How "cute" is your classroom?

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by Ted, Jul 31, 2013.

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  1. Ted

    Ted Habitué

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  3. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    My classroom is pretty cut and dry. There's no room to be cute because glass cabinets take up one whole side of the room, giant windows the other, and giant whiteboards and bookcases take up what's left.
     
  4. JustMe

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    I think it is a non-issue if a teacher spends her personal time to cuteify her classroom.

    If a teacher is consistently using planning time focusing on cuteness over actual teaching, then there is a problem.

    I find that teachers can balance things nicely.
     
  5. Ted

    Ted Habitué

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    Well, at least you save time in room set-up! :)
     
  6. Ted

    Ted Habitué

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    I think you're right.

    I also think that "cute" is really subjective.

    In today's educational climate, I think that teachers, as a whole, have a lot more to discuss than how "cute" (or "un-cute") their colleagues' rooms are/aren't.

    I don't judge my colleagues' room in terms of cuteness. If I see a strategy with which I'm impressed, I may ask to borrow it. Or I will compliment if a room looks very neat and organized...but I get enough judgement from the parents at my school... I refuse to allow my fellow teachers' opinion(s) of my classroom faze me.

    I graduated from high school nearly 30 years ago. I'm done with that chapter of my life.
     
  7. Mr.history

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    No cuteness. I just saw Histchr post a link to an awesome poster site in another topic so I ordered some history posters to hang up.(couple with some great quotes on them). To be honest I'm not much of a "decorator". I hate doing bulletin boards, so I think I'm going to use each of them as a word wall for each class(US and world)
     
  8. HistoryVA

    HistoryVA Devotee

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    It's not "cute" because nothing matches, but it is full and eclectic. I have a color scheme that's reflected in my bulletin boards, word wall, agenda wall, etc. I've hung curtains and have covered my desk in fabric. I have tons of posters and Dr. Seuss quotes, my collection of presidential pez and Dr. Who stuff.

    Some of it's cutesy, but very little of it is for the students. They're 16- they don't notice or care that my Word Wall is color-matched to my desk. It's selfishly all for me. :) I'm a dorky, colorful person and if I have to be stuck in a room for 40-50 hours a week, I want it to be a space that I enjoy being in.
     
  9. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    I was told by my previous admin that my room was not cute enough. Literally, those were the exact words. I had butcher paper/decorative borders on the bulletin boards but everything hung up was pretty much educational. They wanted me to take the student work down and put up more "decorations".
     
  10. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    :dizzy:
     
  11. bison

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    I don't have a classroom, but teachers in my most recent two schools (one where I work, the other where I volunteered/worked for my credential program this year) really spend very little time on "cute." Do they make an effort for things to be fun and pleasing to the eye? Of course, but there's always still an academic purpose to every bulletin board and display. They pull plenty of ideas from Pinterest for engaging and new activities, but the workload and expectations are already so high that no one is going to be spending hours upon hours (or money) doing things like creating matching labels for everything. There's nothing wrong with it when people do, but I don't know how they find the time! One issue I have with a lot of stuff I find on Pinterest and TPT is the widespread use of illegible fonts. Great blogs and resources are rendered useless because I can barely read the lettering, let alone a struggling 7-year-old.
     
  12. Pisces_Fish

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    Bison, the font thing drives me nuts, too. The only extent I take the 'cute factor' in my room is that I like owls. Most of my borders are owls, as are my name plates and the word wall headers. When I was on TPT, I truly had a hard time finding word wall letters that you could actually read!

    I gave away a bunch of posters this year because I really want to focus on having my walls covered with student work and charts we make together. My goal this year is to have 10% or less of the things on my walls store-bought. This is a huge change from my first year teaching, a trend I've been taking for awhile.

    In short, the cutsiness I see on TPT on some edublogs is disconcerting. I'm glad I'm not the only one! I shudder sometimes to see teachers blogging about their worksheets. "Isn't this so cute? The font is blah-blah and the clip art pack is from blah-blah." Really? It's a *worksheet*
     
  13. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    Um. If cute means my bulletin boards match, then my room is super cute.

