Decorating your classroom when nothing is allowed on the walls--Ideas?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by russell506, Jul 27, 2012.

  1. russell506

    russell506 Rookie

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    Jul 27, 2012

    Hi Everyone!
    This is my first year teaching (I'll be teaching K) and today I saw my room for the first time! I was so excited because it is very large and spacious, however i was quickly notified that because it is a new building there is a strict policy on preserving the walls and therefore ABSOLUTELY NOTHING can be placed on the walls. Not even an alphabet sign :(
    I do have 4 small bulletin boards but I do not think that will be enough to display student work and anchor charts made throughout the year.

    I was wondering if anyone has been in this situation and was seeking your creative solutions and ideas for livening up your classroom and displaying work.

    Thank you!!!
     
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  3. LMichele

    LMichele Cohort

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    Jul 27, 2012

    What about hanging hooks from the ceiling with a clothing line across the room? You could use clothespins to display student work and anchor charts.
     
  4. leighbball

    leighbball Virtuoso

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    In my school, most classrooms lose a whole wall to windows, so many of us have put up 3M hooks with a string to hang things using clothespins from the string! I hang anchor charts and student work up there. I also use clothespins to attach anchor charts to the window blinds. :)

    Congrats on your job!!
     
  5. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    You should bring in some Mavalous tape for them to inspect. It don't do any damage to the walls!
    Or even Stikki Clips (hate them, but they come off easily).

    Do you have many windows you can tape things to?
     
  6. russell506

    russell506 Rookie

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    From my understanding, we are not allowed to put anything at all on the walls. I even asked about using 3M hooks and that blue putty stuff and they said no to both. We also are not allowed to put name tags on the desk or velcro, hook, and/or hang anything from the doors, desks, windows and ceilings.
     
  7. lbradley1718

    lbradley1718 Comrade

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    I'm working at a school that just opened in January. We have the same policy that nothing can be put on the walls. I posted some of my classroom photos in the "classroom photos" section of this forum. You can take a look and see what I did.
     
  8. lbradley1718

    lbradley1718 Comrade

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  9. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    Well, I guess your admin wants a prison not a school. Jeez!
     
  10. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

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    Overzealous firecodes?
     
  11. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    Jul 27, 2012

    I don't have any advice (sorry), but that is just really stupid!!! It reminds me of when people keep the plastic over their phone, or on new furniture. The classrooms were made to be used and lived in. A fresh coat of paint or little repair should be built into the budget-not avoided! Student learning shouldn't be sacrificed because the walls are too pretty. UGH!
     
  12. Kaseta

    Kaseta Rookie

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    Jul 28, 2012

    Since nothing can be attached directly to the doors, desks, ceiling, and windows, I'm assuming the floor is also out of the question for adding color and decoration (i.e. decals, tape) ?

    Perhaps you might be able to purchase something like inexpensive stackable crates, cabinets, tubs, etc... that could be used. Depending where and how they're setup you could possibly hang light things onto or between them since they'd be your property. Additionally, as crates and tubs are standard in many classrooms I can't see them banning those as damage inducing devices. Could be wrong in this case.

    That is all I can think of given such strict regulations. By taking items they consider common and innocuous and using them in a creative manner, you might be able to improve the classroom environment and minimize their concerns for damage.
     
  13. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    Could you get the little bulletin boards and lean them against the wall on top of a bookcase or student desk?
     
  14. CFClassroom

    CFClassroom Connoisseur

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    Jul 28, 2012

    How about those tri-fold presentation boards?

    If you can post a picture of the classroom that would be helpful for generating ideas.

    Congrats on your new job.
     
  15. Rabbitt

    Rabbitt Connoisseur

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    Is the reason fire code? If so, you won't be able to hang from the ceiling or windows either. I get fire codes, how about the effects of test scores and sorrow due to prison atmosphere? What are the odds of a fire while the kids are in school? And if there is, I am pretty certain that we can get out of the building before the paper on the walls becomes a problem. GEESH. Maybe it's the safetly of the fire fighters? With that said...

    Paint? My co-worker LOVES the Little House series and painted a few scenes in her room. They are about 3' x 5'.

    Maybe paint some quotes, the alphabet, numbers, colors. etc.
    It depends on your age group.

    Can you paint the ceiling tiles? OK, i am now getting carried aaaaway!
     
  16. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Jul 28, 2012

    If they aren't going to let her put up temporary decorations, I highly doubt they'll let her PAINT!

    I don't have advice, but like the others have said, I find this so upsetting. :( Those little kids NEED a visual reinforcement of what they're learning. It's VITAL to learning to read! Has your principal never heard of a "print rich environment"?!

    I know you're new so you don't want to speak up, but hopefully the older teachers will throw a big enough fit that this policy will change.
     
  17. perplexed

    perplexed Comrade

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    Someone on here just suggested a great idea. Take the really light ceiling tiles that you'd find at Home Depot and cover them with fabric. You can decorate them and lean them on top of high shelved to cover boxes to just lean them on the white board, etc.....I also like the idea of using the big cardboard tri-fold science boards or whatever they are called.
     
  18. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    I guess I just don't understand the thinking of some administrators :(

    Part of our yearly evaluation is how effectively we display student learning in the classroom. Our rooms are supposed to be completely covered with stuff.
     
