Introduction: Montessori Inspired Pencil Holder
If you searched "Montessori pencil holder" on Amazon, you would get products that cost about 30-40 dollars. OR it could cost almost nothing if you made it yourself from materials that every teacher has or can easily get. (You will sure know where to invest the money saved, right?)
What is so good about the Montessori style pencil holder? It turns such a simple act as putting your things back into a learning opportunity. When a child is putting back pencils it doesn't look like he is learning at the moment, but he really is! His brain has to process the differences and nuances in colors of the pencils to put them in the corresponding holders, he trains his muscles to put the pencils in the space among others, he learns to group things into categories. In that way preparing for the task or cleaning off after the task also becomes a task itself and the knowledge gets cemented into the brain through repetition of a usual task.
Well, and the row of colorful holders also looks nice - children will only benefit from a pretty and inviting learning environment.
- 11 empty toilet paper rolls
- 11 sheets of colored paper - red, blue, yellow, green, purple, white, black, gray, orange, pink, brown
- Scotch tape
- Glue stick
- Card-stock or thick paper for a template (empty cereal box, for example)
Step 1: Make the Bottom of the Holder
Take a TP roll and stick the tape over the hole. Put the next layer perpendicular to the first one, making a cross. Then, continue with covering the empty spots until you have no holes left (except one on the other side of the roll) :). You can also secure the ends by taping a strip of tape around them (it won't be visible at the end).
Step 2: Make the Template
Take the card-stock and draw a circle around your TP roll. That will be part of the bottom. Then mark the height of the roll. Then mark the circumference of the roll - for example, put a little mark on the TP roll and roll it across the paper until the mark reaches the card-stock again. Add an extra 1 cm (the paper will need to overlap). Cut out the templates.
Step 3: Cut the Details From the Colored Paper
Use your template to draw 1 circle and 1 rectangle on a sheet of colored paper. Cut them out.
Step 4: Secure the Bottom
Take the circle you just cut and carefully push it inside the roll until it sticks to the tape - it will prevent pencils from sticking to the tape and it also looks nice. Don't worry if the circle doesn't stick precisely in the middle - it's not that important, just try to get it mostly in the middle.
Step 5: Glue on the Pretty Cover
Now glue the rectangle onto the TP roll. I also secured the end with a tape, because little fingers are pretty good at deconstructing things. :)
Step 6: Repeat Until Done
Repeat with other rolls and colors until you're done. If you don't have all of the colors, it it good to make sure you have the primary colors - blue, red and yellow - and then some extras.
Step 7: Use in the Classroom!
- If the holders seem to lightweight and children tip them over - glue one or more coins inside of the roll. Or if you can put the holders on a metallic tray, use magnets instead of coins.
- You could also put the holders on a magnetic board and draw something new on the board every day/weak to encourage drawing and using the pencils.
- Keep the pencils sharp (or remind your class to do it), so the place is inviting and doesn't make children go away.
If the children are little or can't differentiate all the colors yet, you will have to put pencils in their right holders more often. Kids will get better with time, practice makes perfect! This will help them to notice nuances of colors in artwork, nature and create art themselves.
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Classroom Organization Challenge