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Even Middle School Boys Notice!

I know there have been some vocal attacks on 'cute' in the online education community lately.  I think some of the opponents of 'cute' assume that cute and quality cannot coexist - that if teachers spend time and money creating a "cute" classroom- decorating, arranging, and organizing, then they must not spend any time or effort on creating quality planning and instruction.

Well, of course, this isn't true, and there are thousands of classrooms all over the world that prove quality instruction can take place in a beautiful space. And I truly feel that my students are better behaved and more relaxed when my classroom space is organized and attractive.  I am a firm believer that a tidy, organized space with a unified theme or color scheme has a wonderfully positive effect on classroom management and student behavior.

I have also heard some folks say that the kids don't notice anyway, they don't care, so why bother?  Well, if the kids don't care - I do:)  I have to spend most of our day in our classroom and I want it to be comfortable!

But, I decided to do a little informal survey anyway and I figured I couldn't find more apathetic test subjects than middle school boys, so I asked my two older boys (6th and 7th grade) what they thought.

They both said they appreciated it when their teachers took time to decorate their classrooms.  My 7th grader said a clean, put together classroom made him feel like the teacher wasn't going to waste any time looking for stuff and it showed that the teacher cared about her things.  The 6th grader said he felt calmer and happier in a space that was decorated nicely and wasn't too busy with lots of different colors and patterns and posters, etc.  They both said it helped them get to know their teacher better because they could usually get a feel for her style right away.

Wow.  I must say I was a bit shocked.  I thought they didn't care.
On the other hand, they have helped me clean and prepare my classroom every summer since they were young so they're not objective observers, I suppose.

And speaking of middle school...
I attended my sons' Back to School night last week and was pleasantly surprised when I walked into the 6th grade English class!  Just look at her lovely space-

The IB Learner Profile board

Waiting for fabulous student work...

Love the curtain to hide the clutter and wires:) 

The theme for the year - Change.
Isn't it beautiful?
And, yes, my son did notice and he did appreciate it:)
Not that he loves or appreciates the effort of his other teachers any less!

At any rate, I know it isn't for everyone, but I enjoy organizing and decorating my classroom space:)
I STILL don't have photos for my room tour yet, but here are a few photos I managed to snap...

Wish Garden
This is my "Wish Garden" that I put out during orientation, Back to School Night, and Parent/Teacher Conference night.  The cards are attached to pencils and stuck into a container full of rice.  The family just "picks" a flower with an item they want to donate and the child gets to keep the pencil:)

Click the pictures if you would like the template for the Wish Garden:)

Take A Break Station
This area continues to evolve and this is what I've come up with this year.



  1. I NEEDED that take a break spot last year! So cute! I agree with you about the cute factor. I have struggled with this myself. My classroom is what some consider cute because it makes me happy and when I am happy I am more productive. I hate the word "fluff". There is very little fluff going on in my cute room! Do you teach at an IB school? I do! I was excited when I saw that your son attended an IB school. I'm always looking for teachers to stalk....follow that are IB!

    1. No, I do not teach at an IB school, but my 2 older boys attend the IBMYP program at their middle school. Those are pics of my 6th grader's adorable English classroom. So cute - and I am positive there is no 'fluff' in the IB program!
      I would love to take a look at an elementary IB program! Do you like it?

  2. I love how your room looks! I remember being in middle school and high school and staring at boring walls and posters. I had so much more fun in elementary school, and I think part of it was the environmental feeling. I student taught in middle school, and the students loved the cutesy stuff-- even the boys! Kudos! I found you on the TpT forum, and I'm so happy I did!

  3. Oh goodness, I can't take credit for that lovely black and white classroom! That is my son's 6th grade English class! I was so happy when I walked in on Back to School night.
    But, my own first grade room has it's fair share of cute, too:)

  4. I absolutely LOVE your wish garden! Do you have an outline for it by chance? I would love to use it a my meet the teacher night =)

    1. Yes! Here is the link:

  5. Nikki,
    Thanks for the freebie! What font did you use on the Wish Garden file? I would like to ask for items that are not included on your version. I want the text to match up.

    Thank you in advance!