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Saturday, March 15, 2014

Pre-K Tweets Classroom Tour!


Welcome to my pre-k classroom tour!  Classroom spaces and and arrangements are so very important and especially in the early childhood years! Defined areas for learning centers allow for students to be gravitated to new provocations and it also helps them know where to return materials properly. I love to create inviting center areas that are already set up for play! It gives students kind of an invitation to play and a few ideas about how to get started.  The center learning areas I have are: blocks, pretend, discovery, reading, abc's, art, ipads, math, sensory, puzzles, & light table.  Sometimes I don't have the centers open all at one time. For example, at the very beginning of the school year blocks and pretend centers are open. Students learn to be responsible in that center and then a new center is open/added every couple of days. I also like to incorporate the topic we are studying into all the centers. Currently, we are learning all about the season of spring! There are so many seasonal concepts students are interested in. We are exploring insects, spiders, butterflies, and gardens! We are also learning new art techniques with our Andy Warhol bee prints and learning about garden artist, Claude Monet!


First stop, our morning board area! Here we have our word wall which has our alphabet circle letters (purchase here!), sorted student names, environmental print from our community, and post-it note student drawings of vegetables we have been learning about!  We also have our Smartboard, Wish You Well Board, and other carpet/circle time supplies. 
Here is our newly arranged blocks center!  This is a new classroom and I finally came up with a solution of where I wanted our blocks center to relocate. For a few years I have had it open to the group carpet area. It allowed for students to have a lot of room to build...but when it was time to clean up (and even if I gave the blocks group a head start) ..students were waiting to sit because of the blocks on the floor.  So during winter break I revised the room layout a little bit which allowed for a new reading area, separate blocks area, and larger discovery area. It is working quite well! 
I am trying to stay with a more natural theme this year.. I purchased the two burlap canvases (above shelf) at Hobby Lobby and they display photos from our buildings study and photos of our observation of a hobby farm construction.  The carpet is from IKEA and I like how they colors and design are a bit toned down? ..unlike a regular primary colored transportation rug.  I was also attracted to this rug because it features a castle (for fairy tale unit), an igloo (for winter unit), and neighborhood buildings. We were studying community, construction, and maps when the rug arrived so it tied in nicely!  The mirror is actually a pretend dress up clothes cabinet that I flipped over.  It makes the center appear larger and students can view their constructions from a variety of angles! The blocks always stay in the center but I rotate extras with the current topic of study throughout the year! The "extras" include road signs, cars, construction vehicles, flowers, stuffed animals, plastic toys, people...whatever fits the theme. The blocks center also includes baskets for storage and clipboards. We practice drawing out our "construction plans" on the clip boards and students also like to copy the vocabulary posted.
Our newly expanded discovery area!  I have a large wooden spool/table and 2 wicker Ikea chairs that I hope to add in soon. The discovery center is all about investigation & finding out!  Students explore weight differences, measuring, size ordering, textures, etc.  The discovery center permanently houses science tools like a microscope, tongs, tweezers, pan balance, scales, binoculars, and magnifying glass. The center also has baskets for storage, clip boards for observation drawing & writing vocab, pencils, sensory bottles, plants, and vocabulary. 
In our discovery are we also have informational picture books on insects and gardens, seed activities, a butterfly observation basket, During our spring unit of study the center holds: The Very Hungry Caterpillar butterfly life cycle cards, plants, mini pretend nature doll house, seeds & seed packets, real butterfly wings, and a basket of textures. 



Here is an example of another unit of study in our discovery area. This photo is from our summer ocean unit from last year.  Items can easily be switched out and easily rotated to fit any theme! 
This is a photo of our spring math center that contains insect books (that focus on counting & time), folder games, a Hungry Caterpillar roll, count, draw game, a Hungry Caterpillar graphing game, chick eggs number match up, sensory numbers, and a few other spring themed math games. I love using trays for center games with little cups on the trays. Trays help students be ready to play with easy setup and easy clean up!  Before we play in new centers for the new topic of study we ALWAYS have a class circle time meeting about center procedures. We go through how to play every game (teacher and students model) and how to clean it up! This is so very important and helps center time to run much more smoothly and students learn practical life skills.

