Friday, September 18, 2015

it's all in the details...

our fine motor shelf ready to motor!
We're spending a few weeks reading books on trains and trucks. The library corner is stocked with books, we have an awesome thrifted wooden train and car set on our building table, and the shelves around the room are filled with activities centered around shapes and things that go. Here's a peek!
This is our Math Shelf.  It consists of two Ikea cabinets with the doors and extra shelves removed. We aim to keep it simple by placing one basket or tray of manipulatives for exploration on each shelf. We have been exploring shapes and colors in the room so our Math Shelf is full of happy shapes and colors. On the top shelf we have a basket of pattern blocks along with a book on shapes, and our cylinder stackers from Guidecraft* (via Zulily). On the bottom shelves we have a basket of Magformers*, and a basket of rainbow cubes.  During the week, the children bring the baskets to different areas to the classroom to explore. When they are finished and it is time to clean up, the fill the baskets and return them to the shelves (or any surface they think will suffice).
The felt train was made to go along with the book Freight Train* by Donald Crews. I did a big ol' eye batting at the mister to get him to draw me the template for these pieces. I have them somewhere in a file and when I find them I will scan them in so you can use them as well if you are interested. I introduce the pieces as I read the story. We then work on sorting our vehicle counters* as a group on our circle time rug. Later in the week, these felt pieces are moved all over the classroom and used in various ways. The counters too are used all over the room. While I set up the investigation on our Math table, I do not fret when the children decide to use them elsewhere. The table is a bit tall for them and they prefer to use the floor for the most part. 

On the art table I have set out tickets, hole punches, and crayons in a truck shaped container. The children spent the week making ticket collages and creating their own train tickets. We have an art shelf as well full of paper, glue, crayons, and markers. Next to the art shelf and table is our easel for painting. 

We have two waterfall style bookcases in our reading area. I hit up the public library every two weeks for books that fit various themes. here we have all things transportation. I want to write more about the books but am not sure if anyone is interested enough. 
Finally we have our fine motor shelf, which is a Kallax shelf from Ikea (the entire shelf can be seen in the top photo of this post). Here we have shape connectors, transportation lacing beads* (I picked these up from Target), a thrifted peg board, and gears from Plan Toys*. In front of our shelf is a coffee table that the kiddos bring the baskets down to for exploring. 

So there ya go! More details on what I use in my classroom and how we set it up. The baskets are all thrifted and we have a cabinet in the classroom where we stack up the unused baskets. I'm a basket hoarder and my teaching partner is not so we agreed that if it doesn't fit in the cabinet it goes! Thank goodness they stack so nicely! 

*all Amazon links are affiliated with my school, just so ya know. Thank you!

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