Decorating a high school classroom

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by GatorGal, Jun 13, 2007.

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  1. deserttrumpet

    deserttrumpet Comrade

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    Jul 1, 2007

    Great idea - I even have some leftover strips of paper from last year that will work wonderful for such a project!
     
  2. Ms. Geography

    Ms. Geography Comrade

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    My classroom is decorated with (Front wall) 4 clocks with each of the continental US time zones...$3 each at Wal Mart; Marker board & b-board that I had Geography in large letters across the top - this year that will change to History since our curriculum has changed and below this I kept a beautiful calendar on one side with a seasonal display on the other; large framed poster and a wooden mask from Africa: (Side wall) Rules, Alma Mater; School motto (both of these are in the same type of frame; lunch menu right above the pencil sharpener; large chalk board - this was there and I use it for posters, my family photos & photos of the students that have been given to me that I put in either magnet frames or plastic sheets-this is great with construction paper and double sided tape to display the photos, small hanging quilt - adds softness and color to the wall and hangs between the posters and my photos; large framed photo of the Statute of Liberty-poster size; (back wall) wall mounted shelves from Hobby Lobby - look for their sales & clearance products & I place knick knacks on them; framed prints from Freds or Wal Mart w/one large and several smaller ones to make it like home - buy the cheap prints & cheap frames & don't buy the glass front frames or get them at yard sales or Salvation Army & paint them to match - a coke tab attached w/a thumb tack to use as a photo hanger; large door mirror to attach to the wall - this will need to be mounted so it doesn't fall off; two teacher hangings; (last wall) my computer area - my calendar, my clock, another shelf with toys; then a word wall - use your vocabulary words and current events.

    I have no window so have use fake plants - several in the room and I also use several lamps, one large 3-way; two small ones and I've also collected several books shelves over the years that are scattered around the room. I'm in Arkansas so I have a large Razorback trash can - box from one of the games - as a recycling bin. In the past I've had an area with a large collection of hot wheel cars - started small and the kids add to it when they want to give you something; graffiti, student drawn, Geography up high on one are of the wall, world map painted on the wall...take your time and make the room comfortable for you & it will be comfortable for the kids. If you collect something use it to help you decorate the room...my room is full of stuff, but the kids love it.
     
  3. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    Jul 1, 2007

    My mom is a high school AP and Pre-AP English teacher and being elementary, I just couldn't stand her room being so boring so we went shopping one summer.

    On her big bulletin board behind her desk, we put on a green fabric with white stars. For the border, we used ribbon to cover the edges but could have left out that step, and stapled ivy garlands all around the edges. The bulletin board is decorated with stars for her UIL events, and the participants have their names on stars so that changes every year.

    We put up motivational type posters above the second door, the side chalkboard, and filing cabinets.

    Above her main chalk board, we covered the little bulletin board space with red gigham material and solid red border. That area was too small to put anything else in, but it did make the chalk board stand out.

    The last wall was the long wall on the left side of her room. Above the bookshelves in the back, we put more posters. The front of the room had a huge spot so that was the area that changed every year. Mom bought die-cuts for each grade level she taught. The kids got to write their names and put a picture on the die-cut and put them on the wall. She did that for many years until all of the UIL awards took up the space. The kids would suggest what kind of die-cut their grade level should get the next year.

    She has a fabric covered small bulletin board next to the door where she posts UIL practice info, menus, and the other stuff that changes constantly.

    Except for the award plaques taking up the die-cut spot, I don't think it has changed since I last forced her to change. At that time though, she had the best room in the school. From what she has said, she still does. :D
     
  4. dehabel

    dehabel Rookie

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    Jul 3, 2007

    :) I am an English teacher. I have a Where the Wild Things Are poster that says Reading is Fun (my favorite book ever), The Breakfast Club poster, a word wall, things that I love, a wall of endearments that the kids give me throughout the year, and the all time favorite is all of the pictures of my students - they love to look at themselves. I keep everything they give me and display it proudly - a "Tree of Love" with trinkets hanging in the dead branches, pine cones - it is almost as if I am a Kindergarten teacher, but I teach high school :)

    My classroom is very home-like, because it is what makes me feel comfortable.
     
