Saturday, January 4, 2014

setting up the classroom for the new year

School has been on break for three weeks now. We return next week for a week of The Mitten. Here is how the room has been set up so far....I also have a basket to fill with wool squares. I'm going to see if the kiddos want to make their own mittens! First up, I added wee mitten erasers to our rice bin.
We pulled all of the fall items from the nature table and my co-teacher prettied it up. We added white stones and jewels and hope to have the children bring in items from around their homes. Our winter so far has been unseasonably summer-like. We'll see what happens.
 Mittens shapes on our chalkboards for fine motor painting. Some of our children will do this for all of their exploration hour. Sometimes they will request we redaw the same shape over and over again. Some want new shapes, some want to draw their own shapes, while others will simply paint the water onto the board over and over again.
 Mitten memory games as sorting fun. The mittens on the right are from Oriental Trading. I only put out half of the game (with their matches), the other half, I punched holes into one end, added a pipe cleaner loop and now we have ornaments for our winter tree. The mittens on the right are also a matching game but these feature numbers and colors. We'll see what the children do with them.
 Mitten shaped paper at the easel for the children to paint their own mittens. I will select a few harmonious colors (pictured here: red, pink, gold, white, and turquoise) for the painting but if the children wish to add any others they will tell me and we do. I have a few children who polish off five or six paintings a day so we have a pile of pre-cut mitten shapes and regular easel paper to choose from.
 I plan on making some snow dough but just in case I do not get to it, our festive cloud dough is set up. If I do not get the play dough made, I'm going to add a squeeze bottle of hair conditioner, a container of baking soda, and a container of cornstarch for the children to mix up to see what they make.
 Th art table is set up with mitten stampers, snowflake stampers, snowflake stickers, and crayons. The art shelves are always open and filled with markers, crayons, scrap construction paper, blank paper, scissors, glue sticks, white glue, and stickers. We also have watercolors and tempera available if the children ask for them.
 The train table has been turned into a winter inspired sensory bin for the children to use for dramatic play. It is full of pom-poms, glass jewels, snowflake shapes, forest animals and more. I am excited to see what the children do here.
Last, but not least, I have hidden mitten shapes around the room for the children to find during group time. There are two of each design and we'll do some mitten math with them. Later in the week we will add ice to the mix for the children to explore. Bring on the mitten!


  1. I would like to add a rice bin to my room, but does it NOT get buggy in time????.. Do you change it periodically?

    1. If you keep the rice in a nicely sealed container it should not get buggy. We're on year two with our green dyed rice and this rice we've had since September. It also needs to remain dry for good storage as well. ;)