Classroom Ideas?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by drooping_cactus, Jun 9, 2012.

  1. drooping_cactus

    drooping_cactus Rookie

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    Jun 9, 2012

    I was just hired to be a 6th grade language arts teacher. This will be my first year as a teacher and the first time having my own classroom. I’m also a guy.

    I just recently had the opportunity to see my future classroom. It’s in very rough shape. Most everything in the room is probably at least 40 years old and is beaten up! Also, nothing matches…not even the desks!

    In addition to planning and studying up on my curriculum, I’m also thinking about how I want my room to look next year.

    What are some ideas I can use to decorate my room/make it more uniform? I’ve looked around online for ideas, but everything I’ve come across is not really my style. What are some ideas I could do to make my room appealing to both my students and me?
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2012
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  3. teacherwithlove

    teacherwithlove Comrade

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    How about black and white theme? Or go with an island theme? Even a jungle theme is kind of masculine.
     
  4. drooping_cactus

    drooping_cactus Rookie

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    I like the idea of just black & white. There's a lot of navy and red in the room...do you think black, blue, white, and red would look alright together? :dunno:
     
  5. teacherwithlove

    teacherwithlove Comrade

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    Yes! I like the idea of having those colors together. You can even buy blue or red border! :)
     
  6. Starnexus

    Starnexus Rookie

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    We have billions of dollars for bombs but we don't have the money for a decent classroom? Where are the priorities in the United States?
     
  7. drooping_cactus

    drooping_cactus Rookie

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    teacherwithlove: Thanks for the idea about a border!

    Starnexus: Although the furniture and walls have seen better years or decades(!), I will have to give the district credit for where they do spend their limited funds. My room has a smart board, document camera, flip cameras, tape recorders, a class set of headphones, and 6 computers with Internet access. These are all great things that I can't wait to use with my students, and I feel these tools will enhance their learning more than matching desks would.

    I student taught in a very affluent school district and many of their classrooms only had a computer for the teacher and 1 very outdated computer lab for the entire school. But, they repainted the school every year and had beautiful landscaping... :2cents:
     
  8. Starnexus

    Starnexus Rookie

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    That's good to hear. What you said again relates to priorities. I don't like how there are so many schools where the students are not the number 1 priority.
     
  9. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    I'm spoiled. I teach in a low-income area, but our custodians and maintenance staff keep our old school looking like a country club on the outside and spotless on the inside.

    I'm a gal, but do not have a girlie decor.

    I purchased cheap posters from art.com, and designed other posters at vistaprint.com. I like the education posters from Teacher's Discovery (their catalog is better than their site, you can order a catalog: http://www.teachersdiscovery-english.com/template.asp?content=search_display.asp&SKW=04BRANDMP)

    And, I like Teacher's Discovery poster sets (can see an example here, but again, their site isn't easy to navigate: http://www.teachersdiscovery-english.com/item_details.php?item=018+300+P000923&SBJ=English)

    I also have KU pendants and other Jayhawk stuff.

    My room has the look of the dorm room seen on campus tours.
     
  10. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    Jun 10, 2012

    If you're in a middle school (6-8), this is what I've seen: Most teachers - male or female - don't decorate the way an elementary teacher would. While it is important to have the room decorated, it is not to the extent that is expected of elem. teachers - I've never seen a middle school classroom with a decoration theme.

    I have three bulletin boards. They all have paper and border and a specific purpose (makeup work, notices, student work display - which I keep simple and don't change it out for every new assignment going up).

    Posters tend to relate to the content area; there may be a few inspirational ones but not very many. I made most of my posters by hand. I add them to the walls as we cover new units.

    I'd pick simple colors - I like the black and white suggestion because you can add any other color to that combination.

    The one thing I did that was a hit with my students this year was an "Inspiration Wall." I gave everyone an index card on the first day and had them write a sentence about someone or something that inspires them. I stuck them up on a wall. They were incredibly thoughtful, and the kids would stop to read the cards throughout the year. It also made them feel as if they "owned" part of the classroom. Plus, it was easy-peasy decorating right there.
     
  11. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jun 10, 2012

    One thing I always do in my high school classes is a monthly birthday card to the members of my homeroom.

    We can get their birthdays off the computer; back when we couldn't I passed around a sheet on the first day of classes. Each month I put up a birthday card for that month's kids, including the dates, signed from me and the rest of the homeroom. They got a kick out of it. (I put up a "summer babies" card for July and August the same day the June card went up.) It doesn't even have to be a card; one year I printed up a series of "Happy Birthday" notices on Word and just wrote in the names each month.

    Also know that you'll need a lot of free space for notices-- drama club tryouts and yearbook meetings and stuff of that sort.

