Trash or treasure?

I was flitting around the Graphics Fairy blog.  Sometimes I just pop over there for inspiration.  Karen, the Graphics Fairy, casually mentioned a store - more of an event - she'd be attending in May called "Lucketts Spring Market."  With a graphic like this, I knew I'd have to follow.  I'm a sucker for old trucks and camping gear especially those with a vintage color palette.


After checking out the spring event - that I missed - I knew a blog post was in order.  Especially, a post before school starts again.  For my year-round-schooling-educators, there is no time like the present.  We all have something to work towards in our classrooms.

Classroom decor.  Oh, you can love 'it or hate 'it.  You can alter it or status quo it.  You can change the "feel" of the classroom decor or not.  Thankfully, life is full of possibilities.

Let's imagine you and your students liked coming to your classroom because it felt warm, welcoming, and engaging.  How does that feeling happen?  Certainly, your big smiling face at the front door is helpful.  In August I will post on greeting students as they arrive to class and its effects on their behavior.  Classroom decor often times contributes to the feel of your environment.  Just ask any interior designer and they will attest to their craft - decorating.  Since you have the whole summer to pillage garage sales, Goodwill, thrift stores and your loved ones' basements, now is the time to collect your goods.

Here's a starter hit list:
  • Lamps - Aren't you tired of fluorescent lights?  Many studies from the 1970s attest to the negative effects of fluorescent lights on students' behaviors.  Warm up your classroom with a collection of cool hand-me-down lamps.
  • Throw rugs - I'm sorry, but as soon as you put down a throw rug, your hominess goes up at least 80%.  This is a must have.  Trust me.
  • Old couch - I used to have a pink and white check couch in my classroom and students loved to sit on it and read.  We had just two rules for the couch:  You had to be 21 years or older to sit on it (that way I could sit on it or parents could whenever we wanted) and/or you had to read silently to sit on it.  I swear most days, 4-5 high schoolers would be sardined on the couch reading side-by-side. Couch?  That sounds more like a loveseat.  A love-to-learn seat, that is.  Ha!
  • Coffee and/or side tables - If you go with the couch, then a coffee table or two side tables are a must.  IKEA has several inexpensive ones to choose from -  like this one for $7.99.
  • Bean bags - This will show your "old schoolness" and make your cool factor rise, for sure.  Plus, who doesn't like a smooshy bean bag?
  • Throw pillows - Find these in all sizes.  The big ones are great for doing work on the floor.  The small ones are lovely for your couch and at students' desks to make their rigid desks and chairs more homey.
Happy treasure hunting!  Email me photos at jen at upcyclededucation.com of your finds or decorated classroom.

Jen

4 comments:

  1. During a recent class exercise we discussed what words came to mind when we heard "Effective learning environment". Funny enough my words as well as a few of my peers, included comfortable, and stimulating. In my opinion the look and feel of a classroom can make an impact on your students learning and above are some terrific ideas to do just that!

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  2. Its amazing how little thinkgs like wall hangings and rugs can make for a more inviting enviroment. I observe students during group time on the class rug, and notice that students look forward to this time of direct instruction from the teacher. It is a time when they are able to participate in cooperative learning ans give their input. The rocking chair and rug have become a comfort zone to students for their group discussions and story time.

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  3. Dunn and Dunn learning style model lists sound, light, temperature, and seating as environmental elements that can affect learning. I’m a big believer that the classroom atmosphere plays a huge factor in the motivation of the students.

    I can’t wait to decorate my own classroom! I’ve already started listing different ideas I can use.

    Patricia L.

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