Friday, August 3, 2007

Our First Grade Schoolroom

I have waited to show our schoolroom because it is still a work in progress. Today I decided that it most likely will always be a work in progress so why not show where we are right now? It will be fun to look back each year and see what changes.

Our schoolroom is actually our formal dining room. That means we don't have a closet, but we do have an enormous window that lets in a ton of natural light. We lose almost an entire wall, but it's a good trade in my opinion. Here's the view of our schoolroom right as you walk in our house.

The paint color is new this year. It is the first time I have put a color on a wall and thought, "Oh, that's not what I was thinking!" It has slowly grown on me though, mainly because it feels very calm and peaceful.

I have three sets of shelves, although they were designed for toys - which explains why half of my books must be laid on their side to fit. They were hijacked out of our playroom when we decided to homeschool. A huge goal for next year is to get two tall bookcases that will hold much more.

The top of this case holds all Thatcher's notebooks for each subject, as well as my teacher notebooks. They are too tall to fit on a shelf. The first shelf has all of our history and science materials. The bottom holds our language and phonics as well as our music and art appreciation materials. Peek underneath the case and you'll see where I have stashed all the catalogs I ordered from just about every company who produces anything in the realm of Classical Education and lots of Charlotte Mason materials, as well. These make for great bedtime reading! How homeschool-mommyish does that sound? Lol!

All the baskets, bins and drawers on this bookcase hold our office/school/art supply materials. The middle shelf is Haddon's special shelf of toys, books and goodies he can only play with during school time. This has been a big hit so far. I am switching out the toys weekly and occasionally plan to hide a lollipop or piece of gum on there, too; he'll be ecstatic. The bottom shelf holds our tiny (but hopefully growing) collection of Spanish materials. Everything currently on the shelf I found on clearance at Target a few weeks ago! Gotta love that.

I love these maps. I saw them on another blog and ordered them the next day. My knowledge of the world is truly pathetic so I find myself "studying" these maps a little each day. Now I just need to get a globe so Thatcher won't think the world is flat!

After only a week of school, I am already so glad dh and I splurged to buy the dry erase board for this year. Here is a picture before our lessons on Thursday (note to self: take photos of things that will reflect the flash from an angle and not straight on!). I put our daily to-do list in the right corner, and Thatcher crosses each item off as we complete it. This has been another huge hit. I knew he wasn't ready for a formal "assignment sheet" but felt we somehow needed to begin helping him organize his day. He loves visually seeing how much we need to do and the satisfaction of crossing those items off is a huge motivator as well. On the left are the Bible verses covered in the first few chapters of Wisdom and the Millers, which we are loving by the way! We have used this board for most of our lessons every day this week and when we are not using it, Haddon is happily scribbling away.

Last year I wanted a huge cork board to use to display Thatcher's work and anything else that struck my fancy. I couldn't find one large enough that fit in my budget so here was my solution...

Put two boards together that I got for $5 each at Wal-Mart. Not exactly the same effect but close enough for the money I saved! This year the left board will have our calendar, Awana's memory verse for the week and other tidbits, and the board on the right will display our "Artist and Composer of the Month".

Here is one last thing I am so proud of (and when you see it you're going to laugh at my goofiness, but I'm okay with that!). I loved the idea of keeping all our memory work on one huge flip chart; that way we could have it all together in one place without me having to rewrite it on the dry-erase board every time we wanted to review something. This is what I really wanted to buy: a chart stand that is expandable both in width and height! We could use it to display maps as our collection grows, as well as easel pads.

Not going to happen this year, so I needed to decide what to do in the meantime. I could write all our memory work on poster boards, hole punch them, connect them with rings and simply flip back and forth. I liked this idea because you could easily switch the order around and otherwise manipulate them. I ultimately decided against it because I would have to draw lines on every single board. I couldn't stand it if every word weren't perfectly straight. (Have I mentioned before I'm a little freaky that way?) After doing the math I realized that I could buy pre-lined easel pads for the same money as using the poster boards (assuming I would buy them at a dollar store at a price of three for a dollar) and they were delivered to my front door the next day - no shipping charges either since I added on a few other things I needed before school started. But where and how to hang them without my handy little chart stand? Here's what I came up with...

Pretty inventive isn't it? An easel we already owned, a little scotch tape to reinforce the hole, some string from a craft project last year and...tah-dah...I just saved $33. Although I still want the cool expandable chart stand for next year!

Well, I hope you enjoyed the tour of Smooth Stones Academy's first grade classroom! If you have yours posted somewhere in cyber-land please leave a link. I'd love to see it.

12 comments:

Lee said...

Gorgeous! The color does look calm, everything looks perfectly wonderful for learning! I have serious whiteboard envy...there is always next year. :) Can't wait to see the bulletin boards full (very clever idea!) and more pictures. I don't have any pictures to share as I don't have a school room. I do tape things to the wall on occasion though.

Kerri said...

It looks wonderful! I really like the color. I like the whiteboard too. I have that on my wishlist.

Kerri

Jenny in Ca said...

loved the pics, your homeschool room looks very inviting. Your flip chart idea is brilliant!

I am now wishing for a whiteboard, thanks to you...
a big one, I have a small one.

LisaWA said...

I love your school room! I love The color you chose for your walls.... what an inviting room.... good job!

LisaWa

Diane said...

Oh how I love love love love love your schoolroom. We also just gave up our formal dining room. We are still trying to figure out where and how to place everything. It's the first room you see when you walk in the house, that's the only part I wasn't thrilled about.

I also really like the color, that was the first thing that made me go, "wow". :)

ENjoy your new school area.

Life With My 3 Boybarians said...

With a space like that, it would be impossible not to set the tone for great early leaning.

Beautiful!

Life With My 3 Boybarians said...

And learning. Not just great leaning... but great learning, too. Ha!

Oy vey... off to refill the coffee mug!

Heather said...

Oooh, it's so pretty! I love the color! It looks very conducive to learning. Have fun!

Heidi said...

It's beautiful, Jennefer! You've done a great job on your school room. I love the two cork boards that you've put together. What a great idea!

Gentle Learning Mom † said...

Love the color! :)

Ali said...

How nice. We will "start" in the fall. Which just means that I'll actually buy a bit of curriculum, so I've been perusing the internet to see how other moms have made corners of their world function as a "school room" It really is lovely. I noticed that is how you had it at the beginning of last year, please post any changes you will make when the new year starts...that really helps us "newbies!" Thank you.

a future and a hope said...

Your schoolroom is BEAU-TEE-FUL!!!!!! I love it!!! Has it changed any this year? If so, can we have a peek?