Monday, July 27, 2015

Montessori Bootcamp: Teacher Workstation

Happy Monday, everyone. I have to admit that sometimes over the summer I forget which day of the week it is. But, Monday it is and today I woke up feeling some excitement. Why, you ask? 

Last week I was invited to participate in a Montessori Classroom Set Up Boot Camp by Seemi from Trillium Montessori. Seemi is a wonderful presence on the web for the Montessori community. She runs a school in North Carolina and has some amazing materials, many of which she gives away for free. 

I had the pleasure of meeting Seemi at this year's American Montessori Conference in Philadelphia. It is always a joy to meet people you know from the web in person.

Anyway, last week I used the money I made from my Montessori Visual Schedules to sign up for Seemi's boot camp. She was offering it at a steep discount and I thought I would use it to get myself really prepared for the upcoming school year. 

So this morning I woke up with excitement because today I received my first email with my homework! Today's lesson was to set up the Teacher Workstation. I have to admit that this one was pretty easy for me as I cleaned and organized my classroom at the end of last year. It has still been interesting to see what Seemi deems necessary and how I will tweak it myself.

I have to admit that I split my work station between my sewing room at home and my classroom at school. I don't have photos of my home environment but took some when I went to school today to clear out the weeds from our classroom garden. 

Obviously I won't recreate everything Seemi told us in her email (you have to sign up for yourself for that!), but I'll give you a synopsis. First she mentioned all the office supplies you need for the year. Things like a three hole punch and different kinds of glue and brass brads and a first aid kit, etc. She also talked about different ways to store the items. 

The above photo shows my classroom storage cabinets. You can see that I keep clear bins on the top of the cabinets. These include one bin for trays, one bin for baskets and five bins for Practical Life. I break up the P.L. bins into autumn (Sept. Oct. Nov.), December/January, February/March, April/May. There are two bins of items that belong to the school. I don't get into these much as I have so much of my own items! I also keep my musical instruments and the botany cabinet up on top when it is not in use. 

The cabinet doors are organized from left to right as art, science/geography (2 doors), language, practical life and sensorial, math, and office type supplies. We also have a teacher closet at our school in which I always purge a few things and from which I take a few things each year.

The children each have a hook and spot under the cabinets for their tote bags, coats, shoes and slippers. It is quite full when school is in session! To the right of the cabinets is my 'teacher shelf.'

 Here's a close up of the shelf. It does not look like this during the school year. I do my best to keep this shelf looking tidy but I have to admit it gets messy very quickly. Right now I have some items I bought at a garage sale and also some spanish language and sewing materials stored on the shelf. These will be stored in the cabinet when school is in session.  

During school, I like to keep my lesson plans on the top shelf along with any notes that are pertinent for the current week (i.e.: children going home early or with someone new, etc.). The second shelf includes the sand tray (I don't keep it on the shelf anymore but get it out when using it for lessons) and on the paper trays I keep our purple folders (we send info. home once a week in the folders to each child), paper for map making (we pin punch our maps) and folders that include consumables that are currently on the shelf, field trip folder, folders with paperwork for my readers and anything else that is used often.

The fourth shelf holds large and small clip boards for the children and the lowest shelf holds my albums. I'm tweaking the use of the rest of the shelving space this year. I want to give my assistant teacher a shelf. She is in charge of the children at lunch and often wants to have books and music stored somewhere. I do usually keep library books that I plan to read and also materials for group lessons somewhere on the shelf. 

Like I said, it gets cluttered quickly!

Finally, here is the inside of my first cabinet. It looks very messy but is actually organized. I keep most office supplies here. Because we are a larger school, we have a small room for school office supplies and larger equipment (photo copier, large stapler, 3 hole punch, book binder, etc.). We also have a very large paper cutter and loads of paper in their own room as well as an art closet. So I do my best not to keep too much in my room that I can get elsewhere. Of course, as I'm the last room in the school I get my exercise going to the front of the school for everything!

At home I have a laminator, three hole punch, paper cutter and large table for material making. I don't make too much at school as there is really not much space (or time!). I use Microsoft Publisher to make most of my card materials. I hope to make a few more before the summer is out!

There was a lot more to Day One of the  boot camp including making binders for record keeping etc. but I'm not going to get into that here. I did bring home my record keeping binder from school. I have a three page record that I keep on every child over the three years that they are with me as well as all of their parent conference papers. For the children that have therapists, I keep a separate folder for those notes and file them in the child's personal file each year.

Tomorrow's lesson is on the assistant handbook. I have a WONDERFUL assistant but I am looking forward to seeing how I can put together a better handbook. I hope to blog about this experience but know that it won't happen every day as I'll be too busy doing all the homework!!!

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