Forget Pinterest, stop the competition for the most spent on classroom decor (which you end up dumping in the trash at the end of the year – think save the environment along with saving your students). There is no proven research, or hard and fast fact, that a brightly, perfectly, charts abound, children’s names, stick-ups, and so on, help a child to learn. I believe, those types of walls are distracting, lack a purpose (really, how many times do you refer to the crap on your walls), the the sheer volume of color, confetti, and apples abound cause major reasons to be distracted.
You may be fuming, or you may agree… stay with me and finish reading my post.
How do you feel when you look at the featured picture for this blog?
What is it that you really want for your students?
Why do you decorate your walls in the first place?
Do you have a purpose for your walls other than a theme or district mandated objectives, rules, and/or requirements?
Do your students truly refer to the stuff on your walls?
Do you refer to what is on your walls?
I challenge you to try it, for one year. Muster up something like the above featured picture which is based on Montessori. See how excluding the pressure, and the task to do something to your walls that involves paper, staples, and tape, shopping, overspending (when you could be purchasing books, curriculum items, or professional development).
Check out these teachers who give attention to NOT decorating their walls.
Here is a video about some research from Carnegie Mellon University in the United States, that explores what happens when walls are bare versus when walls are brightly decorated.
Here is one more insightful piece on a less decorated classroom, where focusing on the work is integral to the day, rather than the splash all around.
I am not professing you convert to Montessori or even strip your walls bare. What I am suggesting is to eliminate (a great self-help life strategy) an unnecessary stress to your classroom prep. Your focus is better put to use on curriculum design. Lesson implementation, collaboration with colleagues, and gaining better understanding of your students with fewer distractions.
Seek out feedback on your lesson delivery rather than your perfectly plumed walls.
Is it possible for you to try something new this year?
Why not get a colleague or two to join you in the new pursuit, make a game or educational challenge out of it, where you and your colleague(s) meet periodically to discuss through out the year, if you’ve noticed an impact? Make some bets with each other for some movie tickets or a dinner out – that you will see changes in student behavior, work focus, your work focus, your more peaceful feeling in your room, students more peaceful feeling in your room…
I challenge you to this task and report back!
Oh, and one last thought, teach your parents about the value of what you’re doing for their children by cutting out the fuss in exchange for more focus.
Make your own fire!