    I make my own content posters. I can't draw, so they have stick figures on them. I have a collection of stuffed animals/toys students have given me throughout the years. My mini-crates for books match each other but not the rest of the room. I don't label things except for my cabinet doors, which I also drew by hand. I'm sure my 7th graders can figure out that a cup filled with pens has pens in it. They can figure out that 25 bags of markers probably means there's a Baggie of markers for everyone in class.

    I don't use a ton of worksheets, but I'm big on legible and short on pictures - mostly because I don't get many ESOL students. If I served a large population, I'd use more pics.
     
  14. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I don't "do" cute or themes--it just isn't me. I always back my bulletin boards with black (I use cheap vinyl tablecloths--they are easy to work with and don't fade) and put up bright border. Almost everything else that goes up in my room is either student-created or class generated anchor charts.
     
  15. knitter63

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    I don't have the cute factor...what people tell me is that my room is inviting. I use a black bedsheet as my bulletin board background and put up colorful border. Each bulletin board has a subject-and words/anchor posters/and student work cover them. The rest of my walls have (but not totally covered) anchor posters.
    I am a neat person, so my room is clutter free.
     
  16. Listlady

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    Compared to some classrooms that have nothing on the walls, mine may be considered "cute," but most would not think so, ha ha. (Right now my room is in disarray--just moved junk in to new room, but the other person's "stuff" isn't out yet). I don't have themes, or color schemes or anything, but my room is colorful. I purposely use items of all different colors so that anything I'd put in there will "match."

    I plan to have students do group poster projects (grammar pet peeves) at the beginning of the year to help decorate the room and use up some wall space. One bulletin board will always contain a certain inspirational poster in the middle and students' goals for the semester written in Sharpies. The other bulletin board will be used to display student work for a weekly contest I plan to have (will only be cute if their work is cute, ha), and other than some literary terms posters and my artsy LEARN signs I'm in the process of making, that's about it.

    Regarding TpT and cuteness, I totally agree that the "cute" is overboard. I've recently set up shop there and feel pressured to cuteify my products so that people will notice them. I may break down and make slightly more appealing looking "preview" items, but I really don't want to spend time working on ANYTHING that doesn't help me in my own classroom. (I don't want to spend time creating stuff just to sell it. If I already have something done that I use myself, that's different).
     
  17. platypusok

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    I teach middle/high school and I don't feel any pressure to be cute. I have READ posters from ALA of people I like (Nathan Fillion, Rupert Grint) and a world map. A lot of blank walls for students to put stuff up.

    A few years ago some 7th grade girls told me my desk was ugly. It was. It is an old metal military desk (we are close to an Army base and get cast-offs for little or no money). I had some purple duct tape in my closet. They asked if they could cover my desk in it. Every time they had free time at the end of class they worked on my desk. They even brought some animal print duct tape. It took them almost two months but my desk is awesome.

    With that being said, if someone wants there room/stuff to be cute then who cares? Cute, non-cute...it's all the same to me.
     
  18. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

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    Mine is a few recycling posters, a moon calendar, and student work. Oh, and we dress up my skeleton :D
     
  19. Ted

    Ted Habitué

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    I'd bet my bottom dollar (am I showing my age?!) that a parent made a comment to the principal, who felt it was necessary to pass it along to you.

    That's just crazy.

    As somebody pointed out, we teachers are in the room longer than anybody else. If it's pleasing to us, then that's all that matters.
     
  20. 32Flavors

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    As much as I love love love pinterest, looking at it for hours on end had made me extremely jealous of other people's classrooms. I always start to think, "oh maybe I should have a classroom theme" or "maybe I should put more decorations up". But then when I start running through all the things I would have to do and buy, it seems like far too much work so I just stick with my "non-cute" room.

    Don't get me wrong, I do very much like my classroom but I also don't put much effort into decorating. Just the general stuff like borders and paper (that mostly go together) on the bulletin boards. Everything else on the walls and such is student work or pictures of my class doing things at school or with their families. Occasionally, I try to decorate my door but it's always extremely simple. All the other classrooms in my school are decorated similarly to mine so I guess there isn't much classroom "envy or competition" going on.

