back to school–classroom tour

Well it seems that starting back to school and keeping up with my posting was just a little too much for me. I thought a lot about what I wanted to post, but obviously was lacking in time management skills. I am starting to feel slightly more on top on things, so hope I will be posting more.

We have actually been back to school for 3 full weeks, 4 weeks if you include the children’s orientation week. This is what our classroom looked like during orientation week and for the first full week of school.  I did make some brief notes about what we have changed and added since I took these pictures. If you have any questions about materials on the shelves or why we did something a certain way just ask.

Peace corner and early reader book shelf

classroom tour - montessori works

The peace corner works are done at the small kneeling table next to the cube shelf.

Shelf 1 has a glass cube that has a picture of a butterfly etched inside and a flat corner so the children can balance it on end.

Shelf 2 has a wooden finger labyrinth

* We have now switched out the butterfly cube for a cube with a humming-bird picture

Language shelves

classroom tour - montessori works

This is my favorite addition to the classroom! We mounted picture rail from IKEA to display our sandpaper letters. We group our letters in 5 groups, each with one vowel, these groups are color coded and all supporting materials are categorized by this color scheme.

classroom tour - montessori works

This shelf focuses on works that support the sandpaper letters and early movable alphabet work.

The top shelf holds the metal insets, trays, paper and pencils.

Shelf 2 has the I-spy box, and then red, orange, yellow, white (green) and blue baskets that contain letters that match the corresponding sandpaper letters and objects to sort by sound.

Shelf 3 has a basket that contains a group of mixed letters and objects to sort by sound. The next 5 baskets are color coded with embroidery floss sewn around the edge and they hold picture card to sort by sound.

Shelf 4 first has a box for moveable alphabet introduction work. Then there are 6 pink boxes that have pictures of CVC words and 6 blue boxes that are still short vowel words but have blends. As teachers we do not dogmatically follow the pink, blue, and green or the Muriel Dwyer approach, rather we take from both and adapt for each child.

The moveable alphabets are stored under the shelf.

classroom tour - montessori works

The top of this long shelf is dedicated to prereading works. The three black leather trays (they should have all been together) start with vocabulary cards, object to object matching and then object to picture matching. The three blue trays hold cards for things that go together, opposites and picture to picture matching.

* These objects and cards have all been switched since this picture, but we have kept the same trays.

Shelf 2 is pretty empty. It has the first reading lesson and reading cards that are grouped into the pink, blue, green categories. This shelf will be mostly beginning reading works.

* We have since added two three-part card trays.

Shelf 3 again is pretty bare, it only has the phonogram sandpaper letters in three green baskets. In the future, this shelf will mostly be middle to advanced reading works.

Shelf 4 is where we keep our chalkboards, chalk and paper. We always have a few types of paper available. Unlined, lined but cut the  long ways (great for list making), full and lined, and lined story paper. We will eventually fill this shelf up with advanced reading works and grammar work.


classroom tour - montessori works

classroom tour - montessori works

I could not get a good picture of the long math shelf, so you will have to jump between the two pictures to follow along.

The top shelf has the number rods (yes ours are blue and natural, I have no idea why), the number cards, sandpaper numbers and the spindle boxes.

On shelf 2 we started with a 1-5 memory game, cards and counters, a bead stair with small numerals on a tray, two more baskets that hold bead stair beads (for other activities), teen boards, and then a teen bead hanger.

Shelf 3 has tens board, hundred board, introduction to the golden beads, introduction to golden bead cards (not on a tray in this picture, they are now), 9 layout.

Shelf 4 holds the stamp game, stamp game paper, dot game paper, addition strip board, addition finger charts.

classroom tour - montessori works

We are going to keep the top of this second math shelf rather clear. The area behind the shelf is the major thoroughfare in our class and last year it was difficult to keep it tidy and in order. We do have our pencils, pencil sharpeners and nametags for pausing work at the far end.

Shelf 2 has the multiplication bead board, multiplication finger charts, subtraction strip board, subtraction finger charts.

