This summer, because I decided to stay on the Island, I got a chance to do something I had been wanting to do for a couple of years now: a deep review of each area with it's corresponding theory and purposes.
I set EVERYTHING out on the shelves to make sure there is still a space for everything. In our classroom, I don't think we've ever had ALL the materials out at once so it was a good opportunity to take a picture of the complete classroom so that I can remember later on in the year where I had planned on putting everything.
I thought this might be useful for someone so I'm posting the pictures of my work in progress. Mind you, cultural objects are missing as well as all of our plants which are outside under intensive care from my week off at sailing school. The shelves are not in their "final form" but it was a good moment to take the pictures.
Like my trainer taught us, materials are arranged on the shelf in order from simple to complex, and grouped sometimes by purpose or by activity. Not everything is exactly where I will put it eventually, but in general the shelves are organized as they will be.
Practical Life 1: This is one side of my main practical life island.
From top left: objects for waking on the line, and then some random stuff that I didn't put away before taking the picture.
Second tier: opening and closing containers, opening and closing matroshka dolls, opening and closing locks and keys, opening and closing nuts and bolts, stringing large beads, stringing medium beads, stringing seed beads, spooning with a spoon.
Third tier: transferring seeds with tongs, transferring water with a sponge, transferring water with a dropper, dry pouring, pouring a glass of water (with various pitchers behind it that I have to store together).
Fourth tier: wood works. Opening and closing wing nuts, using an Allen key, using a flathead screw driver, using a Phillips screw driver, (sanding: missing), (hammering: missing).
Practical Life 2: "wet" works on the other side of the island.
Top of the shelf from left to right: Folding cloths, folding socks, folding clothes, folding laundry cloths. (all of these available for washing, hanging up to dry, and ironing.)
Tier 1: dusting a table, dusting a material, brushing a rug, washing windows, washing an underlay, washing the paint easel.
Tier 2: table washing, washing the floor, washing dishes, drying dishes.
Practical Life 3: mostly plants and polishing works.
Top of shelf from left to right: wood objects to polish, watering plants.
Tier 1: dusting a plant, cleaning a plant, misting a plant, flower arranging.
Tier 2: polishing a mirror, polishing a table.
Tier 3: polishing brass, brushing shoes, polishing shoes.
Not pictured because they're not on a shelf: handwashing stand, dressing frames stand.
Sensorial 1: early sensorial works.
Top of shelf : Cylinder blocks and markers.
Tier 1: Brown Stair, Pink Tower. (I'm trying to find a setup where my pink tower can be vertical, but haven't been successful yet).
Tier 2: Red rods.
Sensorial 2: sense of touch.
Top of shelf: geometric solids, bases, geometry cabinet cards, geometry cabinet, and on it are the blindfolds.
Tier 1: touch board 1, touch board 2, sorting 1, sorting 2, baric tablets.
Tier 2: Fabrics box, thermic bottles, thermic tablets, touch tablets, pressure cylinders.
Sensorial 3: visual sense, and other senses that fit on the shelf. :)
Top of shelf: puzzles of animals, animal labels and cards, botany puzzles, botany cards and labels.
Tier 1: color box 1, color box 2, color box 3, smelling jars, sound cylinders.
Tier 2: knobless cylinders, tasting bottles.
Tier 3: constructive triangles.
And that's it for sensorial. I have a geography setup that's apart (we made a new shelf this summer for it). And a science shelf for botany that's apart as well.
Language 1: pre reading and beginning of writing.
Top of shelf: sandpaper letters, phonograms.
Tier 1: sand tray, small chalkboard, brush and water, sounds bingo.
Tier 2: classified objects (I use them for the sound game), classification picture cards, sounds box (matching sounds to objects), sounds cards(matching sounds to cards).
Tier 3: word tray (phonetic objects and letters cut out to make the words), moveable alphabet objects, moveable alphabet cards, moveable alphabet.
Language 2: reading.
Top of shelf: phonetic objects box, pink reading cards, blue reading cards, phonetic sentence and picture cards (matching), phonetic books.
Tier 1: phonogram bingo, phonogram box, phonogram booklets, phonogram cards, phonogram sentences and picture cards (matching), books with phonograms.
Tier 2: alternate spellings booklets, most common reading words lists, labels for the environment and sensorial area, puzzle words.
