Is anyone tired of just Fluff?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by runnerss, Jun 22, 2009.

  1. runnerss

    runnerss Comrade

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2008
    Messages:
    445
    Likes Received:
    1

    Jun 22, 2009

    Here me out on this one. I love making sure my room has color and I love coming up with new games. I also love to make things exciting and fun for my kids and always try to step outside of the box. However, I am getting tired of seeing things that have no educational purpose and it is just fluff. I guess the more I teach the more I realize that the room needs to be interactive and stimulates students thinking. What are your thoughts?
     
  2.  
  3. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2007
    Messages:
    14,596
    Likes Received:
    2,702

    Jun 22, 2009

    Can you give some examples of fluff?
     
  4. runnerss

    runnerss Comrade

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2008
    Messages:
    445
    Likes Received:
    1

    Jun 22, 2009

    For example, when you walk into a room where the theme is frogs and there may be cute frog things all over the room and cute sayings, however, it is not incorporated into the instruction. It is simply just frogs. I hope this is making sense.
    I have nothing against themes, I do them myself. However, I have seen rooms in the past where there are hardly any instructional things on the walls, just cute stuff.
     
  5. mdith4him

    mdith4him Companion

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2008
    Messages:
    195
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 22, 2009

    I know what you mean. I've seen some teachers who have super cute bulletin boards with whatever their theme is, but it really serves no educational purpose. I guess I don't mind some "fluff" if it makes the room brighter and more inviting, but I don't like wasting tons of space on it. An entire bulletin board worth of fluff I feel is a waste since I'd rather have student work displayed or some kind of display that relates to what we're learning about. But if someone has some nice decoration on their front door or along the top of the wall near the ceiling I think that's fun.
     
  6. snickydog

    snickydog Groupie

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2006
    Messages:
    1,481
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 22, 2009

    I agree... I think you can use theme-type materials in instruction. For example, when I do a theme, I use related cut-outs for each letter on the word wall. I put the vowels with one shape and consonants in another, so I can remind my first graders "Vowels are A, E, I, O, and U... Those are on a fish cutout" or something to that effect. The rest of my walls are instructional charts and student work, book displays, etc.
     
  7. knitter63

    knitter63 Groupie

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2007
    Messages:
    1,396
    Likes Received:
    4

    Jun 22, 2009

    I agree-some do go all out on fluff. In our building, the push is to have most all of our room decorations be student created. I still put up some things, but I am going with the flow on this one-dont' want to ruffle feathers, but I am disappointed that my dream for a "game" theme-especially my word wall has been crushed!
     
  8. Kat53

    Kat53 Devotee

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2006
    Messages:
    1,071
    Likes Received:
    12

    Jun 22, 2009

    Definitely agree here! A certain amount of fluff is nice, but some people go way overboard. Been there! The thing that I don't like is when people put up random educational posters that serve no value. (just to be decoration, really) For example, that long vowel poster is nice but unless kids know what it is for and use it as a reference, it really serves no purpose. (especially when you haven't even taught long vowels.) Now, I'm not saying that those types of posters are bad at all. I'm talking about how it is utilized as a resource for kids. I made this mistake early on because I didn't really understand how to have an interactive classroom where displays, posters and bulletin boards need to have value to the kids. I really wish I could go back to my first few years and start over!
     
  9. skittleroo

    skittleroo Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2008
    Messages:
    1,958
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 22, 2009

    kat53, I agree. I hate seeing random "educational" posters MORE than fluff. Educational posters are worthless if we don't use them and teach kids to refer to them.

    I have caught myself having things in my room that I never make one reference to. I now work to make sure I don't have anything up if its not important enough to use.
     
  10. GoldenPoppy

    GoldenPoppy Habitué

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2007
    Messages:
    775
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 22, 2009

    I agree 100%!

    A classroom should be inviting, engaging, and interactive. Every item in the classroom should serve an educational purpose. For example, a reading corner should be a place to select and enjoy a great book...having it decorated like a scene from Harry Potter or whatever other movie is popular at the moment does nothing for the quality of the literature that is contained upon the shelves.

