I am teaching 8th grade math this year and I have no clue how to decorate the class room! I have read a lot of the posts on PT and some people say less is better but others are saying to decorate with a lot of stuff. I feel like if there is too much then its too elementary, esp since these kids are about to enter high school. HELPP!
If anyone has any pictures of their 8th grade or middle school classrooms that would really help! Thanks
I can't get the link to copy, but there's a post in PT archive about a restaurant/diner look to an 8th grade math room. Highlights include:
today's special- list on board of today's agenda
appetizer- warm up activity
blue plate special- main activity for the day
place orders here- classwork and homework turn in
bulletin board with food/related borders or checkered design- on board, put math posters for whatever you're teaching with a "May we recommend?" "Chef's special", etc. over or next to each poster
continue the checkered/food visual in other spots in the room- if there are certain things you must post- grading scale, pledge of allegiance, etc., group them all together on a bulletin board/wall space and put a checkered/food border
One idea of mine:
"Serving up Success" board/display: Buy cheapo placemats from the dollar store and attach a foam/paper plate, and plastic cutlery to them with hot glue so it looks like a table that's been set. On each plate write in Sharpie a study skill, test taking skill, or math hint/formula.
I don't think 8th graders are looking for a decorated classroom, just one that is organized and welcoming. You could do just one great bulletin board and they'll be happy. You don't necessarily have to do a theme for the whole year like so many elementary teachers do, but you could do one seasonal display every couple months and it'll be great!
I recommend getting (or making) a large integer number line. I refer to mine often throughout the year, and the kids use it when they need a refresher on integer operations. This site has ones you can print out: http://www.sparklebox2.co.uk/numeracy/numbers/
Whether to go with a theme or not is up to your personal motivation. If something grabs you and you have the time/money to invest, that's great, but don't feel it is necessary to go all out. There are two camps on the more/less deco in middle school rooms- go with what fits your teaching style. My room isn't real busy and I have gotten positive feedback from parents and students about the more mature feel of the room. Sorry, I don't have any pictures.
Bookgeek59 hit it on the head: organized and welcoming.
Thank you so much! Very helpful advice. It makes me feel a lot better that you both said I don't have to go all out. I am not creative and in no means an elementary teacher. I want to keep my room simple with maybe a math bulletin board that can stay up year round and I like the seasonal idea, Logicat, thank you!
I don't know how long you've been teaching, but I know I had very little money to spend on decorating my classroom in the begininng. One thing I did was collect comics. Anytime I read a comic strip I especially liked ( Calvin and Hobbes were still in the paper then ) I saved it --- both the color Sunday ones and the B &W ones. Then I "framed" them with strips of colored construction paper or posterboard and laminated. I still -- 15 years later -- like to put several ( with magnetic tape on the back ) up the edges of my whiteboard or on the filing cabinet, or I use sticky tack to put them on the walls around my classroom. My middle-schoolers love to read them, and I switch them out periodically.
You can also often find really cheap ( a dollar or two ) calendars for all different themes at Michael's --- probably other places too. Then I remove the pictures I like and laminate them for decorations.
When you combine things that are a reflection of you and your tastes, as well as content-related posters and other decorations, I think it makes a nice balance, and a more pleasant place for you to spend your whole day.
There are some cute posters at the Dollar Tree that are inspirational, 2 in a pack...one of the 8th grade teachers I used to work with had an entire wall with them.
If you are going to do any instructional posters, make sure you refer to them often..otherwise, the kids won't use them or look at them. I had an "informational wall" when I was teaching a different style math class than i'm doing now.
I have a number line, and HIGHLY recommend it...mine goes from -20 to 100. I wish I could find one that goes further on the negative end..but haven't found that yet.
I agree with bookgeek. As long as your classroom is organized and neat, thats all the kids are really looking for. I just have a lot of bulletin boards up on my walls (not themed): school news, posted grades, homework, student work, etc. then, just fill up the other empty space with posters and such, and you're good to go!
The first day of school I don't have much in my room. I always put my students work on the wall. We work in groups and then we will enlarge our work on the large banner paper (what the cheerleaders use) and then I will hang them up. I use my students work as the posters for my walls.
Example ~ 8th graders will do dilations; I use 3 to 5 inch pictures and then we use a scale factor to enlarge each cartoon or charactor. You can enlarge them to be life size or smaller.
Example ~ Graphs; we make a lot of graphs and we put them on our walls.
Example ~ Order of Operations; each group will make a poster using PEMDAS.
Example ~ Irrational square roots; we made a large number line that is on the top on my walls that surrounds the whole room. We make each perfect square out of centimeter paper and then tape them to the number line. Then each non perfect square and be visual to see which two perfect square it will be in between. The square root of 39 is between 6 and 7 so the students can estimate the answer to be 6. something. This is also a TAKS question.
Somewhere here on PT was a post about interactive bulletin boards.
I you email me, I would be happy to share some pictures of my math classroom. I teach 7th and 8th grade. I keep it simple with a color scheme of black and purple. I have an Algebra bulletin board set and a few fraction posters under my integer number line. I have a bit of a space theme, so I also have a space ship bulletin board. PM me for me email address. :-)
I like to have students work hanging up...or chart paper with formulas hanging up that the students have created. I also have a math word wall to go along with whatever unit we are doing. When the kids get bored I like them to look around the room and still be learning something I also try to make my room happy and fun with lots of colors and fun bulletin boards.