#1167. Classroom Decor

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Posted Tue Jul 13 23:49:51 PDT 1999 by T.Netters (Summer 1999) compiled by Mona (monah@vrml.k12.la.us).
Materials Required: Listed in individual posts.
Activity Time: n/a
Concepts Taught: Beautifying your classroom!

What follows is the transcript of posts on CLASSROOM DECOR. These posts were compiled from T.Netter’s postings during the month of July 1999 after the following request:

Posted by Laura/2/GA on 7/09/99
I am trying to think of ways to make my classroom less of a
classroom, if that makes sense. I want it to look more
inviting and less sterile. I want to add things like lamps,
plants, etc. Does anyone have anything they put in their
classroom to make it look nice? I don't want to go
overboard and have a lot of clutter. I simply need some
ideas to make my room a bit nicer! Thanks, Laura

And T.netters answered Laura with these wonderful suggestions!

Posted by pc on 7/09/99
I also like my classroom to have a "homey" look. I have brought in plants and have a small lamp, too. In addition, I have many pillows throughout the room. Rather than putting crayons, glue, books and other supplies in plastic storage containers, I store everything I can in baskets of all shapes and sizes. It helps things feel a bit more cozy.

Posted by Brandy/ OK on 7/09/99
I think fabric is a good way to make your room more homey. A friend made a fabric skirt for her desk and it really makes things look pretty. Matching fabric for curtains is pretty too.

Posted by Michael on 7/9/99
I find that being colour coordinated makes a big difference. I have all red, yellow and blue bins throughout the classroom and have labeled EVERYTHING (all labels have been neatly covered and attached to bins with see-through packing tape).
I also have small bins and containers at each center colour coordinated i.e. all small blue baskets, trays, containers etc holding writing utensils, paper, markers, scissors etc.
The bulletin boards are also covered with matching paper. All signs at centres have the same colour as baskets, bins etc.
I also have a really nice couch in my book center and several teddy bears including a huge tiger named HOBBS.
I also paint the windows according to seasons, themes etc and have the children decorate them. Last time we painted huge blades of grass and made pop-up, 3-D insects, snakes, flowers etc.
I also always, always have the door completely covered on both sides with children's work.
But the best display is the Authors' Gallery at the back of the room. Every year when pictures arrive from Picture day I photocopy them before I send them home. I take the large ones (8.5 x 11") and mount them on the bulletin board and have students decorate a paper frame and their name. Monthly stories are stapled on each month and make a fantastic display. Next year I am making coloured photocopies. The smaller ones can be used for ALL ABOUT THE AUTHOR pages in students' published books.

Posted by Sherry on 7/09/99
I also paint the windows according to seasons, themes etc and have the children decorate them. Last time we painted huge blades of grass and made pop-up, 3-D insects, snakes, flowers etc.

Posted by permax on 7/09/99
I have a small green "banker's" lamp on my desk. It casts a
soft glow. Many times I turn off the overhead lights and the light from the windows and my desk lamp creates a nice
atmosphere. I also have a small cd player near my desk. When it is "study time", we often play classical music...softly, of course. I also have an 5x8 ft carpet in a corner for lounging and reading. One of our teachers has a bright red bathtub filled with pillows for the kids to "soak up a good book!"
Plants are always a nice addition. You could get a fake fig
tree and string it with small white Christmas lights.
Make it a place that makes YOU feel cozy and so will your
students.