    I did spend some time this summer creating new labels for my toy, book and art bins, center signs, schedule and job chart. I didn't add any fancy fonts or designs to them but I tried to make the labels more clear (the pictures on the label) so that my kiddies could "read" and understand them a little easier.
     
  21. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    I think a room should be inviting, but that doesn´t mean it has to be cute. Oragnized would make it inviting. I have done themes the last several years, but I even at that I have kept it very simple and easy (I am not super creative!). I remember my subbing days having gone into a couple of classrooms that looked like a tornado had hit. That would make, in my opinion, for a very chaotic learning environment. So, I don´t think a classroom has to be cute, but it should be organized.
     
  22. 2ndTimeAround

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    Not cute at all. I am a high school science teacher. Functional is what I need.
     
  23. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    I loved this blog post - thanks for sharing!

    Her post really resonated with me. I teach first grade and at this level there is a lot of pressure to have everything in the room be adorable. I've seen some room pictures that totally overwhelm me - too much going on! I keep the same borders and paper up all year. I don't do seasonal stuff. I display a lot of student work, and I loathe pre made posters. I do have ALA posters with book characters for my library and a poster that says "today is a great day to learn something new."

    This post was very timely for me. I spend a lot of time on
    Pinterest, Instagram, and blogs, and I've really been falling into the trap of wanting to cuteify everything lately. I do have a month until school starts, but I've found that I've tended to stray towards planning and creating beautiful labels, etc instead of planning for my INSTRUCTION this year, even though I have a lot of instructional ideas I want to implement. This has really reminded me to shift my focus back. Yes, I'll still create things, but the focus needs to be on usefulness, not making them the cutest ever. This also is like a breath of fresh air to me. Those teachers' beautiful anchor charts and worksheets and centers STRESS me out because I feel like mine should look like that! Well I am a second year teacher and I have a lot of other things to focus on - where would I find the time?!

    I have cute elements in my room I guess - pillows and a rug in my library for example - but I try to make it all useful. And I think nothing looks better than having my kids' work up, and they love it.
     
  24. Jem

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    I set up a new classroom this year and was starting from scratch. I even built my own bookshelves. I figured if I had to get all my bins/board backgrounds and borders/etc, they might as well match. I've spent a week so far putting together furniture, organizing books, putting up boards, ect. I don't expect to spend this kind of time on he physical classroom again, as I'll reuse everything next year. But in the process, my room is very coordinated and has little touches. I figure if teachers have the time in the summer and that's their creative outlet, go for it! I do think it's also important to remember the age of kids you're teaching as well. My fifth graders may not appreciate cartoony decorations as much as kinders.
     
  25. MissScrimmage

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    Organized and tidy are far more important than 'cute'. I'd rather invest my time in quality instruction planning than creating 'cute'. I guess I do some 'cute' things, but learning is my focus, cute is a bonus.
     
  26. Toy_03

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    To be honest, I just want an organized room! I'm not into being cute. Just nice and organized will do for me :)
     
  27. Toy_03

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    ^^^^^^This! This summer (past two weeks) I spent trying to create labels and etc and not enough looking at our new curriculum. Although I want to be organized, I also need to prepare.
     
  28. Sm2teach

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    My room is cute. I don't have a theme exactly. Everything is colorful and matches. I have also put in a lot of time organizing my room. I am careful not to let my room get too cluttered. I don't want to be that teacher that has saved everything over the course of 20 years. If something isn't relevant, I get rid of it. That's just me though. I hate clutter. I spend about a week before school starts cleaning my room and decorating. It doesn't change much the rest of the year. Really, it hasn't changed much in the last three years. I don't decorate for holidays. The rest of the year my time is spent on lesson planning and curriculum.

    I do this more though for myself though than for my students. They really probably don't care what the room looks like. But since I spend more waking hours at school than my home during the school year, I want to enjoy my room. I don't think a cute room makes me a better teacher. Just a happier one.
     
  29. FourSquare

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    Ha, one of our 8th grade teachers just gifted me an apple-shaped notepad. She said, "You'll like this cause you like cute!"

    I guess my room is cute. I did not spend as much time on it this year, though. I had my kids do everything at the end of the year. I feel good that they have a say in how it looks. It is their learning environment, after all!

