8.26.2014

Decorating Your Secondary Classroom {18 Things to Consider}

 
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  My friends over at Created for Learning put together an excellent blog post with tips from several secondary teachers on decorating classrooms. You'll want to head over there to get the entire blog post, but I'll share a few here as a tease. ;)


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It's weird how sometimes our decorations end up disconnected with how old our students really are. I teach 7th and 8th graders. Some of them come from fine, constant, healthy family and personal lives.

They are the 3rd and 4th sibling to come through our school and succeed. They play Flappy Bird, use Snapchat and Ask.fm, watch videos on Vine and play medieval phone app games before school.

However, while still maintaining privacy, I can share that just last year, I had students bullying each other, students sharing racy photos on social media to improve modeling portfolios, students cutting themselves, students attempting suicide, even students creating fake online profiles to bully themselves to gain attention.

This is the middle school world we teach in. These are the students we are decorating our rooms for. These just might not be clip-art kids. And high school is another giant leap forward (or backward), but it's a giant leap somewhere. What would our classrooms look like if we designed them to engage these minds and attentions?





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As a teacher, you can use words in clever ways to ìdecorateî your classroom, not only to fill up walls but also to make your students wise. One idea is to title specific areas of your wall in a
http://createdforlearning.blogspot.com/2014/08/18-things-to-consider-when-decorating.htmltargeted/meaningful way.  Carol used an idiom over her writing wall to teach idioms and open the door to the fundamentals of figurative language. In Johnís class, he uses ìCognitive Content Dictionariesî to be placed in a prominent locations which teaches key academic vocabulary as well as ìTier 2î vocabulary to aid in understanding text for EL learners.  Inspirational or humorous posters and quotes can also be used to fill smaller spaces and give students ideas to ponder on their own.

 http://createdforlearning.blogspot.com/2014/08/18-things-to-consider-when-decorating.html
http://createdforlearning.blogspot.com/2014/08/18-things-to-consider-when-decorating.html




http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Tracee-Orman
I have several items that I have in my room from my first year of teaching in 1999. Why do I keep them around? Mostly because they are either funny, sentimental, timeless, or related to a favorite book. Here are some examples: 

• (Funny) Close to Home (by John McPherson) comic: It has hung on my classroom door for many
years. I like to show my students that no matter how strict I may seem, I'm nothing compared to Mrs. Mutner. 
Classroom Pictures from www.traceeorman.com

• (Sentimental) Pictures of former students: Students love looking at pictures of past students. Plus, it helps me remember the names of my former students.
Classroom Pictures from www.traceeorman.com 

• (Timeless) This quote is timeless (and a great lesson on perspective), funny, and sentimental: my brother was an assistant coach for the St. Francis baseball team at the time (April, 1996). Robert Morris threw in the towel after the fourth inning, but the fact that they persevered until then also shows
character.
Quote on Perspective from www.traceeorman.com 

• (Favorite Book): My To Kill a Mockingbird framed pictures. TKaM is still my favorite book and I love being able to share my love for it with my students. My framed pictures and book review from 1960 are probably my most prized classroom items.
TKaM prints from www.traceeorman.com





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As a 14 year teaching veteran, I have tried countless ways to create bulletin boards for cheap. Cost does become a factor, and something a teacher should think of- we spend enough money on our classes without adding the extra cost of bulletin board decorations.  

I have found that some of my most engaging and most talked about boards were not the ones with flawless borders and themed decorations. Actually, it was just the contrary- Black butcher paper background, with the titles and words written in chalk with borders that were hand-drawn, got quite the reaction from my students. These example pictures will help explain what I mean:

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Created-By-Mrhughes
 http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Created-By-Mrhughes
Also, don't forget to use items in your room. For example, when teaching about a topic, I hang mentor texts from my bulletin board so the kids can "see" examples of published work that supports the topic. 

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Created-By-Mrhughes  
Remember to keep it simple, engaging, and useful!



http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Created-For-Learning
All praise and adoration to my teachers growing up, but I can't remember a single one that decorated their room for us guys. And I probably lean toward decorating for the boys...I tend to teach novels that will engage boys. So we deserve it to both genders to take a good long hard look at our rooms and decorations and ask if the boys and girls will be entertained and informed, tantalized and taught.

"But what if I think it's good? What do I do then?"

  Ask our students. They will be honest. Sometimes too much so. But we'll always find out what they think. If we need to, we can do a quick anonymous poll or ballot or something. But we can find out what each gender thinks, if we ask.


CLICK HERE to read ALL the tips for secondary teachers!


Again, thank you Created for Learning for putting together this great blog post with fabulous tips from our fellow secondary teachers! The contributors are listed below:

Blog Contributors Cliff's Notes

Laura Randazzo
>>> Blog ||| TeachersPayTeachers Store
The Teacher Team
>>> Blog ||| TeachersPayTeachers Store
Tracee Orman
>>> Blog ||| TeachersPayTeachers Store 

Created by Mr. Hughes >>> Blog ||| TeachersPayTeachers Store
Julie Faulkner
>>> Blog ||| TeachersPayTeachers Store
Students of History
>>> Blog ||| TeachersPayTeachers Store 

Created for Learning >>> Blog ||| TeachersPayTeachers Store

8.02.2014

Back to School Sale: Secondary Teachers Blast From the Past Yearbook

Back to School Sale: Secondary Teachers Yearbook Blast from the Past!


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  Oh, remember the days of middle and high school? How much simpler life was back then? Join your fellow secondary teachers for a blast-from-the-past celebration as TeachersPayTeachers kicks of its Back-to-School sale early this year!

  Life can be simpler for you using resources made by teachers.  The TeachersPayTeachers back-to-school sale is August 4th and 5th (yes, this coming week!). Use the code BTS14 at checkout to get the best savings.

  Stock up on tons of back-to-school/beginning of the year resourcesclassroom decor, Common Core-aligned lessons, activitieslesson planning, and so much more.

Special thanks to Danielle Knight who compiled all the secondary teacher's pictures and made the *totally awesome* photo above. Comment below with your graduation year (if you dare!) and attach a link to your favorite photo from school (optional...but it's so fun to see all the old pics!).

Here's mine (well, probably not my favorite, but it's my senior picture):

Mrs. Orman's Classroom: Back to School Yearbook!

It took me hours to crimp, curl, and tease that hair. I hope big hair is never back in style... 

You'll find everything you need for a successful school year in these secondary stores:

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I teach high school English in Illinois; enjoy family time, baseball, collecting PEZ dispensers, and talking about anything related to my favorite books. They include The Hunger Games trilogy, To Kill a Mockingbird, the Chaos Walking trilogy, and anything written by Amy Tan.

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