fire marshalls!! err....

Discussion in 'Elementary Education Archives' started by jitterbug2, Aug 4, 2006.

  1. jitterbug2

    jitterbug2 Rookie

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    :eek: I need some help with this one desperately! I am a new teacher and we are remodeling our school. We also have a new fire marshall. He is so strict that you cannot even imagine. He is telling us things such as: we can't put anything in front or on (including curtains) our emergency exit window, we can't decorate our doors, we can't cover more than 20% of our walls (including student work), we can't have silk/artificial flowers, etc. The list goes on and on and on. Does anyone have any ideas about how to get around some of these things? Or at least still make my classroom look good while obeying these rules? I have three windows in my room and I can only put curtains on two of them (how retarded will that look!). I was thinking of maybe making it a "weather watching" window???? And I was thinking of hanging a clothesline in the room for student work, but do you think that would be considered in the 20%??? What about the backs of my cubbies. I have made my cubbies into a "wall" in the middle of my classroom to close off my reading area somewhat and I was going to decorate the back of it like a bulletin board. What do you think? This is soooo frustrating! What should I do with my door? It looks REALLY ugly with nothing on it! School starts in a week and I have not been able to put anything up yet because of this guy!! NEED HELP!
     
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  3. paperheart

    paperheart Groupie

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    that sounds frustrating...I have dealt with the nothing in front of the windows or doors but haven't had a strict environment other than that.

    The clothesline may bring up the idea that burning things can fall on students. I know many teachers here have mentioned that rule.

    Can you put up a welcome sign etc to the side of your door and maybe use window clings on the door/windows? I have used color transparencies of paintings from an old art curriculum on the windows. The kids really like that.

    YOur weather watching window idea is wonderful! You can also have the students use it for writing--working on details and descriptions etc.

    how about a rug, pillows, and other cozy accessories?
     
  4. wdwteach

    wdwteach Cohort

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    We have to watch a video called "Walls of Flame.":rolleyes: These fire regs. amaze me because we are required to have so many things on our walls that I know it covers more than 20%. Just look around at how the other teachers are solving this and maybe ask the principal what they think would be acceptable.
     
  5. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I have no creative ideas, but think you should probably find a way to work within the system, not get around it.

    I've been to too many student funerals.

    Follow the rules on this. You'll never forgive yourself if the unimaginable happens.
     
  6. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    I thought you were going to be from Florida. LOL. Our fire marshal is similar. We can't put anything on our windows, bring in any more wood because of termites, keep tables a certain amount of inches from windows/doors, not cover more than 20% of our walls, or hang anything from the ceiling (not even little signs for groups, and I wish I could). We also cannot put anything on the floor in our storage area (though I have a Christmas tree box for a 6 foot tall tree). He gave me three violations the first time last year and zero the second time because our team leader came in the middle of writing with a grand smile on her face. I sent my messenger down to my friend who teaches Math and Science Lab so she knew as well.

    I am doing the same with your cubbies idea, by the way, yet I am using the back of a bookcase as a board of sorts because that's not included in the 20%.

    Yet all besides that one box (which really didn't matter last year, so that's ok), I abide by the rules. I try to be creative in other respects, like making my own bulletin boards out of corkboard, having a small rug in the reading area, and keeping a lot in plastic drawers so the room isn't crowded. And... it really isn't that crowded at all this year.
     
  7. silver rain

    silver rain Comrade

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    "He gave me three violations the first time last year and zero the second time because our team leader came in the middle of writing with a grand smile on her face. I sent my messenger down to my friend who teaches Math and Science Lab so she knew as well.
    ----Ms. Jasztal"

    Do you mean he actually wrote you up or were you given verbal reminders?
    At my school the FM tells the admins. and then they tell us.
     
  8. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I agree with the advice to live within the rules, however much you may not like them. Our school can face some pretty heavy consequences for violations--to say nothing of the potential for danger or tragedy if there is an emergency. The rules are not arbitrary, they are there for a reason.
     
  9. Ann2006

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    I agree that the rules are there for a reason...but REALLY! It's gotten so ridiculous with the Board of Ed wanting rubrics up attached to student work...every student....Benchmarks writtten as I can statements attached to student work. Posters of class rules, MORE rubrics, words wall for EACH subject, library check out sytem posted, attendance posted, ARGH!!!!!!!!!!!
    I'm looking for ideas on how to desing a costume I can wear with all these REQUIRED items so I don't use more than the allowed 20% of wall space either! LOL
    And the clotheline across the room....forget about it unless it's a wire, then that's fine.
     
  10. luvmykids

    luvmykids Companion

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    We have a strict fire marshall as well. We have the same rules as you and they really aren't that bad. Once you get use to the restrictions you can find ways to decorate your room. We can't have any curtains on our windows and I can't use much paper on my walls. To make up for these things I have fabric on my buliten boards, a clothesline infront of my window that the students decorate with art and have limited the posters I have around the room. I had to take my word wall down because it went above the approved height but I can live with out that. I would rather not be fined and be caught in a buring room so I have just adjusted.
     
  11. mommaruthie

    mommaruthie Aficionado

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    Rules are enforced for a reason. I am sorry to hear that you would try to 'get around' a rule. Safety is MOST important responsibility of our job. Nurturing, Educating come AFTER.
     
