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Ms. Mandy Ms. Mandy is offline
 
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Opinion please: How important is...
Old 06-15-2009, 08:56 PM
 
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Classroom decorating, like using themes, especially in the upper grades? I am not the most creative or artsy person, so i am wondering how much time and effort i should make on this. Was thinking of survivor theme with beach type decor, only because it seems like there is a vast supply of items out there for this....I just dont know where to begin. I was once told by a teacher who literally had one poster on walls who said the kids just dont even notice after a while.

Has anyone ever had a more "bland" room one year, and then more fully decorated one another year, and noticed a difference in student engagement or comfort??


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Not so important
Old 06-15-2009, 09:05 PM
 
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in the upper grades. I like to think that if I hang some learning posters in front of their faces it's bound to sink in eventually. They don't make a big deal about anything hanging up....until you take it down. That drives them nuts for some reason. I sure don't go to any trouble to make anything...but I have figured out that if I use bulletin board paper as a background for my posters that my room looks better and I don't feel like I have to do as much to fill up the blank spaces.
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just what I was wondering
Old 06-15-2009, 09:47 PM
 
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I am teaching 6th next year in an Elementary setting. I have decided to go with a survivor/jungle type theme. I am not going overboard, though.

I will get some appropriate fabric for my BB and I may put up a paper tree or two. I'm going to covers some boxes, trays, etc with animal prints. I will cover the front of my desk with either paper or a grass skirt as it is an old desk and looks bad. I will have some weekly challenges and have my students sit in table groups (tribes). We will have some "competitions" throughout the year but I don't think I will have the immunity part.

Some of my kids love making papercrafts and are very good with crafts so I will have them make some 3D models of animals using the canon website. http://cp.c-ij.com/en/contents/2025/list_15_2.html
That link shows architecture from around the world, but if you go to the homepage you can find models for all types of animals. THis would make a fun project for the older students to work on. I will give each student a tray to keep their materials in and they will be able to work on them over a few days. We can display them when we are done.

Our school theme is "Wild about Learning" so that will be a good tie in. My back to school BB will probably have something to do with the theme.
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Kids may not notice
Old 06-16-2009, 04:07 AM
 
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specifics (i.e. if everything is tied to a theme), but I believe that at any age, they appreciate and are attracted to a comfortable, clean, attractive room.

I don't do a theme, but I have found that the ideas of the Sisters or Debbie Diller make good sense for any age. I've got fifth and sixth graders and my room takes its inspiration from Spaces and Places in terms of color and coordinating. I received so many compliments last year from kids -- they found it a soothing and comfortable place to be. So I definitely think you should pay some attention to your decor, but it doesn't have to be theme-oriented.

Besides, decorating is fun . You've got to spend 8 hours in the room -- do it for YOU if for no other reason.
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decorating
Old 06-16-2009, 06:16 AM
 
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Not important. It is just fun.

Kids do notice if you decorate, but they don't always comment on it. I do the jungle theme, too. It helps me to focus on a color scheme which makes the room more organized looking. I have green lizard/tropical foliage material cut into rectangles, framed with borders. I use these to display student work. If I find something "jungle" on sale, I buy it and save it or display it somewhere.

I find that classrooms tell lots about a teacher. Be yourself and decorate however you want.


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Old 06-16-2009, 07:05 AM
 
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I teach 7th. My room is colorful, with handmade curtains, plants, and posters, but does not have a theme. My students find it cheery and homey, but not overly done. In contrast, some upper grade teachers leave their rooms bare and white. I've had students come back to my classroom and tell me they missed my room because the new room was like a prison.
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Do decorate!
Old 06-16-2009, 12:10 PM
 
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I totally agree about 6th & 7th graders not saying much, but their appreciation does come out in little ways, such as when I start taking things down for summer and the effect is so dramatic. I don't think you need a theme.
If you can get fadeless paper (instead of just butcher paper), the colors are so much brighter and will last you many years. I put up a long swath of paper with a colorful border (the kind you buy in teacher supply stores--something appropriate for middle school, like ethnic or glittery) on bare walls to create a 'board' for a few zippy posters and displays of student work. Coordinate colors--right now I have green, orange, and yellow. Bookcases go a long way to create a 'homey' (as another poster said) look. I concur about a basket(s) of plants (fake of course). Punch out letters matching your color scheme (also at supply stores--maybe 3" if you can only afford one size) for titles of boards or areas (like Homework or Announcements) and voila! you're done without a lot of effort. It will be worth it!
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Not your job
Old 06-16-2009, 03:33 PM
 
