside the storage boxes is our tub of "reference" books: atlases, dictionary, guide books, a collection of "geography books" for them to peruse. Beside that is the new school supplies that I haven't yet put in their school boxes. And beside THAT (and under that, as well) is a roll of butcher paper that my husband procured from somewhere for free. He is good at that.

Here is a better picture of the Circle Time boards and the other stuff. There are posters in Spanish (shapes , colors, numbers) on the backs. The board on the right, and the Spanish are for the big kids' afternoon Circle Time. The board on the left we will all do in the mornings, but it is really for the little kids.

Here is the other half of the room.

On the very top of this built-in bookshelf is scrapbooks, boxes of embroidery thread and Children's Ministry supplies. The second shelf is more ministry resources, boxes of stamps and scrapbooking tools, and books that I will pull from throughout the year.

The next shelf is all the textbooks the kids will use this year (some of them are for the teenagers) and books that they will read throughout the year.
Then comes the tins of pens, pencils, sharpies, dry erase markers, and regular markers. The caddy on the left end holds flags, chalkboard erasers, and pencil sharpeners. The basket on the other end holds all the cords for keyboards, cameras, and computers.
The next shelf, which I did NOT wind up with a good picture of, has a box of small drawers that currently holds a bunch of odds and ends of cards and games and works. Next to that is a stack of empty pencil boxes. Then is a basket of scissors, glue, and tape. Then is my "junk basket". There is a little of everything in there: from wipes to pictures, to church papers to library book cards.

The bottom three shelves are the little kids' shelves. A basketful of "educational" board books, their Bibles (and a copy of the Mouse and the Motorcycle that really doesn't belong there) and their works for the first week of school... A, apples, and Creation. Some of these are not theme related and will only be removed at the end of the week if the kids don't touch them. The wooden tray holds their art supplies: paper, crayons, stamps and ink pads, stickers, clipboards, and their weekly color sheets.

Next is Kaytie's (soon to be Kaytie and Nate's) keyboard, the trashcan, and the computer. Beside and under the computer are more of my supplies, and paper.

This table was supposed to be my work-table, but it is rarely this clean. Above it hangs Kaytie's piano music. Our school binders are in the clear box. Mine holds ALL of our school sheets, our calender, and our schedules. Theirs is for completed work that we are keeping/ that they want to show off/ that they need to review. The red box holds paperwork I need to file. The puppet is for Children's Ministry and is only visiting. The front tray and pile is just stuff I need to put away elsewhere/ finish working on.

A pocket chart hangs off the front of the table, available for the kids to work with.

The purple bag is our Nature Walk bag. It holds drawing supplies and sketchbooks. There is still room in there for binoculars once I find them in the garage.
The blue bag is my niece's schoolwork that I am currently working on sorting and readying for this year.

This sits on the back of the table, ready to be pulled out when we need it. It is our geography board (with the personal info blurred out). We sing a song to go along with the cards. I believe I found the song here. On the back of this board (which is also cork) I will put a blank, white map of the world and our currently being studied continent, and the kids will color in the countries as we learn them.

And finally, if you will ignore the clutter in the foreground and the desecrated table in the background, this our "library". The white crate holds library books and the black crate holds our books. I found crates to be much easier for the kids to "put books away" than struggling with putting them back on the shelf. The rocking chair is for solitary readers. When we read as a group, we will either sojourn to the couch in the living room, or gather 'round the table.

This is where we will keep our stuff, and where a lot of our learning will take place. As for the rest of our learning, that we will do outside, on field trips, or in the kitchen. But I'm not going to post pictures of those places because this post is already way to long, and I absolutely despise my kitchen, so you will probably never see a picture of it! :)


Melissa said...

Looks great, Laura! I'm sure the kids LOVE this!

joelle said...

Hello, this looks like a lot of work has gone on here. It looks great!. Hope it all works out well.

rowena___. said...

what an awesome room! you have many great ideas. it never occurred to me to hang things in front of the windows, or from the edge of the tables--i'm totally going to look around and see how i can impliment something like that here. thank you for sharing so much detail of your classroom.

Julie said...

The room looks great. Isn't it neat to have a "handy man" around? :) I like your nature bag and geography board ideas, we may just have to implement those ourselves. Great job!

Nicole said...

It looks great!

Mrs. Darling said...

Love you rcreative use of small spaces. Enjoyed the tour.

rawbanana said...

I love your school room! Our old house had no place for school either, but at this house we have a whole room designated for it and I LOVE it! Yours looks very organized, well done!


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