A Man's Classroom...

Discussion in 'General Education' started by SleekTeach, Jun 17, 2014.

  1. SleekTeach

    SleekTeach Comrade

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    Jun 17, 2014

    Hi fellow teachers:

    Just a little background:

    I know school just barely let out, but my principal seems to already be on our backs about creating positive learning environments for next year. I teach at a very historical school (First African American high school in the area when segregation was going on in the 1880's. Closed and reopened as an Elementary school in the 1990's) Anyway, because of the schools historical relevance we always receive visitors and TV station visitors. Basically my principal wants us to "up" the decorations for the public.

    So my problem:

    I am a male 1st grade teacher. So far, when I've googled classroom decorations I find stuff like chevron, polka dots, so many squiggly boarders, many illustrations of children that don't represent the demographics of the students I teach, electric pinks, yellows, and blues, and so many other things that just look ridiculous to me. The pictures are so busy I don't see how any student could concentrate in them, but to each his or (mostly) her own.

    My question:

    What kind of things can look cool, but more minimalist for a laid back guys classroom? Should my room be seen my upper administration or a news crew, I want to be proud, ya know?

    Thanks:unsure:
     
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  3. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    I think there are definitely ways to make a room look nice without the cutesy stuff. One teacher at my school has a sport theme. I searched it on Pinterest, and there were tons of results: http://www.pinterest.com/search/pins/?q=classroom theme sports (if you haven't joined Pinterest yet, I would highly recommend it!).

    Personally, I have a color theme. Everything looks more coordinated that way, and not so busy. I do have polka-dots worked into my room a bit, but I try to keep it pretty gender neutral. Here are some pictures of my classroom from last year: http://settingupforsecond.blogspot.com/search/label/Classroom reveal 2013-2014 . I decided on greens and blues, because research shows that they are calming colors.

    I hope that helps a bit!
     
  4. live

    live Companion

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    Jun 17, 2014

    I use black, teal, purple, and silver in my classroom. Everything follows that theme: black and purple book bins, teal/black/purple pillows, teal boarders on my whiteboards, silver boarders on black bulletin boards, teal labels and lettering, purple fabric on my desk and mailboxes, teal tablecloths, black bookcases with clear tubs for supplies/manipulatives, purple/silver lamps. Nothing cutesy for me (I do have some space/planets decals up). Pick a color scheme you like, and you should be able to find something.

    I'm a minimalist too, so although I'm a female, I understand your position! Visitors always comment on how clean and organized my room is; it doesn't have to look busy to be a good learning environment!
     
  5. bewlove

    bewlove Companion

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    I am a new teacher, but I also plan on doing a color theme rather than bunch of crazy patterns! Not that I would mind having a chevron or polka dot bulletin board border or something, but everything I've gotten so far is very minimal. I originally wanted to do black and white with splashes of pink and turquoise. But, all my walls in my room are white with the exception of one orange. I don't want it to look horrendous together, so now I'm thinking about doing turquoise and orange.

    It's more gender neutral. In the future, when I want to change my look, I am able to just change the blue & orange to a different color and keep the black and white. I think it looks clean, and if you ever want to do something different, you don't have a room full of themed stuff that doesn't really apply to your classroom anymore.
     
  6. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Perhaps you can build upon some of the history of the school? Find some copies of pictures of students and faculty through the decades, and then save a section for your students with the header, "The Next Chapter".
     
  7. SleekTeach

    SleekTeach Comrade

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    I like this idea, but the 4th floor is an entire museum haha, my classroom wouldn't even compare.

    I'm liking what everyone is suggesting so far.
     
  8. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    I think something that makes a room more inviting than colorful decorations is that it's kid friendly. Display student work (including pictures they draw for you), organize it so that they have easy access to supplies, have personal touches that let them get to know you. When the kids are comfortable in the room, it shows. A Debbie Diller suggestion that I follow is to stand in the doorway and take a picture, this represents the first impression people get of your room. Spend some time looking at it. What stands out? What looks wrong? I rearrange and rework my room all the time. (My ADD kicks in. Lol) Good luck!
     
