Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year----------New organization

Happy New Year!! I have been working non-stop today since about 10:00 a.m. First, I removed all traces of Christmas from our home. It's my tradition to do that on New Year's Day. I actually felt quite motivated to do it a few days ago, but my oldest son (knowing our routines) insisted that I wait until New Year's. So I did. That "little" project took two or three hours. Since then I've been reorganizing STUFF and setting up a learning shelf and art shelf for the boys. Luckily, I already had 3 shelves in our main living area that I was able to repurpose. They were being used to hold toys, but honestly, the boys didn't play with half the toys on them. So I removed the toys from 2 of the shelves and made one into an "art" shelf and the other into our "learning" shelf. (I plan to rotate the removed toys back in and I'm sure that will also renew interest in them.) Isn't it funny that on my other blog I always write about hands-on Montessori learning activities and setting up a learning environment for independence yet it wasn't until today that I did that in a big way in my own home? Oh well, no time like the present, right?

Here is our little art shelf. This shelf is in our dining/kitchen area. It was already here before, but it had an identical shelf pushed up next to it. Both shelves previously held various toys. And during Christmas they had our Christmas village on the top. I moved one of the shelves to another area and it is still going to be used for games and toys. We have always had access to art materials, but they were in a different place. I think putting them out here where we all spend most of our time will help facilitate spontaneous creativity. Each of my sons also has their own "art" table in our computer room and they each received art totes for Christmas that are full of supplies. These totes will stay on their art tables so they will have supplies right there too.

I pulled two mugs out of our kitchen cabinet and plunked a bunch of plain pencils into one and colored pencils into another. My oldest son is constantly drawing and writing and setting his pencils everywhere and asking, "Where's my pencil?" Now he will have one place to find AND return his pencils. DUH!! Why didn't I do this sooner? It's exactly how I have pencils set up in my Montessori classroom. The little tote has extra scissors, envelopes, hole punch and (under the sock which we use as an eraser) dry-erase markers for our little whiteboard. I also put the Do-A-Dot markers in there.

We previously had this little drawer unit in our computer room next to my sons' tables. I have a drawer for markers, crayons, and the bottom has oil pastels and crayon rocks. I weeded out all the markers that were dried out. THAT was on my to-do list for a LONG time. Today I can cross it off! YAY! You can see our little white board tucked in next to the drawers so we can easily find and use it too.

This shelf had also previously had a HUGE tub filled with cookie cutters for playdough. While my boys did use it some, the tub was way too big and heavy for them to easily move around. It also had so many cookie cutters that they really had to dig to find the ones they wanted. So.....I got smart once again and just pulled out a few favorite cutters and seasonal ones and placed them in a smaller tub with the two rolling pins and container of dough. The rest of the cutters will be rotated in and out. I'm pretty sure the playdough will get more use now. It's on my list for the weekend to make a batch of "snow dough" for home and for my classroom.

We also previously used this drawer organizer in our computer room to hold paper. I just moved it onto our new "art" shelf for easier access. Top drawer has plain white paper, middle drawer has lined manuscript paper (my oldest son has recently become obsessed with using this kind of paper to write stories on) and the bottom drawer has construction paper.
I also put out a little basket with strips of colored cardstock to use simply for cutting and/or making collages. My little boy will love this, I'm sure.
I am excited about our newly organzied art supplies. I plan to occasionally set up "projects" for the boys and I have plenty of unused space on this shelf to accommodate those types of activities.

1 comment:

rainbowmummy said...

Well done, it looks great. I am sure your sons will love it!

I wish our tree was down, I am so fed up with it. I usually have it down before the new year comes in, I just need the motivation, ugh. I will end up leaving it until Monday, I know I will.