  5. msb

    msb Rookie

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    Jul 3, 2007

    Hi, I teach Language Arts/ English - M.S. I didn't have much wall space last year, but I had a portion set aside for my students' pictures throughout the year. I took pictures and posted them on the wall. They can also bring their own (appropriate) and post them on the board. I put up black paper with a filmstrip border. It looked pretty cool. They enjoyed seeing the different students in my other classes and their own pictures. I also put up a lot of student work like bio poems. They enjoyed seeing other student work besides their own.

    It's true what they say about the holidays. Kids really love seeing the different holidays up on the board. On my large whiteboards I use the static cling stickers that you would put on windows. I had hearts, snowmen, and other holidays. Since I teach 8th grade, I put up promotion stickers or grad stickers for my 8th grade students. Just remember to keep the backing for the stickers so you can reuse every year.

    By the way, I was recently at a Anime Expo with my kids, and I picked up a lot of posters (appropriate), cards, and stickers; I'll make up an anime wall, too.

    I'll be at a new school this year, and I have been thinking of different things to put up besides the things I mentioned. Thankfully, I have more wall space this time!

    Oh, the playbill ideas sound great! I guess eBay would be the place for this stuff? Does anyone know any other stores that sell playbills?

    Thanks!
     
  6. Chocolate_N._O.

    Chocolate_N._O. Rookie

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    Jul 8, 2007


    not in my florida school, or if it is, it isn't enforced....


    Gaytorgal, put FSU stuff up in your room like me... :p


    I simply go with my subject - Geography. I have maps, globes, Hurricane information, plotting charts, etc throughout the room. Then I have a sports wall with shirts, pictures from teams I coach on it.

    I have pictures from google earth of my school through it's various stages of development (when it was under construction in 99, then in 04, 05, and 06). in order to show my school's physical change and growth. Waiting on the updated 07 with the new baseball field on it.

    oh yeah, and plenty of FSU stuff
     
  7. msb

    msb Rookie

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    Jul 9, 2007

    That's a good point about most college classes not having any posters on their walls. Of course, I think that's entirely a different environment than high school and middle school since there are usually several professors/teachers using the same classrooms in college.

    In any case, from my middle school standpoint, I guess I still think that they need to feel part of the classroom. I'm not sure about other middle school teachers, but maybe there's a tendency to coddle them a little bit in regards to this. I've seen some of my daughter's teachers who are middle school science teachers put up some interesting information on their walls, too. Is it a middle school thing? I'm not entirely sure. :confused:

    Well, I don't really spend a lot of time on my walls; it's really at the beginning of the school year that I do. I usually have a student switch out the papers for each period every few months--especially during open house. Aside from the putting up the content/posters at the beginning of the year, the kids put up their pictures and their work on the bulletin boards; I really don't do much to maintain it. The holiday stickers? Well, they put those up as well. I had kids who wanted to help after school do those jobs.:love:

    In regards to the principal caring about these boards, I really don't think they care what is on the walls--as long as it was appropriate. I know my previous principals didn't survey the teachers' bulletin board for updates. On the most part, they judged the teachers on what you can teach and how well you can impart this knowledge to the students--okay, and how well you dealt with parents. I really don't think they compared the different teachers on how well they decorated the room.

    Anyway, for me, I feel that it's important for my students to feel welcome and to be part of the class. I can still rigorously prepare them academically for high school, college, or even trade school, but I think with all that they go through at their age, they need all the support that they can get (regardless if they are college-bound or not), even if it's just creating a more inviting classroom environment. :)

    Hey, who knew there were some really interesting philosophies on classroom environments!:cool:
     
  8. Lyquidphyre

    Lyquidphyre Comrade

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    Jul 9, 2007

    I think that is a really fun idea! Especially around Halloween when there might be more focus on the holiday than school.
     
  9. Weazy

    Weazy Comrade

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    Jul 9, 2007

    Decorating classroom


    If this works for you--great! My principal doesn't care if we decorate or not; it's what we teach that matters, the decorations are just a bonus. It would be boring for the students if all teachers approached teaching, decorating, and all other aspects of education exactly the same. Variety is a good thing.
     
  10. weno88

    weno88 Companion

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    Jul 31, 2007

    hescollin - do those grow well in a room without windows?
     