    Most of the time all the fluff does is feed the teacher's ego. It shouts, "Look how wonderful I am! Look at how much time and energy I have put into this room!" Scale back the decor and spend the time on developing quality learning experiences for the students.
     
  11. skittleroo

    skittleroo Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2008
    Messages:
    1,958
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 22, 2009

    and if you fill up the walls, you rob the kids the opportunity of taking ownership of their room.
    I think we tend to forget that although we are guardians of our rooms, those rooms belong to the kids - it is for them. I'm saying this about myself. I need a reminder about this time of year that my room and its walls are for the kids - not for me to show off. It's easy to get carried away with all the cutesy stuff.

    Yes, you want it inviting and it's good for the kids to be excited about being in the room, but those walls are displays for students work and things that will help them grow.
     
  12. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2009
    Messages:
    1,642
    Likes Received:
    62

    Jun 22, 2009

    I will be doing high school, but I have sort of decided that I am mostly going to put up a few things like movie posters (ie Dante's Peak, Day After Tomorrow, Jurassic Park). As far as educational items go, I will put up lots of student projects as they occur and I already have a lovely mineral poster. The kids are going to get tons of content while I am teaching, and I want to emphasize my point that earth science related topics are all over popular culture--that will sort of be my year theme. Defining "popular culture" very broadly to encompass politics, movies, anything we experience regularly. I think movie posters do that in a fun way that boring generic science posters don't.

    A good example of this approach, is on the first day, I am going to ask if anyone knows what the movie Dirty Dancing has to do with geology. (it actually is very relevant and can be the springboard to a wonderful discussion!)
     
  13. Jem

    Jem Aficionado

    Joined:
    May 7, 2008
    Messages:
    3,544
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 22, 2009

    Ouch! Were you referring to my fantastic Hogwarts reading area from last year? Because I thought it was pretty great. Sigh.
     
  14. GoldenPoppy

    GoldenPoppy Habitué

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2007
    Messages:
    775
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 22, 2009

    You had a Hogwarts reading area? No, sorry, I didn't remember that. But you would be the perfect one to ask, what was its educational value?

    And, Mollydoll, what does Dirty Dancing have to do with geology? I am intrigued.
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2009
  15. Miss J. Pre-K

    Miss J. Pre-K Comrade

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2008
    Messages:
    384
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 22, 2009

    Yes, absolutely! I see some early childhood classrooms with so much store-bought or teacher-created stuff and I just cringe, because that could be better put to use for student's art, work, etc. Another pet peeve is having stuff too high for the kids . . . it's obviously not for them if it's next to the ceiling. I know wall space is limited, but why have a word wall or an alphabet at all if your kids have to crane their necks to see it?
     
  16. mdith4him

    mdith4him Companion

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2008
    Messages:
    195
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 22, 2009

    That sounds like an awesome idea! The only thing I'm wondering (besides the Dirty Dancing-geology connection!) is if high schoolers today have seen Dirty Dancing...?
     
  17. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2009
    Messages:
    1,642
    Likes Received:
    62

    Jun 22, 2009

    [​IMG]

    Same view:

    [​IMG]

    It is a really cool geologic feature. Basically, the lake is very high and is almost entirely dependant on rain to keep full. There is a series of faults that allows water to drain out, so it has been nearly dry for years. We have had so much rain lately though that the lake is nearly 1/5 full again!

    http://www.mountainlakehotel.com/Section_Home.asp?SID=42

    Anyway, on the subject of fluff, I can use Dirty Dancing (a movie I was surprised to find out high school kids still know about and have often seen) to talk about faults, lake dynamics, rainfall and climate and conducting a geologic study at a site.
     
  18. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2009
    Messages:
    1,642
    Likes Received:
    62

    Jun 22, 2009

    Yeah, apparently many have. It is still a cult favorite, and the ones who haven't seen it have heard of it and know who Patrick Swayze is. When the sequel to Dirty Dancing came out a few years ago, I was subbing and was amazed to hear some of the kids (girls) excited about going to see it. They had seen the original.

    ETA: This also has the added hook of being "local." I actually live only a few miles from the hotel where it was filmed.
     