Posted by Kristie/4/Indy, on 7/09/99
My room is decorated much like you described. Parents,
kids, and other teachers have said that it feels very much
like "home." I put plants in various places around the room
(fake, of course, because I have a "black thumb!"), and I
have a 6' fake tree that really adds a neat touch. The tree
was very inexpensive, maybe $25, so it isn't the greatest...
but no one gets that close, and the kids don't care! It's
fun to hang decorations on it for diff. holidays, too.
I also have a small lamp on the corner of my desk. It's
nice when the kids are watching a video - the room is dark,
but I can still work! (That lamp is just a small, plain
one.) I also put a small lamp across the room by the
lockers. We are the Bulldogs, so I stenciled BULLDOGS across the lampshade and then used a stamp to imprint diff. colored puppy paws all over the shade. (The kids loved it!) My third small lamp is in my reading corner, Bulldog Beach. I found a neat lamp that has a palm tree for a base, then I
glued some starfish and shells on it for an added touch.
I have one large window, about 6' long and 10' high. I
bought some gold material (school colors are gold/black),
made a valance, then used the paw print stamp again to stamp colored puppy prints on the material. They were doing
construction in the hallways, so I didn't hang curtains in my doorway window, but I wanted to! I have seen that before, and it looks nice. You can just put a small rod across the opening at the top, and then tie them back.
I also have a large table by my desk, and I kept it
covered with a tablecloth. For the beginning and end of the
year, I used a bright red, yellow, white, and blue checked
tablecloth. It was fun during the holidays because I kept
switching the design to go w/the season! (I bought
inexpensive ones from Wal-Mart or Target).
I am a neat freak, so my room is not cluttered at all.
I did use very bright, lively colors to decorate. That,
along w/the lamps, curtains, and plants, really made it feel cozy. I figure that I am at school more than I am at home, so I might as well be comfy!(LOL!) Hope this helps! Kristie :)

Posted by Amelia on 7/09/99
Great ideas!!! I'm getting excited about the school year now!!
My kids used to call my room "the bomb". I haven't gone all out in a few years, but some years I have an old comfy couch, victorian cutouts with elaborate home made frames,puzzles, wicker baskets, costume jewelry, puzzle boxes, lamps, crates with decorative tins and unusual anything I could find.
Some years I also take my little fridge, microwave and corner table...it's nice to make popcorn or other snacks as a reward or on a quiet day.
Basically anything goes! I shop around at garage sales,
discounts stores or take hand me downs..if they don't fit
at home (well, even if they do) I like to find a place for stuff in my room to make it cozy...
I just wish I had more floor space!!!!

Posted by Kristi-1:) on 7/09/99
We were encouraged a few years back to make our rooms home-y. We all got nice rugs for our Class Library (from PTO - yeah!)and told we could buy pillows and bring in old chairs, couches....
Teachers brought in lamps and made curtains, brought in
microwaves and little fridges and used tablecloths..the whole nine yards. Well, after all the time and expense our new administration wants it all gone - no lamps, cushions, couches, curtains.....even no pets! Hate to be a bummer but check with administration before you spend your money.
By the way - I refused to take down my curtains. My principal loves them and she said we can keep it until the super. confronts us.
Here is one way to do them.. I bought cheap fabric and glued velcro on the back and velcroed it to the wall. Easy and looks good.it's way up high so no one sees the imperfections. OH, another thing I did was buy REAL cheap but cute apple border (only $1 a roll!) and stuck it to the walls....just used that blue sticky tac. Looks great!

Posted by Tulip on 7/09/99
All of your rooms sound great!
In my room we have a reading center in which they love to go to! It is just a a piece of carpet with 2 bean bags / a bright yellow stool/ and when were studying recycling we got an old tire and spray painted it yellow - stuck some pillows in it and made a neat little chair.
I have a hook up by the window where we hang wind socks each month. I also just bought a stop light for my class room - not sure how I am going to use it though.


Posted by joyce on 7/09/99
I have made little nooks in my room. I teach Kindergarten. I have a small rug in the library with "Husband" pillows( the ones with arms and backs) Do you know what I mean? and matching colored crates for the books. Now's a great time to shop with the kids going back to college!
I also have a small rug in the game center with a road map on it.I also buy a couple of yards of "School" fabric and use it as backing for my bulletin boards rather than paper.

Posted by ma/3/pa on 7/09/99
At Wal-Mart the other night, I found these large rubber footprints (like bathmats) and they had lots of colors. They were $10 and I bought two in a bright yellow print for my classroom as well as some hot yellow straw placemats for 40 cents each. They will add some color and pizzaz. I think I'll use the footprints for a cozy little reading corner or something. I'll figure it out when I go in next week.