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A wise teacher once advised me to avoid decorating the room with anything other than the kids' work. "It's not your job to decorate walls and bulletin boards." (He was trying to help me reduce my workload.)I try to maintain a cozy atmosphere in my classroom with a lot of plants, a few pieces of furniture-- book shelves, side tables, a futon, area rug (I have a large room). You'd be surprised what adding a table cloth and a lamp can do to the classroom ambience. Just go for personal touches and kids' work. The atmosphere you establish in your classroom will come from the relationships you form with your students--not bulletin boards. That said, I do have kids tell me that they like being in our room. It's clean, tidy, and cozy with a lot of kids' work on display.
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6th grade middle school
Old 06-16-2009, 04:11 PM
 
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I don't use a theme either. I just use fadeless paper (like PP) - magenta, green, orange, yellow, purple, and lots of colorful bright patterned color schemed trim. I do 2 grades bb, a 6 Traits bb, parts of speech bb, ss maps bb, birthdays of homeroom kids bb, a calendar bb, and a school happenings bb. Also, there's a bb behind my desk I use for pics of fam, schedules, sayings I like, and pictures the kids give me after picture day. Having 9 bbs in my room means lots of color I also laminate different colors of tag board and tape to shelves and on top of file cabinet to cheer things up. I agree too, that having a lamp in the room adds a warm touch.
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Decorate!
Old 06-16-2009, 05:06 PM
 
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Middle schoolers love the decorations, too. I'm constantly on the look out for things to add to my survivor theme. Have fun!


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Classroom decorating
Old 06-18-2009, 12:50 PM
 
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I love to decorate my room---it allows me be creative. I wouldn't necessarily go with a theme. My school does a theme to start the year and I try to at least do my door to match that but the rest I just make colorful and creative. I figure--I spend just as much time in that classroom as I do in my own home so I might as well make it look nice and homey. I think it makes a big difference with how the students act as well.
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Torn
Old 06-18-2009, 03:38 PM
 
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I have considered doing a decorative theme, but I really don't like a busy looking environment as I am truly ADD and it would just set my mind racing. I have some students that appreciate not having lots of things on the wall. Just having my jobs and attendance charts hung together on the same wall made me crazy. I also don't do them because I have so little time and money to devote to decorations and pulling it all together. Plus, my school classrooms just look and feels stark, even in the lower grades. There is not a lot of support for themed rooms, many of the parents and students have the attitude that highly decorated rooms are "babyish" and not appropriate for upper grades. I don't agree, but I am new there and not inclined to rock the boat.

I have done intellectual/social awareness themes based on inspiring quotations or sayings. In that vein I have done Carpe Diem!, All for One, and One for All, I Have a Dream, and this year I'm considering doing The Power of One.
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Decorate the Room
Old 06-19-2009, 11:10 AM
 
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As much time as I spend in my classroom, I decorate for me as much as the students. I want my classroom to look pulled together, tidy, and help me with organization keeping in mind I am in a classroom with a limited budget. I don't tend to follow themes, but if I put in the time and energy into a theme, it would have to last the year as there seems to be far more work than time.
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They do notice....
Old 06-19-2009, 12:07 PM
 
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I've had both decorated and bland. My kids were really excited at the beginning of the year with my 60's themed room [6th grade]. When the hurricanes hit this past August, it totally ruined my room, it was quarantined, stripped of EVERYTHING, and we were put out for at least 2 months for repairs. When we were finally able to go back in, they were just as sad as I was...it was soooo bland, blah, and boring! They commented quite a few times so they all pitched in and we added some of our own flair to it. They much preferred it being decorated than not.

I'm certainly doing a theme again this year Charlie Brown and the Gang. The 5th graders at the end of this past year asked if I was going to do something special for them...and I will. They really look to see if you do that little something extra. And besides, I love decorating!
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reading hut
Old 06-21-2009, 12:13 PM
 
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This past year with my 5th graders I had a 'reading hut' in the beginning & a 'reading igloo' in the winter! My students LOVED it! I was one of the only upper teachers that decorated & my kids truly appreciated it! They took care of the room because they were proud of it I'm moving to 6th grade this year & I'm def. planning on decorating some!
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Old 06-21-2009, 04:50 PM
 
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I don't plan on having a theme this year, but I will decorate. I tend to not like a riot of colors, so will probably stick with a basic color palate and go from there. I like a room to look relatively homey and comfortable, but also organized.
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Old 06-23-2009, 06:07 PM
 
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What are the ideas of the Sisters and Debbie Diller? I'd like to know what you specifically did in terms of color and coordinating. I'm moving to a new room next year and I'd love to have it be more attractive.
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It's important...
Old 07-09-2009, 12:07 PM
 
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I think it is important to have a look that pulls the room together, even if it isn't a theme. I know that last year, I did little to my room (budget, restrictions on using the walls, etc.) and did not feel the energy in my room that I would like to have. Right now I am trying to figure out how and where to start to pull my room together, but know from having a "bland" room that I don't want to do that again!
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