Sunday, March 24, 2013

Hallelujah for the Hallway and a Freebie to Help You Differentiate.

I'm back!  First it was clipboards for differentiating, then a sensory table and now . . .you guessed it . . .the hallway

I've often mentioned that I have the world's smallest kindergarten classroom.   So I'm always looking for ways to combat any restrictions I have in teaching because of the size.  It's also always a concern for any teacher newly embarking on differentiated instruction as well . . .'will my classroom be big enough?'  I always answer as positively as possible with a resounding 'NO.' Which is why you need to get creative. I have lots of space saving tricks up my sleeve, but for today how about just one way to combat close quarters and meet the needs of those kinesthetic learners by sending them to the hall.

If you remember, I'm always harping on you about how we differentiate in response to

And if we differentiate in response to learning profile, we have to consider our students' multiple intelligences, right?

That means those little Bodily Kinesthetic have to move!  They don't care if you have an arena sized classroom or a closet-sized classroom.  So you can either make room for them to move, develop routines for them to move and get creative, or they're gonna find ways to move all on their own.

So if you do decide to venture into the world outside your classroom, what could they possibly do that would be academic, developmentally appropriate, safe, engaging and fun?  Well, let's take a look and find out.

 I was fortunate enough that when I arrived in my building my neighbor teacher, Kerri, had already started a tradition of using the hall with her students.  Each month there are die cuts with various letters, words and numbers written on them depending upon the time of year, readiness levels, themes and skills being introduced.

These die cuts hang from our hallway ceiling and our kinders can use pointers to tap them or point as they read them.  It is HUGE to give them a different environment to work in and to have it be kinesthetic to boot.  And tell me, what kindergartener doesn't love to use a pointer . . .I have a wide variety from which to choose. 
My letter pointers are a favorite.  Yes, they are just some SASSY bathtub letters on the end of a rod with some rhinestones for effect and bling, but my kinders LOVE them.

So these are used daily for 'tapping' out words, numbers or letters depending what's 'hanging.'

I know what you're thinking, 'How do we get them to hang?'  Well, there are these little clip hooky thingys (that's a technical term)  you can get from Home Depot that work great. Don't pay attending to the S hook.  What you'll want to do is thread a string through the end and tie a clothes pin or binder to the end.

click on the picture for a link
 Students can also read other parts of the hallway . . .

fluency charts with a sand timer can be utilized and changed out as students' abilities change.

other seasonal die cuts are used for basic sight words

and 'popcorn words' are placed in a popcorn container where students can pick a card, attach it to the front of the container (we use velcro)

then tap out the letters to spell the word with their pointers.  (I wish I could tell you where I acquired these cute little letters, but I couldn't find it on my computer so if you know who I can credit, please drop me a line.)

We also purchased two oil pans to velcro up in our hall from our local Walmart (approximately $10.00) so that we could extend not only our math stations to the hall,

Number Squeeze is a local favorite.  Pick copy up from Over The Moon by clicking on the picture above.
but also use it for word work. 
On this oil pan we use elkon boxes (by the way, those are picture frame mats with magnets on them) and large (like 8 inches tall or so) foam letters that you can purchase from Lakeshore. 

We can store everything for this station easily in a crate/seat (Yes! That is a total Pinterest inspiration.)

They just grab their seats and go.

If you're looking for more ideas for oil pan uses, check out my friend Julie's blog at Make, Take & Teach.

At the beginning of the year we use our alphabet area a bit more than it is being use these days, but my kiddos like to take different flash cards
or in this case, environmental print and put them in alphabetical order.

Lately, my write the room activities can also be found out there on occasion (this is one called 'Bug Inspectors' where my kinders use magnifying glasses to find the hidden picture within the picture and then write the word they see- you can click on the picture if you want to learn more about it). 

When you suffer from small room syndrome, you need to be creative and think outside the box . . . or in this case, think outside the classroom.

To get you started, I've whipped up some cards for you to hang from your own hallway ceiling.  Make sure you grab your copy.   Then leave me a note to let me know how you use YOUR hallway. 

Have fun!


  1. I never thought about using the hallways but we are out there several times each day! What a great idea. I'm so inspired! Thanks!

    The Kindergarten Pod

    1. Thanks so much Lori. I hope you find it as usefull as I have.

  2. LOVE YOUR IDEAS!!!! I have had the worst time in finding those oil pans.... People look a t me crazy!! any sugestions.

    1. Really? I found them in the automotive section at Walmart. They were about $10 a piece.
      Good luck. If you can't find them their check your local automotive supply store.
      A Differentiated Kindergarten

  3. Marsha I LOVE these ideas!!! Thank you so much.....
    Kindergarten Lifestyle

  4. Pinned! Thanks, what excellent use of usually ignored space and teaching opportunities.

  5. Hi There!
    How do you make the seats for the crates?! how is it sturdy enough to sit on?


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