I got good news from my new principal that I can store some of the items I don't want in the room elsewhere in the building. I was VERY happy about this and hope that they are all moved out by the time I get back there on Monday. That will really help me start to visualize the space a lot better.
I organized the office supplies in my desk and was thus able to empty a few more boxes, so that was good. There are just so many various boxes and so much visual clutter in the classroom that it's overwhelming. I find it difficult to focus with so much disorganization. I am certain that the same can be said for children in many of today's elementary classrooms that are plastered with materials, posters, and other visual clutter. I am actually doing my final project for my college class this summer on that very topic. I am very passionate about classroom design and hope that my vision for this new space can be actualized.
I did snap a few photos of a bead-stringing activity just to illustrate a bit of what I think about when displaying materials on a shelf. So, here you go..........
This first photo shows how materials are typically displayed in an early childhood setting. There is not anything inherently wrong about this. The storage container is neatly labeled with a photo and nicely contains the materials.
The photo below shows how I prefer to display materials. Do you notice that the materials themselves (in this case the colored wooden beads) compete with the bright yellow of the tub for visual attention? In the wicker basket, the colors of the lovely beads themselves draw your eye to the materials, making you want to explore further.
Another thing to note here is that oftentimes it seems that way too much of a given material is displayed at a time. The tub shown above was nearly half full of beads and had about 10 tangled bead strings lying on top in addition to a rubber-banded batch of pattern cards. This can make for an overwhelming activity for the child who takes the beads off the shelf.
In contrast, the wicker basket holds fewer beads and has two bead strings. At the beginning of the year, I wouldn't even add the pattern cards to the basket. I like to have a variation of bead-stringing out on my classroom shelves all year round. I change the beads out to reflect seasonal or holiday themes and colors. I also start the year with larger beads, and swap them out for smaller ones later in the year when the children's fine-motor skills are more refined. I would then also add the pattern cards later in the year.