Our new reading area!  It contains a Hungry Caterpillar felt board for story retelling and sequencing, Hungry Caterpillar sequencing cards, pillows from Hobby Lobby, rug from Ross, two wicker Ikea children's chairs, insect puppets, books about gardens and insects, and also spring themed QR codes that lead to stories on the ipad. 
Our sensory tub is filled with flowers, magnet numbers, green and pink pots for patterning, gardening gloves, gardening tools, and watering cans.  It also has mini vocab. cards that I laminated and then taped to the side. Sensory is such a fun center and quite popular too! There are hundreds of sensory ideas on Pinterest. I store sensory materials in large plastic bags in a tub.  I like to sprinkle in plastic magnet numbers and letters and also post vocab on the outside of the tub. Tweezers, tongs, chopsticks, and shovels can be added to help with fine motor! 
This is our ABC center which now features Hungry Caterpillar word cards, Eric Carle stories, rhyming cames, and alphabet matching games. I have my writing center and ABC games combined this year and we call the whole center ABC center. The writing supplies are located next to this shelf and contain whiteboards, a variety of writing utensils, paper, and wikki stix.  The ABC center games can include: letter matching games, letter bingo, alphabet beading, letter i spy sensory bottles, letter formations sticks, letter tracing, etc. 
Our spring pretend center filled with farmer's market items such as flowers, pots, seed packets, and vegetables! 
We incorporated literacy into this center by having gardening books, seed packets, an open/closed sign, and vocabulary displayed. Pretend is such an important center to have for students to explore community roles, practice life skills, and just experience "play."  

This is just a glimpse of all the fun and exciting things going on in our classroom for spring!  Thanks for stopping by to check out our classroom! Only a few more months till school is out, then summer, and back to fall again! 

11 comments:

  1. I love the cart in your dramatic play center! Where did you get it/what is the name?
    Thanks so much!
    Shelley

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    1. Thanks! It was given to me by a fellow teacher. She said it was from Pottery Barn..I tried looking for it online but couldn't find it listed. It was originally green, red, and yellow.. I painted it white and took off the topper that had a clock on it.

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  3. Hey Christian! I just stumbled onto your page from pinterest and I have to say that I absoloutly love your blog as well as this post! Those areas are fantastic and I'm using you as an example for my paper on ideal activity areas for my Early Childhood Education course! I must ask where did you find that wonderful market cart???

    Jennelle :)

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    1. Thanks! It was given to me by a fellow teacher. She said it was from Pottery Barn..I tried looking for it online but couldn't find it listed. It was originally green, red, and yellow.. I painted it white and took off the topper that had a clock on it. Thanks for including my ideas in your paper! : )

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  4. Hi, I love your classroom! Where did you get your alphabet from?

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    1. Thanks! I actually created that alphabet years ago..I've made a similar one that you can purchase here: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Tan-Alphabet-2054407

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  5. Do you use tables for the kids to sit at? This will be my first year teaching pre-k and I'm having a hard time visualizing my room

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    1. oh yes! I have a square table and a couple of rectangle tables. We eat lunch in the classroom on those tables too. Most all of the tables are in a learning center (not grouped together). Here is some photos to give you an idea: http://prektweets.blogspot.com/p/my-classroom.html

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  6. I just love how tranquil your room fills, yet lots of natural light. Can you tell me your room size and approximate sizes of each center? I am just wondering if I am puttig too much into each space.
    Thank you so much

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    1. Hi Tina, the centers are big enough to hold a 4 ft table or 4 ft shelf. Hope that helps! That was a pretty big classroom I had that year.

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