  12. jitterbug2

    jitterbug2 Rookie

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    I am not necessarily trying to get around the rules. I am trying to still make my classroom look like a classroom! I was just looking for ideas that I can use to help out. I mean they are basically saying that I can't display any student art work, because by the time you include the bulletin boards that I have, plus my word wall, you've covered 20% of my wall! Some of you are acting like I want my kids to be in danger. That's ridiculous. But some of these rules are so strict that I don't know what to do.
     
  13. collteach

    collteach Comrade

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    I agree that it is VERY difficult to only cover 20% of the walls...especially with required standards posters, etc. Heck, my word wall took up 50% of one wall last year. I have no idea what things are like at my new school. I think that probably the best way to be able to hang student work is to eliminate the "cutesy" BBs and posters and such.
     
  14. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Again, I'm secondary, not elementary, so my point of view may be skewed.

    I agree that THOSE rules are stupid!!!

    About the only ones I see a reason for are the fire ones.

    But we've made out point. How about if some of you creative types (that pretty much excludes me:sorry: ) come up with some creative ideas for Jitterbug. She can't be the only one facing these rules: how do you cope?

    (My decorations are boder across the top of the front and side blackboards, a 4x6 foot bulletin board -- some of that must be left open for the zillions of notices we get-- and a few posters on my file cabinet. So this isn't a question I've ever had to deal with.)

    So forgive me for restating the obvious, but can you still use:
    -the front of your desk?
    -the kids' desk tops and sides?
    -hanging stuff from the ceiling (doubtful, but I thought I would throw it out there:rolleyes: )
     
  15. Miss_J

    Miss_J Habitué

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    I'm in the same boat! We aren't allowed to have clothes lines in our room either.
    Our art teacher gets fined EVERY year!!
    I put a lot of things on my desk (metal) with magnets and on the metal cabinets in my room. These places were not considered "wall" space.
    It's hard to make a classroom with these restrictions!
     
  16. gwat1aw

    gwat1aw Rookie

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    I agree, we should be trying to give her creative ideas.

    Several of us at my school used our "free time" during the summer and painted on the walls with things that could no longer be used to hold the posters and all. Some painted the "typical" alphabets as a border around the room--just as many usually tape the alphabet strips up. This way you don't have to take them back down at the end of the year.

    Try incorporating your students work and your word walls into your bulletin boards. I've seen lots of neat ideas to do both--that way you are using the maximum 20% of wall space as well using the students' work.

    Using fabric instead of paper on the bulletin boards is a great idea. I've done this before and it really gives a new texture and look to the boards.

    As far as the windows--several of the teachers at our school have opted out of curtains altogether and use paint on the windows. As long as you use craft type paints or tempera paint, it comes off pretty easily. There is still space for the students to see out of, still helps cut light yet allows some light in, gives the windows a function in the classroom--other than just allowing light in, and sometimes the students can help paint. It's easy to do--put the desired picture on the outside of the window and let the students "color" inside the lines, trace the lines, choose the colors, etc. It makes for a great art project and so many learning opportunities are available--shapes, colors, following directions, use of color, creativity, etc. In other words, have a creative, fun classroom and still be within the rules.
     
  17. jitterbug2

    jitterbug2 Rookie

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    Thank you to the last couple of responders. Your so helpful!! The paint on the windows is an absolutely wonderful idea!! I am definately going to look into that. I was also thinking of seeing if my principal might let me paint on the wall so that my walls don't look so bare. That shouldn't be breaking the rules, should it??
     
  18. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    Us, too. We must post our standards, though that has nothing to do with the fire marshals. We must put up rubrics for some assignments. Is your school a Modern Red Schoolhouse school? We are.
     
  19. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    I am embarrassed now. I was given reminders. It's because I was collecting newspapers, and now I look back and feel ashamed. It was also for poor housekeeping- we were doing this project and the classroom was not in its best condition. Yet since then, I've realized why the newspaper collection wasn't wise.

    The rules are most certainly enforced for a reason, and newspaper collecting is just not... wise. I don't want to receive them this year, to be honest, and maybe I won't because the NIE's yearly subscription is up. He basically got me three times for the newspapers.

    I'd say creative ways are to still display on the bulletin boards, on cupboard doors (if you have any), and maybe from a clothesline hanging on the bulletin board. Also, try to organize everything very neatly so the room will pass regulations.

    The second time the marshal came, I had cleaned pretty recently, and he was impressed that I took the newspapers to the art room/recycling bin/other teachers. I also kept a few.
     
  20. Ann2006

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    Actually, having to have all that extra paper hanging off of others papers on the wall does have to do with fire marshals. They don't want to see layers of papers hanging up. But we are required to have them up.
    I would never put anyone's life at risk and I feel that all this extra paper on the wall is silly.
     
  21. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I don't know what kind of a budget you're dealing with, but is there an IKEA near you? In addition to their furniture, they have some really cute kid's stuff-- I bet you could find some storage bins in primary colors and make use of it somehow.
     
  22. Ann2006

    Ann2006 Cohort

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    Great idea!
    Thanks.
     
  23. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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