My writing baskets from two years in the classroom look a bit worn. I can’t wait to replace them this summer with new dividers and new labels that match the divider colors. I’m using Ikea baskets like the one pictured. These compact baskets have handles and are easy for children to take off the shelf. They hold the writing work better than any others.
This year I am making new dividers using a new product from Laughing Star called “Dividers”. There are dividers for all of the basic writing work- Pattern, Greeting Card, Number, Letter, Me Basic and Picture Word Writing. (Eventually there will be dividers for all the writing books!) These new products are sold as PDF’s. Copy them on colored card stock paper and all the WORDS for the tracer sheets appear centered at the top! Or copy them on to colored copy paper and laminate them which is more work and not necessary. Since I have the pdf’s now I’m choosing the card stock method. If any get damaged or disappear I will be able to easily replace them. That is important. Now I get to choose the colors for my dividers. I will continue with colors I did use in the past as my returning students are familiar with it. Pattern is yellow. Name is blue. Greeting Card is green. Number is red. Letter is blue. Picture Word is yellow. Me Basics is orange.
The dividers are what give writing work “order.” Students learn how to look through them to find their work. For years I cut paper and hand wrote the words. I am so glad I do not have to do that again! This year the labels will the same color as the dividers in the basket!
Writing Mats help children place and organize their writing work. We have 10 of them in my classroom. They sit upright by my writing shelf. Children get one to do their writing work on. It defines their space on the table just like a work rug does for floor work. Laughing Star sells the ones I use. They are 8.5 x 11inch plastic, can be washed by students and last for many years. Or you can make them out of laminated paper. Or use placemats.
At my school we buy Crayola markers when they go on sale this time of year. They work better than most other brands and last longer.
My other new work for teachers is a Montessori Writing Manual complete with lesson plans. Over the many years I have done this work I have talked to many teachers using Beautiful Handwriting. Some have consulted me about how to present the work or what to do with a child who is having difficulty. Some of you have shared you stories with me. Some have asked for new work for the writing shelf and given me suggestions. This is how Beautiful Handwriting has grown and changed over the years. What a journey it has been! Some of you have edited books for me and made great suggestions. Some of you have participated in the Beautiful Handwriting Study and offered your observations on what you see in your classrooms. Thank all of you.
“Writing is one of the easiest and most pleasant achievements for children.” Dr. Maria Montessori, The Discover of the Child