As I mention a lot, we homeschool. Our school, Owl Creek Academy, does not have a classroom. We do school usually at the kitchen table, but move to the living room floor or even outside at times. I like it being versatile, but not having a classroom space has been difficult in the past- no whiteboard, no morning area, just notebooks. This year, I was determined to change that and thanks to Oriental Trading's amazing teaching resources, I was able to accomplish it. This has made a huge difference in our homeschool and it might do the same for yours.
This simple table top pocket chart juiced up for our classroom has solved so many problems. We have a whiteboard and chalkboard, no matter where we do our class. We have a wall to put relevant learning aids, we have a pocket chart, and we have a morning board. All of this folds up into an amazing portable classroom! I could not be happier with our new set up.
What you will need:Table top pocket chart
Dry erase sticker
Dry Erase Clock
Relevant printables for your students
All these supplies, and more, can be found for a reasonable price on OrientalTrading.com's teacher resources. (it has become my one-stop teaching shop).
This is a project you can complete in one afternoon, but that will last you years. Depending on the tape you decide to use, you will even be able to change it up as needed.
What To Do:
- Using the whiteboard included in the pocket chart, cut out two pieces of light-weight cardboard the same size. You could use foam board as well. It should be light, yet stand up to use. I actually used a box a poster had been shipped in and only had to tape once.
- Duct tape the two pieces of cardboard and the whiteboard piece together so that they will fold accordion style.
- Cover one side of your 3-panel board with chalkboard sticker. You can use the dry-erase sticker, but I liked the look of the black better.
- On the other side, I left one the included whiteboard, chalkboard sticker one one panel, and dry erase on the other panel. On the dry erase panel, I drew writing lines for teaching handwriting. I will go back and use tape instead because dry erase markers erase sharpie.
- Your morning board panel is complete. Now it is time to decorate and customize it for your class.
- On the middle panel, I used a wipe-off pocket with the binder calendar pages inside. This gives us a calendar that we can write on, decorate, log special events and more. We can mark off days without actually writing on the calendar. The pocket also protects it from everyday use. when the month is done, I can use the calendar as dividers in his portfolio. Win-win
- On the right panel, is our clock - a few times a week we do a time activity. It also has our Sign language/ Spanish vocabulary in a pocket. The other pockets are reviews, song lists, and yoga choices. I have created a dry erase panel here too so we can log our days in school. Later on, we will use this to work on place value. I used bulletin board letters for our Joy reminder. We try to start each day talking about JOY (Jesus first, Yourself Last, and Others in between.)
- On the left side, we have our weather spinner. Our season spinner is clipped under that. I used a flag printable so we have a permanent one to say our pledge to each morning. The thermometer is a printable that I cut out and slipped into a plastic pocket a special Bible marker magnifier came in. Tools for homeschool come in from everywhere.
While I was at it, I created a portable classroom. Why not, I was already creating like mad. It took me back to my student teaching days. This was a very simple part of the project but has made a huge difference. Instead of searching for posters or reference, it is all together.
I got a second dry erase board with the table top pocket chart that comes in handy, along with the back side of the morning board. I can demonstrate just about aything with these tools.
I ued a wipe off pocket and added a strip of velcro, so that it would hang. Inside this pocket, I have added our reference pages (scientific method, beginning sounds, and others), along with our magnetic board for certain lessons, especially counting with Snapper. Now, I can use anchor charts without searching through papers or trying to teach and juggle it.
The pocket chart itself is brilliant. I can use Snapper's letter card, Tbomb's vocabulary (we use McGuffey's Primer), and their bible vers and keep it all visible. It has also come in handy for Tbomb's copy work. I have recently added in a library pocket to this with behavior cards for when the two of them get crazy and they need quiet or still.
We have been using this morning board and portable classroom for a little over two weeks and while I have made minor tweaks, it is working brilliantly. If you have a spall teaching space, or no dedicated classroom, this may be the project for you. I'm looking forward to using it for years to come.
Another thing I have noticed is seeing it on the table or in that day's school area triggers the kids' heads for school and they are less likely to act up or want to go do something else. Tbomb has been more excited about school and even doing better with his writing and reading (although he was already doing great) now that we have this. This set up is the best thing that I have done for our school
I'll be sure to share our entire portable classroom soon.