    Quality instruction trumps everything, but classroom environment does matter. Clean and organized is good enough if that's your thing. :)
     
  30. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    I care about aesthetics, not cuteness.:2cents:

    Call it what you will. It's colorful, inviting, reflects students current work, sets a climate of learning. I have colorful BBS, inspirational quotes, books organized in baskets and bins, carpet squares, math games, student notes and artwork...I don't like cold and sterile except for in operating rooms. I get results. Not apologizing for a few stuffed animals and colorful banners.
     
  31. DrivingPigeon

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    Agreed! I would like to think that my classroom looks nice. I spent a lot of time setting it up, and everything matches. However, I have put a great deal of thought into the process, and everything serves a purpose.

    I really liked this point in the article: "My second concern is that in some cases, we’re using “cute” to compensate for boring and outdated teaching practices." I have noticed this quite often. A fill-in-the-blanks worksheet will be decorated in cute clipart, which suddenly makes it very popular with teachers. I'm pretty sure students just see a boring worksheet.
     
  32. Pashtun

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    Enough said right there.
     
  33. monsieurteacher

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    I think my biggest problem with the "cute revolution" is that it makes classrooms really overwhelming places for children with autism or ADHD... too many colours and things is just too much for them.
     
  34. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Show me a third grader who can do division because of radio. Or a first grader who can read because of radio. Or a fifth grader who can solve an order of operations problem because of radio.
    Could they do these things in a cold, sterile, non aesthetic environment? Maybe some could. But bottom line, we're teaching tech savvy, visually stimulated learners. Do what works for you. But don't undermine those who purposefully use their classroom environment in visually appealing ways to reach learners. There's a difference between glitter razzle dazzle and meaningful classroom aesthetics.:2cents:
     
  35. a2z

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    My comment is not aimed at you czacza, but the content of your comment that I quoted. The big problem with your comment is most that create razzle dazzle often think that it is meaningful classroom aesthetics. Many focus on what is more interesting to them or easier to think of instead of focusing on what the student needs. While they do it for the student, they may not even see the difference between what they are doing with care and what is really effective.

    We do know that people are capable of learning without pleasing aesthetics. People in 3rd world countries do it all the time.

    The other thing I always question is wanting to make a classroom "homey". I understand welcoming. I understand comfortable (not in the lounging sort of way). But I don't see a classroom as something that should be "homey". Kids are there to learn and work. They are not at home. Home should be home and school should be school, in my opinion.
     
  36. teacherintexas

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    My room is color coordinated and organized. All of the displays are content related.

    Cute? Maybe to some. I prefer the word inviting.
     
  37. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    :thumb:
     
  38. Ted

    Ted Habitué

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    What is pleasantly/unpleasantly aesthetic is really subjective.

    I want my classroom to be unique and I want it to be somewhere in which my students enjoy being.

    Since aesthetics is, indeed, subjective, I know I will have some students who enjoy the classroom, some who don't, and some who are indifferent.

    I can only go by my own thoughts and feelings and my years as a classroom teacher to guide my design choices, and hope that the majority (if not all) of my students like being in my classroom. :)
     
  39. pwhatley

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    If the choice is between a grungy prison cell type environment and something warm, clean, color-coordinated and inviting, I'll choose the latter every time, and I'll venture to say that 98% of students will, too! My room is not cluttered (unlike my house :) ), and there is plenty of "white space" (a printing term to mean that it is not jumbled up and full of stuff). I also play soft jazz (Chuck Mangione is my favorite) and Mozart during class, but that doesn't distract my kiddos either. In fact studies HAVE shown that music increases performance!
     
  40. Ted

    Ted Habitué

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    I'd like to get some more instrumental CDs to play. I enjoy playing Pachelbel's Canon and I find when I do that, the students get so much quieter, and focus more on their work...

    Maybe I'll head to Target and look for some other instrumentals with more variety (as the CD is ONLY the Canon).
    :whistle:
     
  41. Jem

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    Ted-check out Spotify! For the price if a cd ($10 a month), you can make unlimited playlists for the classroom. It fabulous.
     
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