Tier 3: (missing on the trays) reading classification cards, definition booklets, definition in stages, word study. (I am making a lot of these materials, so all of it is in a jumble in my office.)
Language 3: writing, grammar and sentence analysis.
Top of shelf: writing materials.
Tier 1: farm setup, noun, article, adjective, logical adjective.
Tier 2: preposition, conjunction, verb labels, verb with object, double commands, adverb, logical adverb, grammar symbols box, grammar pencils box.
Tier 3: This is where sentence analysis goes. (I don't have trays that I like for this work yet.), message game, project box.
A lot of my material making this summer is in the language area- the work never ends.
Math 1: numbers 1-10, and fractions.
Top of shelf: small number rods, cards, sandpaper numbers, wooden numbers 1-10 puzzle 1, and numbers 1-10 puzzle 2.
Tier 1: spindles box, animals/dots and number cards game, cards and counters, memory game of numbers.
Tier 2 and 3: Fractions, fractions labels, fractions equations.
Math 2: Continuation of Counting and Decimal System
Top of shelf: bead stair, teen beads, teens beads hanger, tens beads, square chains bingo.
Tier 1: 100 board, dot game, stamp game.
Tier 2: introduction to the decimal system, large number cards, tray of 9, small number cards.
Tier 3: thousands, hundreds, tens, units, trays.
And right next to that shelf we have a small wall shelf with the teens boards and tens boards.
And on the other side of that we have the square chains and then the bead cabinet. (That Yair built.)
Math 3: Memorization work.
Tier 1: addition snake game, addition strips boards, flash cards.
Tier 2: addition charts.
Tier 3: subtraction snake game, subtraction strips boards.
Tier 4: subtraction charts.
Math 4: memorization work and passage to abstraction.
Top of shelf: multiplication bead bars, multiplication bead board, and the two bead frames. (I wish I had a different space to put these but math is so HUGE.)
Tier 1: multiplication charts.
Tier 2: division bead board, division chart.
Tier 3: division chart.
There are a few other shelves for other things in the classroom and I might post those some other day.
please do post the rest of your shelves - it is so interesting to see what you put where. I was taught a different order and we don't yet have all the maths materials - no bead cabinet, sob. your classroom looks beautiful.
Thanks so much for this post!!! I's so helpful to see the correct way to put the materials!!!!
Lovely post. Thanks for sharing!
Thank you for posting pictures of our shelves (I can't think of a better activity for introspection either). What a beautiful classroom!
I really loved your math shelves in particular- and I am not sure what the geometric artwork is above them, mandalas perhaps, but that is perfect for that area! I was recently re-reading The Advanced Montessori Method II, and there in the section on drawing, Montessori writes about the children reproducing Giotto's geometric designs from the cathedral in Florence with insets and I was wishing I could find a nice print of it to display in the math area of the primary classroom (maybe unconsiously plant that suggestion).
Anyhow, it is always so interesting to see how other people display the same materials and work out practical issues (I have large number rods, which I display out of sequence- which bugs me- but I think they are too heavy and hard to see for the youngest children on the top of the math shelf.
If you would be so gracious, I would really love to see how your ironing materials are displayed. I am trying to work that out in my own classroom.
Thank you again for sharing!
I feel so lucky to get such a view of your lovely room. You hAve such beautiful materials. The children are so blessed to have such a beautiful environment and a thoughtful and dedicated teacher. I have been analysing our practical life area so found that to be particularly interesting. Love all the woodworking. Inspiring way to display the teens and tens board...I would think they would get more use that way rather than hidden in the box. What is square chain bingo in the math area? I'm intrigued : ) Thank you for such a great tour of your room. I loved it!!
Ps I'm eagerly awaiting your report on the distance learning course on art. It sounds like a way to enrich an area In which I would like more training.
Thank you for sharing... Just looking at the beautiful materials makes me itch to get back to the Primary classroom a year from now!
I hope you find a vertical option for your pink tower. Do your students tend to build it horizontally very often due to its layout on the shelf or do they follow the presentation you give them?
