Middle School Classroom Decorating

Discussion in 'Middle School / Junior High' started by NUMB3RSFAN, Jun 22, 2008.

  1. NUMB3RSFAN

    NUMB3RSFAN Rookie

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    Jun 22, 2008

    I am a new 6th grade math teacher in a middle school setting. I am looking for advice on decorating my classroom this fall. I was wondering how you decorate your classrooms in a middle/junior high school setting. Do you still do themes like they do in elementary school or do you start limiting the decorations since they are getting older?

    Thanks!
     
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  3. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Jun 22, 2008

    You can still do a theme, it just has to reflect the age you're working with. My theme is "Keepin' it Real". I pull from everyday life create analogies to what we're studying. For example, I have a large map of the city on the wall, with a carteasian plane superimposed over it and fitted exactly with the cross streets that make the "axes" of the "grid" of the street system. When I teach the coordinate plane, we talk about how the street addresses work and then how it's really just like how plotting points work, really that it's the exact same thing, only the street system is plotting houses and businesses, instead of an abstract "point". There are other examples of real life math illustrated all over my classroom. In keeping with the theme, they also have to keep a real life math journal which we talk about once a week. Be creative and stick with their level and you can make a theme really successful.
     
  4. paperheart

    paperheart Groupie

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    Jun 22, 2008

    My students like helpful posters on the subject matter I teach (math)...They asked me to put up more.

    I have a lot of calendar photos and magazine photos that are interesting (science closeups national geographic)

    quotes

    their own artwork

    They love the "scream" poster for whatever reason and escher's illusionistic art and dali's surrealist art.

    that sort of thing.
     
  5. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Jun 22, 2008

    Oh, you could have a lot of fun with "Math Art" Escher and Dali are just the start. You could also do the "Math of the World" thing, with examples of math concepts used by current and past civilizations as seen through art and objects created by them.
     
  6. wig

    wig Devotee

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    Jun 22, 2008

    I steer away from "cutsi". i teach 4 different SS classes and Lit and language arts and religion to 6th grade. So, I tend to go toward a SS theme. I have US History Timelines and Geography posters, etc. But no real theme.
     
  7. slinkytoy

    slinkytoy Rookie

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    Jun 22, 2008

    Some of the teachers in our school do a theme each year. I just put up things that relate to the subject, and posters and quotes that I know the students will find interesting. As the year progresses, I put student work up. My office has items and pictures from all around the world. My students love to look at my office and ask me questions about different items and pictures.
     
  8. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Phenom

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    Jun 22, 2008

    I'm not a "theme" kind of person. I just try to put up something I can live with all year!

    Here's my room from last year.

    My 2007-2008 Classroom
     
  9. NUMB3RSFAN

    NUMB3RSFAN Rookie

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    Jun 23, 2008

    Thank you for all of the ideas! I start teaching summer school on 7/21 so I was going to start putting everything together in the afternoons when the kids leave. I can't wait!
     
  10. muinteoir

    muinteoir Companion

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    Jun 30, 2008

    I didn't do themes. I put up a fabric background on my bulletin boards, put a coordinating border around them, and covered them with
    1. student work
    2. content specific posters
    3. motivational posters
     
  11. WaterfallLady

    WaterfallLady Enthusiast

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    Jun 30, 2008

    I'm teaching middle and high school this year. Last year, I taught middle school and didn't have a theme. This year, my homeroom is in the kitchen (not an industrial one, just a regular ol' kitchen that looks like one in your house) so I may have a minor underlying cooking theme like titling the bulletin board "What is Cooking?"
     
  12. chemteach55

    chemteach55 Connoisseur

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    Jun 30, 2008

    I do not do a "theme" but I love frogs and cats and tend to buy posters and other materials with them on it. Since I am moving schools this year, it will be the 1st time in 5 years that I am in my own classroom. (Last year I taught in 3 classrooms and had I stayed at my old school, I would have been in 4 classrooms to teach 5 classes.)
     
  13. Tenured

    Tenured Rookie

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    I'll probably take flack for this, but I don't do themes, unless you call school sports a theme.