    What I always do is put up background. (I use a cheap twin sheet from Walmart. One $7 investment and I'm good for the year.) I tend to use either red or green-- I'm in a Catholic school and always redecorate for Christmas. I put up border and two or three inspirational posters-- anything from Ziggy or Peanuts to the "Dare to Dream" type of stuff. I also put up smaller stuff on the front of the podium and on the cabinet in the back of the room.

    If you can find some old calendars in the dollar store, sometimes you can find great mini-posters for practically no cost.
     
  12. queenie

    queenie Groupie

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    Jun 10, 2012

    If you're looking for a "theme," I instantly thought of something outdoorsy, like camping...
     
  13. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    I've never seen a middle school or high school teacher really have a theme either, so I wouldn't worry too much.

    As a language arts teacher, you'll want to leave LOTS of room on your walls for anchor charts, word walls, KWLs, etc. I usually have layers of things on my walls, depending on what we're studying!
     
  14. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    North Carolina doesn't take very good care of their buildings. I learned this when I was interviewing, so it is not just my district. My building is nearly falling down.

    To the OP- I would just use relevant things. We have two male 4th grade teachers. One has a colorful room, one has a starkly bare room. I know one of them has a verb graveyard bulletin board. It is full of overused words, and it is something he uses to teach writing. I would honestly start scouring Pinterest if I were you!
     
  15. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    Jun 10, 2012

    I have college T-shirts all over one wall and video-game themed history posters that I designed on the other. Kids love it in there.
     
  16. Teacher Chele

    Teacher Chele Habitué

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    I like the color scheme idea! You can hang up sports memorbilia from your fav. teams and do something like Mr. _______ All-Stars, etc.
     
  17. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    :thumb: This.

    My room is simply colorful. I make the students do a lot of artistic work (posters, personal mandalas, etc.) and so I simply hang the best of them around the room as they're made. That and I always keep the window curtains wide open unless we're watching a movie and that really brings life into the room. I also had a few interesting desk pieces on my desk (amethyst crystals, weird tiki dude pen holder).

    I actually came in half way through the year so the previous teacher had already had a lot of the background paper up and some random borders. The paper was black or blue (and she was a woman by the way) and it really didn't matter if the borders were girly or not.

    If you teach with confidence, your students will see you as masculine and won't nitpick over the details (or if they do, you can just be like "so what?").
     
  18. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    I don't generally have a theme in my classrooms either. I tend to put up posters and charts related to what the class is learning and some motivational type posters. Around the holidays I put up some appropriate decorations. With the colors you mentioned at the beginning, you could decorate in a patriotic fashion or possibly have a sports related theme. Do you have a favorite team with navy and red as their colors? Professional or college? One of our jr. high teachers likes golf and the Oregon Ducks, so he has a lot of green and yellow.
     
  19. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    Jun 10, 2012

    Go minimalist. As little clutter on the wall as possible. Little or nothing that students will not use as a reference.
     
  20. eddygirl

    eddygirl Companion

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    I believe you are always safe with your school colors, especially in middle or high school where sports are more prevalent. I have a beige classroom, but I painted two lines of the school colors on the walls at chair rail height. The background on my bulletin board is one school color, and the border is the other. I painted the podium and a bookcase to match so that the school colors are definitely prominent.
     
  21. drooping_cactus

    drooping_cactus Rookie

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    Thank you, everyone!

    I'm glad to hear that themed classrooms are not the norm in middle and high school. I think minimalist is going to be my best bet. I really like the suggestions of having open space on the walls for announcements, student work, and so forth!

    There just seems to be so much to think about that you don't learn in college or even experience during student teaching!
     
  22. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Amazing, isn't it?

    Your aim is to make the room an inviting place to be, while still not distracting your kids from their work. And there will NEED to be room for those notices.

    Also keep in mind, the odds are pretty decent that you won't be the only one teaching in the room. This year, my second period class was in the homeroom of a Junior Social Studies teacher. (I teach math to sophomores.) The period after me, the Principal came in to teach Senior Religion. So keep in mind that the room needs to be comfortable and attractive, but all purpose.
     
  23. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    My biggest complaint about my own teacher education program and most of the teacher books I've read is that they all seem to focus very heavily on elementary classrooms. There are so many ideas that are excellent and useful in an elementary setting but basically irrelevant in a secondary setting. It can be frustrating trying to figure out what works in which setting.
     
  24. Amanda

    Amanda Administrator Staff Member

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    I think it's personal preference. I didn't have a themed classroom even in kindergarten. My early childhood training focused on making the environment student-centered and advocated decorating with student created materials. My classroom was full of student work and charts we had created together.
     