  9. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    I really like the look of a black or navy background for BBs with some solid color border. If you want to get creative and make your own borders, you can fold newspaper or comic strips. Another fun thing to do in the beginning of the year is to give each student a large cut-out for the first letter of their name, and let them decorate that letter with whatever designs or pictures they want. Then, you can write out the rest of the names or use BB letters to put with the first initial. It's great to take a picture of each child and put it next to their name. This can be inside the room or outside.

    The room can be decorated with student work. Designate a wall for different subjects.

    If you don't want cutesy stuff, don't buy any. Young kids do like animals, though, and I think that interest crosses any cultural lines. And, of course, you will find thematic BB sets with ethnic themes.
     
  10. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

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    I agree, there are not enough bulletin board borders, etc. for men of anyone who doesn't want to be too cutesy.

    I like this one which brings in color but isn't too feminine:
    http://www.carsondellosa.com/cd2/Pr...CarleBrownBearBrownBearStripes/Borders/108068

    Eric Carle also has a shades of blue one and green squiggley one you might like.

    The same site has a wooden plank one, red, white and blue themed ones, or ones with grass, sky, waves, etc. which may be more masculine.

    I have brown curtains with little bits of color, so for the past couple of years I put up brown bulletin board paper with dots of chocolate borders. I can use the colors of the dots for accents in other places. I avoid cutesy or having to change the borders or bulletin board paper throughout the year. On one board the title says ïntroducing"so I can change it up with whatever art or concept I am doing.

    Need to make grids for a word wall or to break up a wall? Colored electrical tape works great!
     
  11. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

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    I gave no intention of using "cute" stuff either. I have been slowly gathering cheap things for my future classroom... I have some old calendars with great nature photos and quotes that I hope to use, and cool diecut letters cut from book pages. I agree with letting the students decorate. You could even start the year with an artistic "about me" project, like posters or self portraits, that would add color. I also want to have an outdoor theme to my room, so I have thought of making my reading nook a camping theme corner with a fake tent to read in.
     
  12. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I don't do "cute" either. I tend to back my bulletin boards with black and add neon trim. Baskets and bins are blue, white and neon green (it adds a pop of colour). On my walls are anchor charts, inspirational posters and student work.
     
  13. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    I think simple things like putting bulletin board paper and borders on your boards can go a long way. It doesn't have to be a "cute" pattern, just make it colorful.

    As a sidenote, I replaced a male teacher this year. I don't really do "cutesy" either, but my room is very colorful and I at least have all the board done. People kept coming in my room at the beginning of the year raving about how much they loved how I'd set it up. I was really confused until my para told me that the teacher I replaced literally left the entire room blank. When she (the para) encouraged him to at least put something up, he put up a bunch of pictures of moose and deer, haha!
     
  14. Merc

    Merc Rookie

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    I've been known to use Caution Tape as borders. We are a CTE program, so we often use the Caution tape you see on fences on construction sites. It makes for a good and unique bulletin board border.
     
  15. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

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    I've got high school special ed (they are about on a 1st grade level) and I'm going my room in camo/orange with the Duck Dynasty guys. :D

    Going to use camo netting and orange border for my boards.
     
  16. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

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  17. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

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  18. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

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  19. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    The best themes are the ones that work with your personality. What kinds of things do you like to do? If you're a basketball fanatic, do something with sports. If you're a grease monkey in your spare time, do an automotive theme. If you're into science, do an exploration theme. If you're not comfortable with it, it's not going to be fun for the kids.
     
  20. 4815162342

    4815162342 Companion

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    I'm doing a superhero theme, but it is a little on the cutesy side, just because I'm with the younger kiddos. I'm a big comics/superheros fan myself, and I already had things I could incorporate into the class.
     
  21. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

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    I started to do that this year but I went Groovy/Scooby Doo. :D
     
  22. Rhesus

    Rhesus Comrade

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    One of the things I love about my 2nd grade daughter's school is how it is decorated throughout with prints of famous artworks (Picasso, Monet, Van Gogh, Matisse, etc.). It is beautiful, colorful, historical without being too "kiddie."

    What if you did something similar in your room? You could do some African American subjects and artists in keeping with your school's historical significance.
     