    I coach 3 sports and I put awards, team pictures, trophies, team shirts, etc up all over the room. I suppose it could be a "theme" and I could tie it into geography as "human interaction" but simple fact is, I'm recruiting middleschoolers for when they get into highschool
     
  14. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    Jul 2, 2008

    I was told by someone far more studied than I that putting up anything that is not directly related to student learning is a waste. They will be distracted by the stuff on your walls, they might as well be learning from it.

    As a result I may tweak what I've done the last few years. That said, up to this point I've had 3 boards. My AVID board had class pictures from my AVID class. My Social Studies board had whatever I felt like putting up that quarter and my Mystery College board had ever increasing clues about a college.

    Though I liked that there's no question that the picture board was at times distracting. Honestly, I'm not sure I care because it is a recruiting tool but next year I may use the pictures as a border to the boards instead.
     
  15. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Phenom

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    Jul 2, 2008

    We're told to make things instructional in nature, and to actually document the use of the material on the posters in the lesson plans. That way we can leave the posters up during testing. I don't think I have anything posted for "cuteness" factor, except the bulletin board I let the kids use to post anything they want to show off. Oh . . . I do have my "Save Time. See it my way." poster. LOL
     
  16. ancientcivteach

    ancientcivteach Habitué

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    Jul 2, 2008

    rofl! hmmnnn, bet that would fit on a car magnet . . .
     
  17. Ms. Geography

    Ms. Geography Comrade

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  18. Dynamite Boys

    Dynamite Boys Companion

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    Jul 2, 2008

    I also teach 6th grade math in a middle school setting - last year was my first year so I pretty much went with what I had or what family got me to start the year. I had two ideas that seemed to flow throughout the room. One was M and M's - it was quite cute. My mom lived near an M and M store so I had all sorts of cute decorations on my desk. It was easy to know what was mine!!! Loved it. The other thing I had in my room was a corner full of Boston Red Sox posters. I actually couldn't believe what a connection with math and the students these posters had - the kids started following baseball and keeping track of stats! It was a great discussion to start a class once a week! (Even those kids who loved the Yankees could always find a "stat" to bring in showing how much better the Yankees were!) I thought that was a great way to relate math to the real world. Even those students who weren't big fans of sports would find some fun in our 10 minutes of Red Sox stats on Fridays!

    6th graders still like having decorations - but it is important to not have it so overwhelming or distracting that they are reading posters and not paying attention to what you are saying!

    Good luck - you'll have an amazing year! It's tons of fun!
     
  19. cheeryteacher

    cheeryteacher Enthusiast

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    Jul 3, 2008

    Remember to keep it tasteful. When I visited the middle school I passed a room that looked like a poster factory exploded in it. Every space was taken up with a poster. It was too much.
    I have a Hawaiian theme. I got some cheap tablecloths for my tables, put raffia table skirts around the tables and my desk. I have a couple of leis around the class. The bulletin board is covered with blue cloth with a wave boarder. I have hibiscus flowers and palm tree cutouts on the corners of doors, bulletin boards, and cabinets where they would be out of the way. I don't think it's too much. I decorated after school at the end of the year and my kids liked it once I was done.
     
  20. touchinglives

    touchinglives Companion

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    Jul 3, 2008

    cheeryteacher,

    Good point on the tasteful part. One of the classes in my building last year was just like that - wall to wall - NO empty space - filled with posters. It was nuts. However, I felt like my room was "too much" as well. Now, I'll have a new room and I want it to be nice/cheerful but I don't know what to cut!! Maybe I'll switch out throughout the year? Most of my posters are related to the subject I teach, so I want to use all of them!

    One thing that does look nice is to group posters by subject and then put border around the whole grouping.

    Middle school students enjoy decorations-they're just big kids! I do a little of the cute/fun type decorating as well as educational. I've often heard the kids comment on how "boring" some of their other classroom decor is so they do notice, and I think they appreciate it.
     
  21. ~~Pam~~

    ~~Pam~~ Companion

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    Jul 4, 2008

    I have been teaching 7th grade math most recently and did not use themes in decorating. I put up information posters and a lot of student work. At the end of each of my units students had performance tasks (multi-step real world based) and I would post them all around the room with my commentary. We also posted student made posters on topics (i.e. integers, geometry, and algebra)and they were used frequently by students. Students LOVE seeing their work posted and tends to really make them work harder to have something they are proud of up on the wall for all to see!
     

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