7.19.2008

Borders and letters and posters oh my!

Dearest fellow teachers, how will I ever find the money to purchase enough borders and letters and posters to make my room inviting and cheery? I'm feeling kind of down. I was alloted $200 for classroom supplies which, while sounding generous to some, did not stretch far enough to cover the extras I was hoping to order.

So, advice? Where did you go, year one, for those little extras that make your room unique? Did you bite the bullet and purchase these things full price? Is there some kind of special teacher discount emporium I'm missing out on?

I've got a few things. I am resourceful, remember? Having worked at schools for the past 6 years, I've seen my fair share of useful items on their way to the trash. I have some adorably groovy posters of turtles--one says "You're Neat!" and the other says "Behold the turtle who makes progress only when he sticks his neck out." I also have a National Poetry Month poster from my subscription to Voices from the Middle. Unfortunately, I let the borders pass me by.

I realize this is in many ways just a manifestation of my apprehensions at being a first year teacher--and not a particularly serious manifestation at that. I'm trying hard to remember that no amount of worrying will decrease the amount of craziness and busyness that will ensue very soon. . .

8 comments:

SSCaldwell said...

I bit the bullet and paid full price, out of pocket, for much too much of my cute room. I didn't even used some of the boarders or posters last year. There are probably a few teachers in your school in the same situation. Ask them for what they have. I would LOVE to share with anyone who wanted, they probably will be too. Also, you can laminate things, cut them into strips, and then use that as boarders. Dried leaves work great in the fall. Or you could just cut strips of butcher paper (in my school it's free to teachers.) If you have friends who teach those packets of boarders could easily be split two or even three ways. If I was starting a new classroom again I'd take what I could for free, buy what's necessary, and spend the rest of my money on books.

Mary Lee said...

Don't BUY your classroom, make it with your students! Start out bare, and work together to make it a place that is yours together, not yours the teacher's.

teach people not books said...

you're absolutely right, mary. i do want it to be a space that is ours, not mine. i suppose my apprehensions lie in not wanting them to feel unwelcome, but i hear what you are saying.

i had intended to create a space in which they could hang anything that represented them--a drawing, a poem, a picture of them skateboarding or playing soccer--whatever their interests are. i like the idea of creating a whole classroom that reflects a student-centered vision.

thanks :]

thereadingzone said...

I am entering my third year and teaching and have learned that all that stuff you buy is a waste. Don't buy posters, etc. They fade, the kids rarely look at them, and they aren't important. Use student work, charts you make in class, and other useful items to decorate. Google Beth Newingham's website for some phenomenal ideas!

As for borders, I do buy those all year long when I see them on sale. Of course, it's another story entirely as to whether I can find them again months later....

Good luck!

SSCaldwell said...

I've been thinking about this a little more. I think I might have students design posters of their favorite books during the first few days. I think I like this more than any getting-to-know-you activities I've done. I'll get to hear who read over the summer, what they read, and if I have books they like in our library.

teach people not books said...

reading zone--thanks for the advice. wow! newingham's classroom is so cool i wouldn't have minded having a college course (or two) in there. i really enjoy how her class codifies the books they read by theme, and that this information is visually available.

ss-i love the idea of community building through creating a space that is our own. i'm going to let this simmer for a while and see what other ideas i can come up with in this vein.

alotalot said...

The borders are important to me too, and once you put them up, they do last. One packet covers a lot. As for filling in the board, I agree with the others: have the students make stuff. Display their writing (I find kids really like that! Make sure you put marks on the back where they are hidden, and let kids choose what they want to display) art, even math problem solving sessions.

karinz said...

Our board doesn't want commercial posters anymore...only student-created! So don't be in a rush to spend. Check your local bookstore for posters no longer used or collect old calendars. There are always wallpaper borders on sale. Beth Newingham's site is great. Laminate hardcover bookcovers. Check the public library for books they're discarding, get the word out to retiring teachers, too!