  23. princessbloom

    princessbloom Comrade

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    or go with red, white, and blue? it's neutral and can speak to, not necessarily the history of the school specifically, but the broader picture.
     
  24. NUMB3RSFAN

    NUMB3RSFAN Rookie

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    College Theme

    In the past, I've been at a school that does a college theme. Each teacher decorates their room in the colors of a college of their choosing. Most of us e-mailed the admissions offices of the schools to explain what we were doing and they sent us TONS of stuff. I received mascot cutouts, streamers, pennants, stress balls to pass out to kids as well as information for middle school parents on how to start getting ready for college.
     
  25. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    As a male teacher, I understand what you mean.

    First, you need to ask what is your purpose in decorating your classroom? I tend to want to use it to help educate the students. I want to use items that relate to the units and standards I am teaching. Next, I want my classroom to inspire. I want the classroom to be decorated to help them get excited about reading, US History, and other things that we will be learning and doing in 5th grade. Lastly, I do want the classroom to say this is our classroom and not only my classroom. I want it to feel comfortable and theirs as much as mine. I put all sorts of student pictures and work in the room.

    This is my purpose and just an example. Your purpose might be different.
     
  26. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Beautiful! And not overly done. :)
     
  27. SleekTeach

    SleekTeach Comrade

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    The pressure to have a "cute" classroom at my school is pretty intense. I decided to go with something that seems pretty simple to me. My baskets are all blue, red, and green. My bulletin boards will have black boarders, with either blue, red, or green backgrounds. Mostly everything I have so far, is red, blue, or green with black accents. I'm not buying any posters because I am the King of Anchor Charts and I love to show them off and personalize them for my kids. As of now I have a few things that really serve no purpose, but it's its for the cause. We have classroom tours -_-


    I will be loosely using the "Riveting Robots" theme from Creative Teaching Press. When I say loosely, I mean I only bought the calendar, welcoming bulletin board set, and the matching letters.


    here is a link to my classroom calendar

    http://www.creativeteaching.com/products/riveting-robots-calendar-set


    The welcome bulletin board:
    (The boarder for this will be holographic silver that I have left over from my very first year of field experience in college)

    http://www.creativeteaching.com/products/riveting-robots-bulletin-board-set

    Letters:

    http://www.creativeteaching.com/products/collage-art-4-designer-letters

    I'm feeling confident that it will not be too cutesy and will not be an eyesore for me. I think the kids will like it too. I'll probably post pictures Mid August.

    Sincerely,

    SleekTeach, OP
     
  28. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

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    I was wondering what you decided. I think that will be cute without being feminine. Good choice.
     
  29. SleekTeach

    SleekTeach Comrade

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    Well it's really what Dollar Tree decided because they had the red, blue and green baskets. And I just happen to see black boarders when I went to Staples to buy some ink LOL.

    The robots happened last night when I started thinking about the giant bulletin board I have to fill outside the classroom...I simply couldn't resist the coolness of them.
     
  30. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    Nice! I have tons of the Riveting Robots stuff, which I got for free when I worked at a teacher store. I'm just waiting for the right year to use it. :)
     
  31. SleekTeach

    SleekTeach Comrade

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    Now that was good to hear...because I had already bought other stuff, but I liked this so much better...so now I guess I should save the stuff I don't think I'll be using this year...Dollar tree has lots of stuff and I tend to just buy it because of the price. However, more costly products are of way better quality and I can't resist buying those either so I have a lot of boarders and things I won't need or to be honest don't even like.
     
  32. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

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    That is cute without being girlie cute! NICE PICK!!!
     
  33. WindyCityGal606

    WindyCityGal606 Enthusiast

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    I agree! I was so inspired by the blue, green, and black that I went out today and bought all purple, green, white, and black. I love the blue but had already purchased lots of purple. I'm excited to get my room decorated now! I love how streamlined yours is!
     
  34. txmomteacher2

    txmomteacher2 Enthusiast

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    I have sports theme in my class. Our mascot is a Panther so I have paw print borders. I put colored paper on the BB's. The rest of the decor is sports posters with sayings on them, or posters I got from the book fair with my favorite sports teams on them. I also have some sports pennants from various teams. They were on the giveaway table not necessarily my favorite teams.
     
  35. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

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