Posted by Deb Ps/IA on 7/09/99
I have cheap curtains put up on my windows with tension rods. They stay up all year and I never fuss with them again.I have blue window boxes that hold non-killable plants (philedenrons SP) and aloe plants. They look neat trailing down the wall.For permanent bulletin boards I have use the school themed fabrics from Wal-Mart. They add color and fun to all the b-boards.I have a cheap tree that is a dead branch (leaves removed) that is spray painted gold and planted in a planter with gravel. I think my janitors knocked it down last summer and they put in a bit of cement and now it never moves! I have white Christmas
lights hanging on it. We decorate it with seasonal silk
flowers I bought at the dollar store (I have these ugly green flowers for St. Patty's Day!). We decorate it with small seasonal cut outs or wooden decorations.
I have several bean bag chairs I picked up at the Salvation Army/Goodwill store for the reading center.Lamps and table cloths (cheap colored ones) really save on clean-up at the writing and art centers!Fish tank! The kids love watching the fish (guppies) and snails.Room divided by carpet and noncarpet areas has worked well for us to.I use those seasonal windsocks to hang from the windows inside the classroom. I have found them at dollar stores, current, and on garage sales. They brighten up the room.
I also use those banner flags to hang in a place that used to be where a window was. I use a tension rod to put up seasonal banners (1 a month). These banners might also be fun hung from the ceiling! Hope these give you a few ideas.

Posted by Anne, on 7/09/99
I have a lava lamp in my room. I have had it about 20 years. The kids love to watch it. In the beginning of the year they ask a lot of questions about how it works. But after they get used to it they pretty much ignore it unless they have a little free time and then I see their eyes wandering up and down.I also keep a lot of little things out on my file cabinet top (like beanie babies, music boxes, paperweights, etc.) While waiting for the late bus they love to play with this stuff. I also keep colored chalk for interesting drawings. Sometimes the after school waiters draw a colorful picture which I leave up for
the next day. Sometimes the picture relates to the subject too.I also use a lot of small rugs and doormats. They are colorful, wash well, and can be easily moved around the room for sitting on to work cooperatively or for free read time. I have even had kids move them under their desk for the class period.I teach grade 6 and have only had one small item item stolen in 27 years. Makes me feel proud of them! Anne

Posted by Kymberly Livingston on 7/09/99
When I transferred schools last year my new room had been used as a storage room. As you can imagine it was very dark and dingy. I painted the bulletin boards a bright color and
sponge painted a border. The border was a variety of colors
so that it works year-round. One board is hunter green and
the other is royal blue. A smaller board is yellow with blue stars for super star work. My classroom library has a fish tank, a colorful rag rug, floor pillows and bean bags are scattered around the room. I also have a rocking chair that has been painted with handprints of former students for me to sit in when I read to the children. They also love to sit in this chair to read. Plants are hanging from a variety of places in the room. We also have a kite hanging from the ceiling. The kids seem to really like the room because it is so inviting. I often have students from other classrooms hanging out in mine, often in the beanbags. :) I hope these are the type of ideas that you are looking for.

Posted by Sharyl on 7/09/99
I can't wait to get busy in my new room. I teach in a small school district (k-12 all in one building with a total of 445 kids). This next year I will have the old home ec room for my new elementary at-risk classroom. I will have two microwaves, two stoves, and a refrigerator plus three sinks and a dishwasher and tons of kitchen-type cabinets. I've bought a couple of yards of school print fabric from Wal Mart for curtains for the window on the door. The regular windows have blue mini-blinds. I have only two bulletin boards and I purchased bright yellow/gold fabric for one and bright deep blue for the other. Those are our school colors. I have bright multi-colored trim for both bulletin boards.I won't have traditional chairs and desks, but will be using tables instead. Should be very fun!!!
I love reading all the ideas everyone lists on the chatboard. Thanks for sharing

Posted by Djinn/K/CA on 7/10/99
I have open cupboards that are stuffed with my "stuff". they are about 6 ft high. So I made curtains with "school material" and hung on tension rods. The bulletin boards are covered with material that compliments the curtains. Maroon, green, blue etc. I have made large wall decorations out of brown wrapping paper and acrylic paints. They are stuffed with newspaper and pinned to the wall. For example above my calendar I have a great big smiling sun
peeking out over rain clouds. On the reading wall I have a 6 ft. long book worm reading a book. The tops of the cabinets have seasonal items - flowers, stuffed bears or rabbits. I used to have great stuffed pillows, but my principal is is lice crazy and wouldn't let me use them.