  19. Teacher Chele

    Teacher Chele Habitué

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2007
    Messages:
    991
    Likes Received:
    1

    Jun 22, 2009

    I think it's all about balance. I do display things around my desk about my family (picture frames, small bulletin board of pictures, special nik-naks that I love. I also like to display inspirational items like my Mary Engelbreit posters. I think this makes the room welsoming and inviting. We have to be there at least 8 hours a day, so I want my room to be cozy. I use educational displays, but I make sure that we are doing something with them. If you just stick educational posters up and leave them, the kids tune them out and they become invisable.
     
  20. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2007
    Messages:
    14,596
    Likes Received:
    2,702

    Jun 22, 2009

    I agree that decor should serve an educational purpose.

    With that having been said, I don't think that all decor needs to serve as an educational resource or pseudo-teacher, a place where students turn to get information. It doesn't always have to be an informational poster or evidence of student achievement or props used in a lesson.

    I think that using decor to promote buy-in is an example of decor that doesn't actually educate but is educational nonetheless.

    I'll go with the example of the Harry Potter reading corner. Sure, having wizard stuff decorating the reading corner doesn't really help kids read. It does, however, get kids excited about reading. It draws them in--into the physical space, and then into the subject/activity. Students who buy in will most likely learn; students who aren't drawn to the material will very likely not learn it, at least not as well as students who care and are interested.
     
  21. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2006
    Messages:
    3,565
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 22, 2009

    Cassie, I hear you. Regarding the Harry Potter example, it is valuable and valid decor because kids want to go sit in that purple chair, turn on that theme lamp, and read. The energy put into making the area attractive for kids is apparent, and kids respond to it.

    The teacher before me (in my room) had panda bears all over the place. Even though it was not educational, I think the kids liked them because they were so "her". They still draw her pictures and send notes with pandas on them.
     
  22. skittleroo

    skittleroo Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2008
    Messages:
    1,958
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 22, 2009

    Cassie, I agree that a Harry Potter poster is indirectly educational. I'm referring to purely decorative things. And I'm not even talking about not having anything decorative. I am doing a racing theme and have changed my light switch plate to a racing one (completely non-educational). But I may have one frilly board or area as opposed to having my room covered in non-educational STUFF or "educational" posters up just because. (this is a problem I have discovered in my own classroom at times).

    I know for a fact I can get carried away. When I decided to do racing theme just a few weeks ago, I noticed I started trying to just think of all the cutesy things I could do (whether the kids needed it or not). But I had to step back and reconsider.

    I have just noticed about myself and the things I have had in my class that were USELESS. I made a promise to myself to limit that stuff in my room. This is a work in progress as i still find year after year I have posters hanging that I never address and the kids don't use.
     
  23. LiveNLearn

    LiveNLearn Comrade

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2008
    Messages:
    284
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 22, 2009

    This is a very thought provoking thread...

    Is it educational or merely fluff? I like to have student generated bulletins, but I also like to have something on the walls when kids come in on day 1.

    I put up a math wall last year, and did we reference some of the posters? Maybe a few times. Ouch, no educational value there. Just wall coverings (aka fluff)

    Good thoughts.:unsure:
     
  24. skittleroo

    skittleroo Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2008
    Messages:
    1,958
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 22, 2009

    livenlearn, that is exactly what I am referring to - in my own classroom of course.

    I got so irritated at myself at the end of the school year when I am taking everything down and realize - oh, there is a poster there. I forgot all about it......or.........wow, I don't even remember that poster hangining for the WHOLEEEEEEEE year. I can't believe. I found a couple posters that I swear someone else must have come in and put up because I don't even hardly remember having them.
    that is sad.
     
  25. Arky

    Arky Comrade

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2008
    Messages:
    477
    Likes Received:
    1

    Jun 23, 2009

    Our school has gone the route of the Literacy Comprehensive Model which requires the teacher to make charts with the kids. These charts are displayed around the room and eventually fill up all space left in the room leaving no room for anything else. In fact the way our rooms are laid out we do not have enough room for all the charts. So all fluff is gone.
     