  11. chemteach55

    chemteach55 Connoisseur

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    Jul 31, 2007

    I teach Chemistry and Physics also but I do decorate my room. It may not be their "living" room but it is mine and if I had to stare at 4white, blank walls, I would go crazy. I have Garfield the cat all over my room and most students come to me knowing my love of cats and especially Garfield. My principal could care less what is on my classroom wall but I do and my kids like it also. I have taught in a high school where I had to change my room decorations at least once a month but the principal was from an elementary school background so I think that that had something to do with it. High school students are only "big kids," I have a section for Superstar Students where if they make an A on a test, they get a star. I have students who will try and study in my class for that little paper star. My bulletin board this year says--Science is everywhere even in CHOCOLATE (chocolate is spelled out in Periodic Table letters). I did the border in candy bar wrappers.
     
  12. Teacher 218

    Teacher 218 Rookie

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    Jul 31, 2007

    I haven't read through everything, but two things. One is to have some butcher block paper for "studentisms." Those funny or awkward things that students say that causes the whole class to come to a stop to think about what was said. Students love to see their "words of [wisdom] on the walls for all to share. And don't forget about putting up student work.
     
  13. KRaeLamb

    KRaeLamb Rookie

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    Aug 1, 2007

    I am lovin' this thread! I was looking for ideas myself.

    But, I'm curious. No one said PICTURES!!! Last year, I had a closet (yes, really, it was a closet) for a classroom. I started with nothing considering I was going from 3rd to 10th grade! So, I took pics. of my husband, dog, our motorcycle, our quads, my house, my mom and dad, my nephew, my favorite band, my favorite movie, etc..and made a space behind my desk (which was a student desk too!) All About Me. The kids loved it!
     
  14. bridge

    bridge Rookie

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    Aug 2, 2007

    The restrictions on how much of the wall you can cover with paper are probably from the fire marshall. If ours comes in to inspect, and we have too much on the walls, we get warned.
    Also, when you decorate the walls keep in mind those ADHD kids you'll surely find in your room. They are easily overstimulated, and stuff on the walls or cluttering the room can increase their off-task behavior.
    Aaaaaaand..... if you have an autistic student in your room remember that stuff on the walls and all about the room can be painful for some of them. Most of them have painfully acute senses- sight and hearing are common ones.
     
  15. willsgirl

    willsgirl Comrade

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    Aug 2, 2007

    I keep my room pretty eclectic. I have a bit of everything and try to keep it all interesting and unusual. Some Shakespeare posters here, a little Middle Earth there, a Led Zeppelin poster (Stairway to Heaven), some "bunny" (a school friendly one, if you can imagine!), and whatever else I can come up with to promote conversation and critical thinking. I'm gonna check out that Discovery Teacher site, though. Sounds good.

    THis year, my classroom (I haven't seen it yet, new school for me) is in a former FACS room, so things could be very interesting as one of my hobbies is cooking.

    An English teacher friend of mine who's been teaching forever has a nice collection of Beowulf related stuff. Complete with Grendal's arm!
     
  16. iSaint

    iSaint Rookie

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    Last year was my first year teaching. I inherited a very messy and cluttered room (although it was freshly painted). The first thing I did was put up Christmas lights, buy a few lamps, and turn off the fluorescent lights. My goal is a calming atmosphere.

    This year, I painted my back wall, which had a lot of graffiti on it, a nice, light green color. The lamps look great on it. I put up a few inspirational, but not too cheesy, posters in cheap frames. I also printed some ads from Mississippi Believe It dot com, framed them and put them up.

    I also have an area rug under my desk and work area. And, I'm taking a few plants up there once it cools off.

    If I feel comfortable, I'll teach better. The kids like the simple and clean decor as well.

    First Post!
     
  17. englit9

    englit9 Rookie

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    Aug 7, 2007

    poetry cafe look????


    I want to make my classroom a little more inviting as well. I was thinking about the lamps, maybe a rug or two on the floor, a little cozy seating areas with maybe little tables- Maybe a sofa-

    I teach a lot of at risk kids, and last year they really got into the lessons that I formatted around circle whole group discussions- relating themes and ideas from the literature to real life- I want them to feel safe speaking up and participating, but I also don't want them to be too relaxed that they tune out. Anybody else have furniture ideas or room theme ideas?:cool:
     
  18. Ms. Geography

    Ms. Geography Comrade

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    Aug 7, 2007

    Home away from home

    That's how I view my classroom...my home away from home. I have an area at the back of my room that is my 'office' - my desk, computer desk, 4 bookshelves (2 small & 2 large) with books, teacher pretties, and my photos. My microwave & fridge & filing cabinets. This area has a lamp.