  19. TerriInCa

    TerriInCa Companion

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    I have used these for portable bulletin boards. they work nicely. You can cover them in fabric or plastic table clothes too.

    Putting them on top of shelving or even on the floor so they are at child height.

    You cold also make the PVC chart stands. And hang posters, anchor charts, & pocket charts on those.
     
  20. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Could you use magnets to hang things on lockers and file cabinets (and maybe even the desks)? Office Depot has really good (and cute) magnets that look like push pins. Just a thought - this is horrible!
     
  21. Rabbitt

    Rabbitt Connoisseur

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    Jul 28, 2012

    decorations burn! If it's a firecode issue, they may allow paint.
     
  22. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    It sounds like they want to preserve the brand new building. I get that the first few scratches are painful. But let's remember the purpose of this building!!

    Are your white boards magnetic? Mine are covered with anchor charts, calendar, pocket charts, etc. and then I do most of my teaching at an easel. Also can you attach things to cupboards? I have very little on my actual walls, but I have plenty of bulletin boards to compensate.

    I like the idea of the tri-fold boards.
     
  23. russell506

    russell506 Rookie

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    Thanks everyone for the responses!

    I have a very long white board so I'm definitely going to try to use most of it to display things for learning. I do need to save some of the space though since it converts into a Prometheus board (which is awesome!)

    I've only been in the classroom once and I spotted quite a few cabinets and have already thought about possibly posting things on those. But, I've not asked yet and if I had to guess, it will probably be a no-go. But we'll see!

    I like the tri-fold idea! I think I'll look into that...

    My room is rather large so I was thinking about bringing in a lot of my shelves and attaching cork board to the back of them. However, I've not asked if I can do this yet and I'm also a bit worried about the response...not sure why'd they would say no but they said no to name tags on desks which I thought was ridiculous, so who knows what answer I will get.

    It honestly really does frustrate me! I have been gifted with this very large classroom to teach in and the for the students to learn in yet I am crippled by efforts to preserve a new building. I do understand that some of the restrictions are due to fire code but it is still disheartening since there are so many great visual tools that I will not be able to use.
     
  24. ednitai

    ednitai New Member

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    If you have blinds you can hang anchor charts using jumbo paper clips. The other tip will be to hang a large curtain from the celling close to the wall and use safety pins. Good luck.
     
  25. leighbball

    leighbball Virtuoso

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    It sounds like you have some good ideas...good luck! Let us know how you make out :)
     
  26. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    I'm sorry I have no advice. That sounds like the saddest classroom ever. What are they preserving the walls for- the afterlife? So you'll have beautiful looking bare walls for people to admire? I'm sorry it just sounds so ridiculous. :( :sorry:
     
  27. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    It hardly sounds like 'the saddest class room ever'...the op has some great ideas and great advice..as Tim Gunn says, "make it work!"
     
  28. amakaye

    amakaye Enthusiast

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    I have a set of cabinets that I wanted to use for my word wall, which I inherited with velcro already attached to them. I had nowhere to hang them, so I cut long strips of felt (about an inch wide) and ran the felt vertically down the cabinet, wrapping a few inches over the top and bottom and using masking tape to attach it to the inside of the cabinet door. I have three strips on each door. They have been up for three years, and nothing has fallen down! (I never expected the velcro to stick to the felt that well). Anyway, that might be a way for you to hang some things without attaching them to the outside of the cabinets. Good luck!
     
  29. jteachette

    jteachette Comrade

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    You might want to try hanging name tags from the chair backs with yarn, instead of desk tags. The children will have then have an assigned seat, without marring the desk with adhesives.
     
  30. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

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    For desk name plates, I was thinking you could make a trifold with it flat on the bottom (short and long) with the name on one side and whatever learning tools you want them to refer to on the bottom. The bottom part you could weight down with something like a bean bag to keep it in place. Another idea would be to cover a can with cute paper and have their names on it and use the cans for pencils, etc. Or I could imagine really cute flags or banners hang from the top of a stick with a stand underneath.

    I worked at a site where I hung a clothesline between two bulletin boards to hang studentl work.

    Also, office supply stores sell sticky magnets to put on the back of business cards. Per square inch, they are cheaper than most other magnets and are easy to cut with scissors to attach to the back of charts, letters, borders, etc. I recently bought colored electrical tape which sticks to the whiteboard without residue and looks cut!e to divide areas.

    Good luck
     
  31. janney

    janney Cohort

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    Instead of attaching the name tags to the desk you can just laminate them and lay them on their desks. I have found that they actually last longer this way since there isn't anything for my students to pick at. Also it is easier to move around.
     
  32. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    Wow. Our building was brand-new last year... the school provided us with approved tape to use on the walls (I think it was 3M tape). We also can't bring in any outside furniture.

    I like the idea of using science fair boards... if you cover them with fabric and use two-sided tape for the displays, you should be able to change them out with relative ease :)
     
  33. applecore

    applecore Devotee

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    I'm baffled when school buildings are treated as holy shrines instead of a place of education.

    I've seen a teacher hang those thick foam boards from the ceiling, close to the wall, using fishing line and hooks. it made for a nice place to hang anchor charts and things liike that. The ceiling has those removable tiles with spacers to hang the hooks from--if that make sense at all to describe.

    If anything, the situation will get you in the creative mood until the school buildings a few years old.
     

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