  26. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2007
    Messages:
    3,644
    Likes Received:
    108

    Jun 23, 2009

    I started realizing that fluff wasn't necessary in my classroom and found ways of putting notes on our science experiments around the room that students could refer to. They were, in some cases, more confident once I started doing that since they knew they could look around to see what could support what they were thinking. :)

    I like some fluff though--- something that shows my likes, what my students' like, etc. It makes us feel like a family instead of just a class. :)
     
  27. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Messages:
    27,534
    Likes Received:
    6

    Jun 23, 2009

    I do fluff.

    My class is bell-to-bell math. We work, and we work hard.

    So my one bulletin board is covered with the cafeteria offerings for the month, a birthday card to my homeroom, the brainteaser Problem of the Week, and 2 or 3 cutesy posters... I have Ziggy, snoopy, and some of those inspirational ones. The border changes 3 times a year (Sept, Christmas, post-Christmas.)
     
  28. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2006
    Messages:
    4,858
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 23, 2009

    I agree with this. I absolutely loved Jem's library and actually admired the lengths she went to putting it all togehter. Anything we can do to entice kids to want to go pick up a book is a good thing. I went to an inservice recently where a teacher had a bathtub in the reading center. The kids were begging to go read a book. I change mine out every year and this year my mom had purchased a little very strong plastic swimming pool shaped like a frog for her dogs to play in (don't ask) - they didn't like it so I'm going to use it in their library center next fall-is that fluff? Maybe, but I guarantee you they will be excited about it.

    I do a theme every year so I have something that can tie together thier jobs, word wall, borders, really just give me something to go on when I shop for the room. All my bulletin boards are devoted to kid work. I do not post anything else around the room like posters, etc because my kids don't use them.

    Oh, and I have no choice but to display my alphabet up high - there is no other space in my room where I can fit 26 letters in order that are big enough for the kids to read it.
     
  29. runnerss

    runnerss Comrade

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2008
    Messages:
    445
    Likes Received:
    1

    Jun 23, 2009

    I think I wasn't very clear when I first posted. I think some people understood what I was saying and some didn't.:blush: I am used to it though. Don't ever ask me to teach writing.:whistle:
    As I said before I do a theme, and obviously you are going to have decorations in the room. I think themes do entice the kids. I am talking about the rooms that you walk into and you can't even tell what the kids are studying. It is a super cute room that probably took some time but where is the educational side of it?
    You can have a frog theme but we just have to make sure that's not what the main focus is. Example, if you have an area where you display student work, then decorate the border or whatever in Frogs. Or if you do put a math poster you use often, stick a cut out frog or put a frog border around it.
    Themes are not bad. I have one myself. I am doing a coffee shop theme so I brought in a couch and I am going to decorate that area with lights, fabrics, and plants. It will still serve a purpose because kids will use that area to learn. I am just talking about going into rooms or being in school hallways where things are just cutsie and is nothing educational.
     
  30. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2006
    Messages:
    7,946
    Likes Received:
    3

    Jun 23, 2009

    But it may entice children to go to the reading corner.

    (Sorry, I now see this point has been made already. :))
     
  31. Miss J. Pre-K

    Miss J. Pre-K Comrade

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2008
    Messages:
    384
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 23, 2009

    And I would ask you, respectfully, have you considered alternatives? I too, had no space except the top of the wall for one of those long alphabets. Instead, I put up a smaller alphabet in my reading/writing center, I had laminated alphabets for children to go get when they needed them, I had big flip books with the alphabet and words that started with that letter.

    I'm not so sure about this. I went into a school library that was decorated in Disney movie posters and had Disney stuffed animals scattered around. What exactly does that have to do with reading? When does the theme make sense and when does it have no connection with learning?

    I have a space to decorate however I see fit . . . it's called my house. My classroom is for the children. If I want a few posters that make me feel good, I put them around my teacher desk, but the rest of the room is for the kids. Steps off of :soapbox:
     
  32. GoldenPoppy

    GoldenPoppy Habitué

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2007
    Messages:
    775
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 23, 2009

    That is the essential question.
     
  33. skittleroo

    skittleroo Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2008
    Messages:
    1,958
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 23, 2009

    now if the Disney characters were reading and doing something educational - great!
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. ally06
Total: 389 (members: 3, guests: 366, robots: 20)
test