    I have two large storage cabinets on the back wall opposite where my bookshelves are & between them is a 3 way lamp and my stereo. In the front of the room I have my podium, a bar chair for me (wooden w/a back) in one corner of the front & the other has a storage cabinet and a small bookshelf with a small low watt lamp. I have framed prints in my room, most are teacher things, and I frame things like the schools motto & Alma Mater.

    I try to keep a color theme in the room. My student desks are blue and it's also my favorite color so there is a lot of blue in my room. Our school colors are maroon & gray and my walls are off white & maroon (maroon border around the bottom of the wall). I have some things in the room that are maroon, but very little gray.

    I don't have any rugs, but have been thinking of putting a rug under my desk & in that area of the room. Not so sure on that one yet. I try to make it comfortable for me...when I'm comfortable the students are too.
     
  19. willsgirl

    willsgirl Comrade

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    Aug 7, 2007

    englit9 -- love the poetry cafe look idea! In my student teaching (Eng I/9th Grade) I did a poetry unit and we ended it with a poetry slam complete with darkened room, mood lighting, and hot chocolate (since coffee wasn't an option, LOL). The kids loved it!

    On a darker note, I was all ready to really go all out and decorate better than ever, but admin (coming from the very top) has dictated that all "decor" must be directly related to state standards and content indicators. The social studies teacher is sticking with her existing Americana theme and defies admin to tell her to take it down. She's been there for years. Apparently, the directive pertains to any personal items as well. No family pix, no do-dads, no nothing. I don't think I'm gonna like this.

    I wonder if my new $25.00 Mary Englebreit "Reading/Books" series of posters and borders is now forbidden. What about my Shakespeare posters? I'm really bummed. ;(
     
  20. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

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    You have got to be joking:eek:

    I agree with the previous posts that my class is my home away from home - and I think a lot of my students appreicate my home away from home.

    What's the rationale behind the change??
     
  21. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Aug 7, 2007

    A friend of mine did this many years ago with her freshman, and it was a HUGE success! Great idea! I might steal that if I teach sophomores this year (that's when we do the big poetry unit).

    :thanks:
     
  22. willsgirl

    willsgirl Comrade

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    Don't know. This is my first year there. No one else seems to know, either.

    In another post on this thread, I talked about my eclectic look. Guess that's out the window.
     
  23. englit9

    englit9 Rookie

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    Too much micro-management

    I think going this route is completely unproductive!!!! My students love seeing pictures of my son or the little homey touches that I make. It allows them to see us as humans, not just their teachers, and they can appreciate us and relate better to us. Don't get me wrong, I'm not all about sharing everything, that's a little much. Kids, however, no matter what the age, will always respond better the more friendly and open the ambiance I think administrators, school districts, etc. that go the "Institutional Route" kill the zest for learning and breed the ever present apathy that persists in our schools today. There does have to be a well-defined line, classroom management is a must in order to have this type of setting in a classroom, but in my experience, kids respond 100% better when they are comfortable and secure. The biggest lament I hear from my students is that teachers don't care about their students. I don't want them saying that about me!!!:hugs:
     
  24. Weazy

    Weazy Comrade

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    Content/state standards are very important, in fact, the main focus of everything we teach! The message has already been sent to the students that the reason behind learning is to pass the state proficiency tests and graduation tests--not for the importance or value or rewards of learning. (does this make sense?) If one can only decorate their room with content standard materials, we are really shoving it down their throats! The message being sent is that nothing else is important!

    AS I stated, I understand the importance of the standards, but there is sooo much more to education!:unsure:
     
  25. englit9

    englit9 Rookie

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    Isn't that the truth!!! It seems that we have taken all the FUN out of learning!!!! Virginia is the same way with SOL testing.
     
  26. HistoryTeach

    HistoryTeach Rookie

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    Aug 10, 2007

    I'm decorating my room with propaganda posters from the world wars. I found a great site that has a ton and not just from the United States. I can't post a link yet but just google artsnotdead. I got all the posters with a 50% off code. The code doesn't work anymore, but I'll keep my eye out for a new one if anyone else is interested.
     
  27. Cathy

    Cathy Rookie

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    Aug 13, 2007

    I love the coloring book idea! We too have the 25 minute 'teaching' days where nothing gets done - really. I'll have to buy some books today.
    For my wall decorations this year, I've use garfield posters, cute science lab safety posters, and I've taken the cool photos from National Geographic and other magazines and laminated them (laminators are cheap at walmart - a good investment). I've done the inspirational posters - but I really think the only one who was inspired was me. :D
     
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