I enjoyed looking at your shelves! I have never seen the teen and tens boards displayed like that, cool! A suggestion for your Pink Tower. Make a simple stand for it (even a pretty ceramic tile will work) and place it on the floor just in front of the right (or left - as the PT comes first-maybe pull the carpet out 10 cm) edge of that shelf. It will stick out a little bit, but the kids will get used to it and walk around it. I have my PT on a stand tucked in between 2 shelves, but I have had it sticking out in front before. I too have been working on my classroom all summer, it's so much fun when I have all this time to putter and think things through!
Hi Karen, please don't assume that this is THE correct way to display the materials. This is just what works for me in my classroom right now, and during the long breaks, I sometimes change things.
I try to follow what our trainer said- from simple to complex, and organized in a sequence or according to a common theme. Also depending on the setup of the area, sometimes they go from left to right, and sometimes from right to left.
Hi Abigail, thank you for your comment. The mandala-like art in the math area are postcards of ancient Tunisian mosaic works. I really would have loved to put them close to the metal insets, since they are very geometric and have a lot of inscribed figures but had that nice long space in math for the whole sequence.
Hi Becky, Thanks for your comment! About the square chains bingo, it's a way to make a group game out of matching the square chains.
There is one pouch that has all of the numbers that are on the labels for all the square chains. Each child chooses a square chain, counts and labels it. And then the leader of the game calls out the numbers from the pouch in mixed up order, and if a child has that number on their chain they mark it until all the labels on their chain have been marked.
Lindart, thanks for your thoughtful suggestion of a way to display the pink tower.
Thanks for this post! I love to see how other people set up their classroom and materials!
If you want, you can check out my classroom (last two years photos)here:
Just so lovely...thank you for sharing and happy summer! If you end up having to come over to Florida for any practicums related to the online training you are taking or if you come to the International Montessori Foundation's fall conference in 2010, it would be neat to meet you. You are always an inspiration to me. even though we are having to implement our Montessori in the home setting, I still strive to have it be as nice and organized as so altogether beautiful as your environment is for your children in your school.
Thank you so much for allowing us to see into your classroom and how your shelves look. they really make the work look even that more appealing than it already naturally is.
P.S. I am in the process of giving you an award called Blog With substance. It is supposed to encourage people to read excellent blogs and yours is certainly excellent and has so much to give all those who aspire to either be guides in a Montessori school or live in a Montessori inspired home...am writing it right now...
Your classroom is beautiful. I love your shaped grammar boxes!! Might try to make some. Thanks for sharing.
Thank you Colleen!
I always enjoy seeing what's on other people's shelves, particularly in the Practical Life section where there's room for creativity.
I need to take a good look at our shelves and determine our current needs are.
Thanks very much for sharing this.
I love your setup. Regarding pink tower, we use a stand and put it beside the sensorial shelf. My co teachers husband made it but it's Amazon has it (Montessori pink tower stand) for $9.99
Thank you!!! What a beautiful classroom! I really enjoyed your HUGE math area and the grammer boxes. It shows that you really love what you do and I'm glad you shared your wonderful shelves with us.
thank you, it is such an eye opener for newcomers in the field of education.
just to repeat what has been said - lovely classroom and great photos!
thank you :)
Thank you so much for your photos of your materials. It is "exactly" what I was looking for. I have just returned to teaching preschool, having taught in a Montessori Preschool (I can't believe I'm saying this) about 25 years ago. I am now trying to set up a practical life area,in a preschool which is open to Montessori activities. It is hard to not have all the materials. But one step at a time!
Hi, where did you get your actual shelves...looking for some cheaper than Montessori sites. Thx!!
Where did you get your actual shelves? Looking for less expensive than Montessori sites...thx!!
The first batch of shelves for the classroom (14 shelves) were made by a local carpenter. The rest I've made myself as necessity has demanded. Shelves on the web are way to costly for me to consider. I would suggest also asking among your parent community if there are any carpenters willing to do the job. If you are not looking for the ultimate quality in shelving, home made works just fine. We sand and re-finsih our shelves yearly, and they have held up nicely.
SOO beautiful!! I really enjoyed seeing your shelves. Arrangement is very nice. I really like how things are compacted and well fit but not crowded at all. I especially love your "beginning sensorial shelf"! So appealing to eye. I hadn't seen that arrangement with Pink Tower on the shelf before
very nice classroom! great inspiration! can I ask for the dimension of your bead cabinet?
The room is beautiful and the love and care are evident! Thank you for sharing!
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