  25. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

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    Consider some trophy mounts - a bull moose here; mule deer there; grizzly bear over the door etc. Try wainscoting in an oak or pine with forest green above and sconces in soft amber. Cover desks in green felt and add pockets in corners. A large Tiffany hanging center could double as an interrogation center. Spend a couple days before school starts smoking cigars - not too much, just enough to give that sort of musty but not overwhelming presence of Havana.

    Seriously, consider having the students decorate the room. Assign as group projects (themes), PATs, free time, homework etc. Some teachers have "b-boards" as a classroom routine which is rotated with other classroom activities.
     
  26. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

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    I thought that comment was taking an odd turn:lol:
     
  27. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

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    Loomistrout you are hilarious! Thanks for the laugh .. :)

    Frankly, I'd go for child friendly decorating ideas (if I did a theme, that is) and get out of the mindset about gender stereotypes.
     
  28. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Exactly! :thumb:
     
  29. drooping_cactus

    drooping_cactus Rookie

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    I must say, I am really not sure how to respond to this…

    If a male teacher wants to have a board decorated with zebra stripes and pink polka-dots, that is perfectly fine with me. However, it’s not something I personally would like to use in my classroom. I came here for ideas for a more “minimalist” classroom that would more often than not be appealing to all tastes.

    I’m not saying female teachers’ classrooms should look one way while males should have their classrooms decorated differently. It doesn’t matter to me. What does matter to me is that I create a learning environment that is enjoyed by both my students and me.

    On some level, I must say that it irks me just a tad that you are insinuating that I hold gender stereotypes/biases when I do everything to combat them in my own life and in my classroom. (I can see where you would say that by the language & subject matter contained in my original post.) I quite honestly despise gender stereotypes, and I have gone against many of them throughout my life. As a teacher, I plan to encourage my students to do things that make them happy and not worry about what others think or what society feels is right. Some boys quit reading because it’s viewed as a “girly” activity by some – and that’s a shame and a notion I plan to directly challenge as a teacher. As a personal anecdote, my favorite toy growing up was a dollhouse. I loved how I could use my imagination with it and it served as everything from a house to a hospital and to an airport(!). Did playing with that toy make me any less of a person or any less of a man/boy? I don’t think so…it was only a toy.

    Perhaps I should have used different wording as to not cause confusion/distraction. I suppose I should have described my style preferences and asked for ideas that coordinate with my style. Live and learn!
     
  30. sumnerfan

    sumnerfan Comrade

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    My problem with all that you just said is that you titled your thread 'masculine classroom ideas,' therefore wouldn't it be logical to assume that you would like your room to look . . . masculine. The suggestion read to me as a suggestion to do something that you like, but will also appeal to your students. No need to get your boxers in a wad sir.
     
  31. drooping_cactus

    drooping_cactus Rookie

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    As I pointed out in my previous post, I should have used different wording. I just updated the thread title & original post to more accurately reflect what I'm asking.
     
  32. sumnerfan

    sumnerfan Comrade

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    That's fine, but don't get upset because people offered you the advice you asked for. No one would blame you for wanting your classroom to reflect your personality, and I'm sure your gender has some impact on your personality.
     
  33. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    If you have a lot of navy and red, why not get bulletin board fabric, borders, and etc. in red, white, and blue? Even if you don't have a patriotic theme per se, your room will look cohesive.
     
  34. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    Are you in a low sociology economic area right now? It's easier for Title 1 schools and poorer schools to get grants for technology. Meanwhile, things like desks are not easy to get through grants.

    However in the suburbs things like new desks and textbooks are affordable but smartboards and ipads are a lot harder to get because they're so much more expensive and the grants are available.

    I teach in a title 1 school with ipad, smartboards, projects, a brand new mac lab, etc. But I couldn't get nearly enough high interest chapter books for my students from the school.
     
  35. msmullenjr

    msmullenjr Devotee

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    My 6th grade (elementary) classroom has sports theme. I don't have a ton of stuff, because I don't "decorate" necessarily but I like the team idea.
     
  36. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

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    Dropping Cactus, I didn't mean to make you feel defensive. Sorry about that. Like you, I avoid gender stereotypes as a matter of habit, which began when my daughters were born. Unnecessarily limiting, and harmful to everyone.

    Like others suggest, use student work to liven up your room. If it's used to highlight mastery or growth, children will be thrilled to see their own work on display.

    Here's to your success!
     
  37. drooping_cactus

    drooping_cactus Rookie

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    No worries. :) If my response sounded harsh, I apologize. :sorry:

    I really like the idea of using student work to liven up the room. I like the color red, so maybe I'll use some red paper as a background color.
     
  38. Meiduch

    Meiduch New Member

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    You can try using wall posters instead of painting the room. Go for a particular theme while buying the wall posters. You can also make posters with the help of students using graffiti.
     

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