Thursday, June 28, 2012

Ideas for Decorating Your Classroom

If you think about it, you and your students will be spending about 1,260 hours together within the walls of your classroom.  Make it unique and interesting.  

1.  You could hang some framed quality art or prints.  

Other suggestions;  the Prodigal Son, the Loading of the Ark, the Broad and the Narrow Way, St. Basil's Cathedral.

2.  Put as many educational posters as you can in frames.  It looks a lot nicer that way.

3.  Get the biggest map you can, or that the school board will let you.   It is not only beautiful to look at, but it is educational and will be used frequently during every school  year.  We drew one on the wall one year using an overhead projector, paints stashed in the closet, and wall paper border.

and another year we found a wall mural for around $69.....

4.   Hang things from the ceilings.  Kites work really well, especially if they are birds, fish, butterflies or dragon flies.  World Market has a great selection of these at reasonable prices.  This butterfly was found at a garage sale, but Ross Dress for Less also has them in various colors for around $4. 

We also like to have a solar system hanging somewhere.  Here we used a giant Chinese lantern for the sun, and different sized balls for the planets.  We have painted a square on the ceiling black before, but this year a welder at our church made this.....

5.  In all your spare time this summer :-), you could make Lego sculptures
 and then use them in your classrooms when school starts.  We made these by getting Legos at garage sales or on sale for $9.99 for the huge bins of just blocks, then looking at  pictures in encyclopedias.

6.  Add a few "pets".  We have fish, geckos, lizards, tarantulas and mice.   Make sure you read up and know how to take care of these creatures.  "A prudent man regards the life of his beast."

7.  Start planning your schedule-- art ideas,  and any extra events you plan to hold during the year.   Here are a few art ideas.

                Have students submit a large, bold, pretty simple drawing.  After you approve it they will spend a few quiet, happy hours tearing and pasting little pieces of construction paper onto it.

Near the end of the year when the weather is nice and they are all well-behaved, you can have the older boys or a father cut cows (or other grazing types of animals) out of plywood.  (Use the overhead trick again.)  We got leftover paint from painters and then glazed the cows with a clear coat to protect them from the rain when we put them out in the ball field by the school using T-posts cut in half.  The younger children got calves (like the Canadian flag one in the background) cut from half a sheet of plywood.  Of course, they had to turn in their designs on paper before they began. 

Origami!!!  Several simple designs can be created easily from directions in library books or found on the internet.  It is better to learn how to do just one, then do it with different sizes and colors of paper.  One year a few students made swans that could fit on the end of a pencil eraser.

Students first found sea life pictures in library books or in encyclopedias.  It took one art period to find the design and transfer it to a piece of paper to be approved by the teacher.  The next one-two art periods were spent transferring the designs to large pieces of cardboard we'd been saving all year, much to the dismay of the sewing ladies.  We got most of them from a hardware/appliance store which saved them up for us.  After painting them we hung them from the ceilings with fishing line and had them there for the end of the year program/open house.

This won't work at every school, but this school was an old chicken house that had been converted into a beautiful, very functional school.  The "gym" was the lower level and was covered with OSB and painted white.  The students decided to do a panorama of the valley they lived in.  Each student got a certain section of the wall.  One wall was the downtown, the second wall was the long road that went through the valley, the third wall was the school itself, and the fourth wall, the vegetation in the valley, was shared by the 1st-5th graders.  The four walls were also different seasons; fall, winter, spring and summer.  (Yes, she added a harness.)

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