This weekend the studio got some attention. I organized our paper file cabinet and placed the most used types of paper in an organizer. Both my kids and the students I work with like having access to the paper and to the personal dry erase boards.
When the paper was stored in the white flat cabinets it got mixed up and messy. I found lots of semi-used sheets of paper and damaged paper no one would use. Having the paper organized like this allows easy access to white drawing paper and to the graph paper.
I use a lot of graph paper with the math students I work with. I find that it helps organize visual representations of concepts. Many students are reluctant to draw, sketch or model a mathematics problem because they believe all the thinking has to happen inside their mind. As students reach middle school and high school mathematics topics it becomes unrealistic to solve challenging algebra and/or geometry problems in your mind without writing or drawing anything out.
Next to the paper organizer, I keep dry erase boards. I have found that students, young and middle school aged, enjoy using the dry erase boards when problem solving or to work on phonics or spelling lessons. My 6th grader prefers solving math problems on a dry erase board before recording the solution in her math notebook. The ease with which mistakes can be corrected allows students to feel free to take risks and try out different problem solving strategies. I often use the dry erase boards during writing lessons when discussing how to spell words or when studying different spelling patterns.
Keeping the most used materials at hand has made learning and teaching in the studio more efficient. As more students come to the studio, I will have to continue looking for ways to make it more user friendly. It is important to me that the studio be inviting as well as a productive learning space.