Shelf 3 is the division bead board, clock works.

Shelf 4 is where the bank game, cards, and trays and kept.


classroom tour - montessori works

Our pink tower is to the side and a central focus of the class. I do like to have it in a heavy traffic area because the children notice it and take care not to knock off the tiny cube.

Our top shelf has the red rods and next the first cylinder block and the red knobless cylinders. Our cylinder blocks have a color coded piece of tape on the side to show which is the matching set of knobless cylinders. This is the way that the previous teachers had it, and it works so we have kept it.

Shelf 2 has the broad stairs, the second cylinder block and yellow knobless cylinders

Shelf 3 holds the sound cylinders, the third cylinder block and green knobless cylinders.

Shelf 4 is the second color box, an empty basket for the child to go on a color hunt with color box 2, color box 3, another empty basket because we have the child leave color box 3 on the shelf and bring one set of colors to their rug at a time with the basket, cylinder block 4 and the blue knobless cylinders.

Under the shelf on the floor in the large white tray are extension cards for the pink tower, and the red, yellow, and green trays have extension cards for the corresponding knobless cylinder boxes.

classroom tour - montessori works

On the top of the second sensorial shelf we keep the constructive triangles — they are kind of difficult to see in this picture.

Shelf 2 has the geometric solids, a basket with blindfolds, the cards for the geometric cabinet and then the geometric cabinet.

Shelf 3 should start with the binomial cube and then the trinomial cube, then the small basket with the bases for the geometric solids should be on the shelf above. We have our mystery bag in a basket, and then we have a long and short work and a big and small work.

Shelf 4 has a set of baric cylinders and then touch tablets.

Practical life

classroom tour - montessori works

Our first practical life shelf is going to focus on sewing works

The top shelf has two different types of bead stringing.

Shelf 2 has two different sewing cards.

*we have added and changed quite a bit on this shelf. We changed out the sewing cards, added bracelet making, knot tying and pulling apart burlap

classroom tour - montessori works

This shelf is going to focus on preliminary activities and movements, spooning, tonging. pouring. The bottom of this shelf will be the tool shelf.

* while the main focus of these works has stayed the same,we have changed the materials.

classroom tour - montessori works

Our third practical life shelf is going to have our care of environment works.

The top shelf works could really go on the second practical life shelf if we were keeping our categories strict, but thankfully we are kind of fluid in our class! The works are opening and closing, clothes pin clipping, and sorting.

Shelf 2 is sweeping with a dustpan and dusting.

* we are starting plant care and polishing this week

classroom tour - montessori works

This is our hand washing table. We started the year with a stationary sponge transfer work. We have now moved to an introduction to hand washing work.


classroom tour - montessori works

I find our current art area set up less than ideal. We used our regular art shelf as our geography shelf, and we are using these shelves while we find something else, hopefully that will be soon.

The white cube shelf has the stapler, envelopes, paper for cutting, scissors, and then a design plate for rubbings.

The wooden shelf has a paper source tray with drawing paper and then the drawing tray on the top.

Shelf 2 has construction paper in the paper source tray and then the gluing tray.

The bottom shelf has plasticine clay.

The easel is set up for drawing with chalk.

* We have added another tray for cutting and more advanced cutting works.

Movement shelf

classroom tour - montessori works

We are starting with one simple work for now, walking with a cork balanced in your hand. The child takes the whole tray to a table, then takes the empty basket to another place in the room. They balance the cork on their hand and walk with it from the full basket to the empty basket.

Somehow I forgot pictures of the science and geography shelf. The science shelf had a dead wasp in our observation viewer and a butterfly puzzle. The geography shelf has traced continents and one tray for pin punching, a flag book and a book about the United States. This week we are starting land, air, and water and living and nonliving, we will add materials to support these lessons.

I will try to do an updated tour later in the year. I think it will be a great way to see what is working and what isn’t working in the class!

Want to be the first to know what’s happening at montessori works? Sign-up to have posts delivered by email and never miss a thing!


One thought on “back to school–classroom tour

Leave a Reply