8/14/2014

For my Decorating Challenged Friends

So, since you're my Teacher Bloggie Friends (yes, I call you this to my IRL friends), I'm going to admit something to you.  I have been teaching eleven years and more years than not I have had an
UGLY Classroom
You heard me right, "UGLY."  The first few years I taught Middle School.  Middle School Teachers don't decorate very elaborately.  In fact, if they put up a few cute or pretty bulletin boards and other teachers come around and ooohhh and aaahhh all over them.

Fast forward a few years when I was teaching Elementary School.  Pinterest wasn't around back then. Someone thought they were saving me from my ugly classroom & suggested I choose a theme.
Oh, a theme.  Great idea!!  
So I did what any good teacher would do.  I went to my local teacher store and I found a theme I liked (Hollywood Movies) and I bought all of the posters, decorations, border and even a matching calendar set.  I decorated in black, red, yellow and splashes of silver.
HATED it.  
So, how did I become #decorating unchallenged?  Pinterest of course!!   These tips are things I have learned throughout the years through trial and error.  I am by no means claim to be a professional decorator. Remember, these tips are for beginners who want to create a cohesive learning environment.  If you're passed that point, these tips might seem mundane.    
Start with a plan.  This is going to look different for everyone.  I print everything out & put it together in a folder.  It might seem overwhelming to the #decorating challenged but you can do it in a weekend.  
My plan:
-make a list of my "must haves" (ie: word walls, objectives board, centers, etc...)
-sketch out the layout of my classroom
-use pinterest to find inspiration
-print example bulletin boards
-sketch out the bulletin boards that I want & label them with colors
Decide on your anchor color - black, brown, charcoal, white, navy (furniture might dictate this).  Choose 2 -3 accent colors.  These might be dependent upon the butcher paper at your school.  If you don't want to use butcher paper, fabric is a great choice as well.  

I lean toward lime/turquoise/pink...but when I moved into my new classroom last year I found an UGLY orange wall.  So, my colors changed a bit.  I went with lime/aqua/tangerine.  
I'm specifically talking about bulletin boards now (they might already be in your room or you might make them).  With my current position, I am in and out of a lot of classrooms in a variety of grade levels.  The biggest mistake I see when I walk into rooms is random colored bulletin boards with wild borders - all mismatched and crazy looking.  If you want to do seasonal or decorative borders, I would highly suggest covering your bulletin boards in your anchor color. 

For the best results, go with 2 colors of butcher paper (the anchor color & 1 accent) and 1 or 2 colors of border.  An example of this was when I did brown & sky blue butcher paper with apple green/white polka-dot and pink borderette.  It was so calming!  It wasn't too girly. I made some little birdies out of scrapbook paper and used them to decorate.  It was my favorite room so far.  
Buying things from a teacher store isn't horrible.  But, I remember one day a mentor teacher telling me, " I can't explain it but your room looks cold and her (a teacher friend) room looks warm and inviting."  YES, I do hate it when administration compare teachers.  It creates a competitive culture not a supportive culture.    

What makes it warm and inviting?  A few hand-made things.  Start with 3 hand-made items.  


I hear you.  You're not a Crafty Teacher, then I would suggest buying a few things to make your room feel homey --  lamps and pillows.  
Paint is NOT my friend.  My mom does my spray painting.  Maybe your grandma gave you a vintage stool in her garage, spray paint it to match your room and voila re-purposed and homey all in one!!
This Little Piggy wants to know, how has Pinterest helped you grow as a teacher?            

2 comments :

Here's an idea by Lucy S. said...

I only started using Pinterest because of TpT, and now I'm not in a classroom anymore.
If I had known about Pinterest before, I'm sure I would have put a lot of the great ideas I see into use.
Great post!

- Lucy

Antonia Duncan said...

Pinterest helped me win 25 bucks this year! My college door was inspired by ones I saw on there. Admittedly, I am a #decoratingchallengedteacher that's why I stick with orange and black and tiger paws. You can't go wrong with the school colors and mascot. This has made me think about things I can do next year. it will be tone for a change by then I'm sure.