To Djinn (?) Bookworm
Posted by Kristie/4/Indy, on 7/10/99
> On the reading wall I have a 6 ft. long book worm reading a book
Djinn ~ Did you buy or make the bookworm? If you did make it, what did you use? I have a huge reading corner with a beach theme . . .
last year I called it Bulldog Beach because we were the Bulldogs. I have just moved schools, and that won't work anymore, so I decided to go with Bookworm Beach. I wanted to put a huge cute Bookworm on the wall about the corner. I picture it with a book in its hand, maybe I'll even put a beach towel under it for a 3-D effect! Thanks! Your room sounds great, by the way!

Re: To Kristie - Bookworm
Posted by Djinn on 7/10/99
Kristie - I made the bookworm out of brown wrapping paper - the kind you get on a roll in the mail section at Walmart or an office supply house.I drew the bookworm on the paper bag then painted it with acrylic paint. I covered it with a matte lacquer and then cut it out. Then I placed it on another piece of paper and glued all around with Tacky
glue leaving a few openings for stuffing. After the glue dried I cut the back using the front as a guideline. Then you can stuff with cotton batting or newspapers. Use Tacky glue to finish closing the seams - hold them together with clothes pins. You can color and lacquer the back also - I didn't and it still looks great.This is how I made our sun and clouds also. These look wonderful when finished.

Posted by Mona on 7/10/99
I follow a "star" theme in my classroom each year. The walls are taupe and I have taupe curtains with one inch blue and red stars covering them.I have seven bulletin boards and they all follow the same theme but all look very different. The AR board has large 18 inch stars to post
points. I have a discipline bulletin board that says "Were You a Star Today?" We have "All Star" Math, an "Out of this World Art Gallery", "Star Search" for good work and a word wall with words on star cutouts.Parents are asked to make chair bags for the student's desk and they usually make them following a star theme (kind of competitive).
For some reason at holidays I get "star" gifts and those are on display on a shelf in the back of the room, window ledges and my desk.
Making the chair bags:
The chair bags are size 12x18 inches with two ties. They can be tied to the side of a desk, back of a desk or back of a chair. Most students leave them tied to the side of their desk and store things that need to go home. Some store their art supplies. Some collect junk. For whatever reason the student uses it and it helps with storage and gives them personal place.Last year a parent made one from folding a bath towel. One fold back and one fold forward and it fit nicely on the back of the desk (or chair). We have desk (total group) and move to center table(afternoon) so the bags are often stationary.My teaching partner follows a western theme and she made her chair bags by cutting the legs off of blue jeans and sewing across the bottom (cute)! The ties were made with the scraps. That way they have pockets for pencils, change, erasers, ect.


Posted by Luann/5th/OK on 7/10/99
I'm moving to the largest classroom in the building this year. Lucky me! I'll have my own bathroom and a sink and water fountain in the room. I can hardly wait! I have been to school working some and have put wall paper on all of my bulletin boards (stapled on). I used a large green
and white gingham check on every board -- and there are 8 of them! I like the way it unifies the room and the color can be used as a good background for every season. I am in the process of making gingham checked curtains that I will put up on a tension rod. I also am in the process of decoupaging on an old, big table. First I "white washed" the table top. Then I painted the metal legs dark green. I cut out the continents from a large world map and placed them appropriately. I will decoupage the pieces on and then give it a coat of verathane. Then I will put a brown glaze over the top to antique it and another coat of verathane. I think I will like it when it is finished. I work part time
in a bookstore and last year my boss gave me a magazine display rack that is six feet long and five feet high. It holds all of the books for my students leisure reading plus the sets of novels I use. I painted the outside of it off-white and a friend painted ivy vines all over it.
The students love it. I also plan to drape silk ivy around the window and a few other places. I decided that I wanted to be some place pleasant everyday, since I spend more time at school than I do at home.
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Should other classroom decor ideas be posted I’ll post again under the title “Classroom Decor II”.