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Have I made a mistake?
Old 08-06-2006, 06:52 AM
 
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Have I made a mistake? I am going to teach 2nd grade for the first time. I just finished decorating all of the walls in my room. All I have left to do is put things on shelves and arrange my desks and I'll be done. When I step back to look at my room, I notice that very little educational stuff is on the walls. I have an alphabet, number chart, clock with the minutes labeled, calendar, and pictures of money. Everything else (which is just ladybug curtains, golden rule poster, ladybugs, the word READ in large letters made with ivy garland, and little children praying pictures) has no "educational" quality to it. I don't really want to hang anything else as I have a VERY, VERY small classroom and I think it will look too busy. I am going to hang work in the hall where space is plentiful! I'm just worried that my room looks cutesy and not very educational. Any thoughts? Is it okay?


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Don't Worry
Old 08-06-2006, 06:55 AM
 
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Your room does not determine the education you will instill in the children. You have some great things up and I am sure the room looks great. Also, you will not be able to leave everything exactly as it is now for the year! You will slowly add work of the class and add things that relate to what you are learning.

Your room is ready for the first day of school and that is all that matters!
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Old 08-06-2006, 07:08 AM
 
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I had a wall full of educational stuff and the rest of around my room was posters and inspirational stuff. I don't think they really read any of it.
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posters
Old 08-06-2006, 07:13 AM
 
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I've discovered that I get more out of my educational posters if I introduce them and slowly put them up throughout the year.

My first year I put up lots of educational posters. On occasion I would refer to them and kids would say, "I didn't notice that was there." So now I start with my room looking a bit sparse, but decorated and as we begin to learn about something I will start the morning by sharing a poster and ask the kids to look at it and tell me one thing they can learn from the poster. They are so smart...they always come up with more than I had in mind.

I also always start off the year by having kids make a quick project that shares something about them and putting it up in the classroom. I usually hang them from the ceiling. I think having something personalized in the room helps to get them comfortable. I use wire hangers and yarn to hang things from those metal things that hold up the ceiling tile.

I think you did good getting your room ready. You can always add and delete as the year goes on.
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Nice Room!
Old 08-06-2006, 09:05 AM
 
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I think that you have just what you need to start the new year. As you mentioned, you don't want your room to be too busy. As far as being educational, your display of the alphabet, number chart, clock with the minutes labeled, calendar, and pictures of money is certainly educational. This is perfect for your grade level.

I agree with imalith in introducing any additional educational posters, such as writing process, throughout the year. Many kids become overwhelmed by the visuals, especially if they have no meaning for their learning. When they understand the purpose of a poster, they'll know exactly where to look when they need support.

Happy new school year!
LindaR


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Old 08-06-2006, 10:33 AM
 
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I think your room sounds nice! I have jungle vines hanging in my classroom reading corner and they're not exactly educational - like your ladybugs - but I wanted to create a homey atmosphere, as opposed to a "hospital" type room.

You have plenty of educational items up - you can always add to them during the year if you find something you like or need. Like the others said, if there is too much, it probably won't get read anyway.

Do you not to have to put up a word wall? We have to have one in our school - for all grades. It's even on the form on our evaluation! You might want to check to make sure. Otherwise, I think your room sounds inviting!
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Old 08-06-2006, 11:43 AM
 
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Thanks for all your comments! I feel much better. I know that the other teachers don't have a word wall. Actually, I wanted to put one up but couldn't figure out how to make it work. I went up to the school on Saturday and peeked into the other classrooms. The kinder teachers have the neatest word walls. The have the letter at the top and then a string coming down from that letter. They clip the words onto the string. Too cute! If I figure out how I can do this, then I will definitely do it! My SIL came with me Saturday and commented that she was glad she didn't go to this school as a child - she thought it was old, dirty, and not attractive for children. I was hoping to make my room inviting - and I think it is! It just seems to be lacking as far as educational stuff goes. I feel better, however, and I'm going to leave it just the way it is! Thanks again!
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Old 08-06-2006, 11:57 AM
 
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I agree. I think that you should decorate your room the way you want so that you and your students are comfortable and it's a place you enjoy being. Your room does not dictate the quality of education that your students will receive.
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Sounds good to me!
Old 08-06-2006, 12:00 PM
 
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In our classrooms, we make a lot of educational charts with the children. None of that would obviously be up, because you haven't done any lessons with the kids yet. You sound like you have the important things in your room, and if you feel you need anything else, they can go up as you need them. I also agree that a lot of the "commercial" stuff is never read or referred to.
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word walls...put one up!!!
Old 08-06-2006, 06:02 PM
 
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I agree that you should be able to decorate your room however you want, BUT...I think a word wall is essential, especially in second grade. You should have it up on day one (except with no words). Adding the names of your children could be the first words you add, and then as you introduce important, high-frequency words, you add those. But you also have to use the word wall everyday. I know teachers who put them up and then never refer to them again, so of course their students don't use them. There are so many activities you can do with word walls--just do a search on this site and you'll find tons.

I'm also going to go against most people here and say that you should have other educational aides up as well. It doesn't mean you have to start the year out with them, but as you study a new skill, develop a chart with the children and put it up. If the children help you develop them, they will be more likely to use them. Take down charts you're done with, that way your walls won't be too busy.

The key is modeling how to use these teaching aides...if you don't, they will just be decorations. Too more things I think are important are content-specific word banks (math, social studies, science) and a word family (spelling pattern) wall.

And one more thing...although I think it's great that you have so much space to put student work up in the hall, I think it's vital that you put it in the room, too. It's important for children to feel a sense of ownership--afterall, it's really their room.

It sounds like you have your room set up great for the beginning of the year--experts say it should be kind of a "blank slate." But don't be afraid to change it/add to it as the year progresses!

Good luck and have a great year!
Kathryn


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