Dude, Where's My Shelfwork?


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All Those Wonderful Manipulatives!

Grammar box word cards

Grammar box word cards

We were fortunate enough to get class sets of the official Montessori grammar boxes. The question was…where do we put all the cards so they are easily accessible?

Confession! I laminated the word cards. YEP! Laminated them.  I know that it is frowned upon to do so, but I have 90 students a day that need to use them and would like to get more than one year out of this very expensive resource.

 

Stack-On 60 drawer storage

Stack-On 60 drawer storage

One of my colleagues saw these great organizers at Fleet Farm, and realized they were just what we needed.  This particular one has 60 drawers, which was more than enough for the parts of speech cards.  I have been toying with the idea of creating some extra sentences, that are more complex, for my students that already have mastered the grammar boxes.  To be fair, there are very few students that have come to me having already done these despite two of our feeder elementary schools being Montessori focused.

While the grammar boxes are the only pre-packaged manipulatives that we have in our classrooms, my colleagues and I continue to create our own shelfwork that coordinates with and supports our Language Arts units.

After spending copious hours copying, laminating and cutting out the different root sorts, I realized that it was going to be interesting to get the box back to school without all the various drawers and contents ending up all over my car.

cling wrap

These boxes are also very helpful for the Greek/Latin root sorts that we have been doing throughout the year.  I like the 39-drawer Stack-on box for them because I can store larger task cards and sorting activities in the big drawers on the bottom.

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Getting It Put Together

The Montessori classroom has fairly specific ways in which materials are supposed to be set up. This is slightly difficult at the middle school level due to fewer manipulatives that actually go on trays/shelves for shelfwork.  When I was first setting up my classroom, I took a tour of my colleagues’ classrooms to collect ideas. Here are a few ideas that I plan to “steal” from them.

Class jobs by table

Class jobs by table

 

What to do if you don't understand

What to do if you don’t understand

Whiteboard table for minilessons

Whiteboard table for mini lessons

When you need help, or you can be helpful

When you need help, or you can be helpul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are some ideas that I did actually steal and implement. I’ll go into more detail on them in a later post.

This actually works! Students stop and check to make sure I am not talking before sharpening. Or they ask.

This actually works! Students stop and check to make sure I am not talking before sharpening. Or they ask if it is okay.

Entrance Procedures

Entrance Procedures

Exit Procedures

Exit Procedures

Quiet Corner Expectations

Quiet Corner Expectations

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I will admit, I was a little skeptical about labeling EVERYTHING in a secondary classroom, including where the pencil jar goes. Isn’t that a little childish for my middle schoolers?  Will they feel like I am treating them like little kids?  The answer was no, the kids didn’t bat an eyelash at all of the labels, and it actually made my life easier.  My cupboard of classroom supplies is labeled with where everything goes.  The art supply caddies that I put together for each table have a label for the table they go on and what supplies should be found in them.

Supply Cupboard

Supply Cupboard

Supply Caddies

Supply Caddies

 

Supply Corner

Supply Corner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Each table also has a folder with the picture of their table on it. This is where students turn in their work, stapled to their checklists on Friday.  If there is something that they are working on, or finished with and it isn’t Friday, they can put it on the right hand side (Save for Later). When they are all done and want me to look at it, they put it on the left hand side (Turn In).  Then a student from each table turns the folder in to the correct block’s bin, which is color coded and has a Northern Minnesotan animal “mascot” (I am part of the North Shore team).  I wish I had thought of this years ago!  I’ll get pictures up as soon as I figure out if they are on my camera or my iPad.