Decorating and Organizing Ideas for the Secondary Classroom.
Welcome to my secondary Math classroom! It is functional and organized. And, it. is. cute! Yes, it is decorated. I have seen so much advice on the internet for secondary teachers that students HATE cute. Funny, because my students rave about finally coming into a room at the HS that is inviting and comfortable. They go out of their way to compliment the décor. I think the key is functionality must trump cutesy. There is room for color-coded items and a theme, but there needs to be a bigger picture. It needs to serve the student learning in some way. Decorating just to decorate can become clutter quickly. However, having said that, teachers are the ones who spend endless hours a day in there and it needs to be aesthetically pleasing to the teacher.
Here is the “before.”
So, here are a few decorating and organizing ideas from my secondary classroom. I have highlighted a few parts of the room, in case you are looking for inspiration.
I have a general nautical theme in my room. It is not overwhelming- just a few things here and there. There is a big anchor hanging on the wall, a life preserver on the bulletin board, nautical framed quotes (that you can find here, if interested), and the word wall is called “Anchor Words.” Subtle, but it gives me something to tie the decor to.
I am so in love with my word wall! I have an extra white board at the back of my room. One half serves as a command center and one half is for current geometry unit terms. I print each unit’s terms onto the same colored paper, laminate, and stick magnets to the back. As we learn a new term, I stick it to the board. They stay up throughout the unit and after we have moved on to the next unit (which has terms printed on a different color), I move the old ones to the ceiling. The metal strips that hold our ceiling tiles are magnetic. It is a perfect place. They are still in sight in case they need to be referred to, but are not cluttering up valuable space for current content. Click here to buy the magnet tape I use.
If you would like to read more about how I introduce vocabulary in geometry, click here for a helpful post on vocab!
I use interactive notebooks and LOVE them! However, the supply battle is a tricky one. What I have found that works best is for each table to have their own drawer set. Each set has a few pairs of scissors, a tape dispenser, highlighters, a handheld sharpener, and any tools we are currently using in that unit, such as a ruler, compass, or protractor. This year, I painted the Sterilite drawer frames so that now each table has a name. They are the “Purple Team,” for example, and it makes it easy to call on groups to share out or take turns doing things.
Fighting absenteeism is almost as bad as fighting the pencil battle (my all-time most loathed classroom management battle). With interactive notebooks and block schedule, it is really hard to catch a student up when they have missed. I created this command center from ideas I saw on Pinterest that families were using to curb confusion. The students check the calendar for what happened when they were gone and pick up any missed materials from the appropriate file folder in the crate. Then, they borrow an INB from me or a friend and copy the material. If they need a lesson, I will find them content from YouTube or arrange for the student to come early or stay late for a tutorial.
It also serves as a pencil station, where they can sharpen, borrow, and return pencils.
This bulletin board was designed by me, but the content came straight from my former Geometry students. My students filled out an end-of-year activity and one of the parts was to offer advice to my future students. I gathered their quotes and made them into this. The students really seem to be interested in seeing what the older students have to say about how to succeed in my class. It’s really fun for my former students to come in and see their quote with their name. They are so proud to contribute!
So there you have it! Thanks for checking it out! Here are a few more pictures from around the room!
To see more ideas for decorating and organizing your secondary classroom, check out this new blog post with some updated ideas!