Most of your display space will (and should) be taken up by things that are related to what you are teaching and any behavior management/reading incentive programs you may be using. The younger students will need a 1-100 chart for reference (for number formation, counting practice, skip-counting, etc.). The alphabet in manuscript and cursive is a definite must. There should be a poster with your rules listed on it- either pre-made and hanging up before school, or posted after the first day if you want the kids to help you create the rules (this is effective with the older kids- they have a vested interest in it.)
For beginning the year, it's best to create a board with all of your student's names on it. Nothing too cutesy so your older kids won't barf! Maybe a fall theme- leaves falling from a tree, and one leaf with each child's name... there's tons of possiblities. I also like to have some sort of nature poster- plants and/or animals, to bring in the outdoors- it's a calming influence and kids LOVE animals.
Also keep in mind that you can and should display charts and poems that you create during lessons. If you teach a lesson using a nursery rhyme for the kindergarteners, display it at their eye level for a few days and encourage them to re-read it in any spare time they have. If you teach the older kids about rules for capitalization, write them on chart paper and hang up the chart for the kids to refer to while they are writing. So, when you decorate initally, leave a few empty spaces on the walls where you can fill in these items as you go.
Overall, aim to start the year with all of your bulletin boards displaying something, but keep in mind that you'll want to display lesson info. and student work very shortly. I usually start with at least one "generic" bulletin board displaying pre-printed "school" theme stuff that I can take down at the end of the first week and replace with work the kids have done. Don't make things too busy or you'll distract the kids.
I am an aid in Middle school and decorated our room. Some teachers come up with a theme and go with it. One year a teacher did jungle theme and had monkey hanging then last year she did race cars theme she had a hood hung on the wall and made magnetic car game fior math it was awsome. This year she is going with pirates I think. It all depends on if you are teaching all classes. I would set up a reading corner. Make tickets that the students can win for good work that gives them 5 or 10 minutes of free reading time in that space.
With elementary it is different because they don't have the attention span and will be distracted if the room is to busy. Go with simple bullitin boards and look to see what other teachers are doing. I know at the district I work in they are all willing to help and make the first year a good one. Make sure you have control of your class from day 1 don't be to nice but don't be really mean either. Make sure you set rules and that they understand what they are and the consiquences of bad behavior if you let them run the class then you will never gain control. We had a teacher last year that did that she ended up leaving at Christmas break. I am majoring in education more than likely it will be special ed because it is all I have worked and I am looking forward to when I can decorate my room the way I want it. LOL
Some good things to include are:
*The alphabet in cursive and manuscript mounted where everyone can see them. It is also good to have an alphabet strip on the kid's desks.
*A BIG times tables chart. Kids will use it.
Also, do lots of hands on things and give structured breaks. Also, offer a couple of quiet place to work for kids who are very distractible.
I'm not a resource teacher, but I was in one when I was in school. Here's my suggestions:
*Be wary of moving things, they can be distracting for students with attention problems.
*A times table chart is a GREAT idea, as the other person mentioned. So is an alphabet.
*Always display some projects or posters kids make. You have no idea how great it is to come in a room and see "Wow, I made that! I did a good job!" rather than being the student the other teachers won't hang stuff up from.
*If it's breakable, keep it out of reach. Tempers can flare and it's far less dangerous to have papers ripped than glass breaking.
*Consider also keeping scissors out of reach. I've known several kids that would grab the scissors while the teacher wasn't looking and give classmates a new hairdo.
Hope this helps, and good luck with everything!
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