I am a teacher who just moved into a dark portable classroom. Any tips on how to make it light and homey?

Question:My students have special needs and many of them have ADD...I have to be extra careful about colors and distractors...

I was in a portable for 2 years with a SpEd class. Leave your walls blank...except the daily schedule, classroom rules/rewards/conequences, and lunch choices. Oh, and emergency exit routes and fire drill info.

First thing is to reduce echo/noise. Put carpet/rugs where ever you can. Put up curtains - not for function, but for softness (mine were cheapo WalMart curtains attached with magnetic rods). Make/purchase/beg for large floor pillows or bean bag chairs. Tennis balls on all of the desk and chair legs.

I also brought in two floor lamps to have more natural lighting than the irritating fluorescent lights provide.

I had a "living room" area (reading corner) that had 2 rocking chairs, a fake plant, some kids sized arm chairs and an area rug. It was very cozy, calming, and inviting.

When on sale at Michaels or at WalMart, purchase natural baskets to store books and so on in them.

I also kept background music on for many parts of the day (think Zen, Celtic flutes, soft classical, etc.)

I also always had an air freshener plugged in (scented oil Glade Plug In) with a calming lavender scent (check for allergies/irritations first)

Everyone loved the room...sometimes when people in the building wanted to hide, the came into my room and sat in one of the comfy chairs in the back just to unwind. When I transfered schools this year, I had a ton of people begging to leave the curtains, rugs, and so on for their rooms.

Don't worry...you love being in the portables! You have easy access outside and no one will bother you - especially when it is cold or rainy.
Provide each one of them with their own personal lamp. Thats homey.
Use a mirror to reflect light from the window.
get simple colored lamps, like beige, and white
Floor lamps are not to expensive maybe a cheap rug.
Put up some displays? posters? get some lights?
can you keep the door open ? that's a tough one
coleman camping lanterns
Paint white, or very light color. Lighter colors reflect more light, and make it appear lighter. You may have to add a few Florescent lights to achieve the well lit room you are wishing for.
As for homey, do what you do at home, add a flower here, a painting there. whatever is appealing to you and the students. You might even try and get them involved in the decorating thus making it more their room.
Get some of those click lights and stick them up on the ceiling. They are very inexpensive (3 for $8) and there are a few different kinds. They are self adhesive and very lightweight.

Just keep a broomstick to reach up and click them on and off. See just one example here:

Forget the personal lamps idea!!
I would hazard a guess that that answerer has never been a sp ed teacher!

1. Try to put a rug near the door because there may be rain and/or snow tracked in depending on where you live.

2. Don't know what age you are working with, but what if you had a train theme and said the portable is your caboose?
(or for older students, the Club Car --- no, better scratch that one)

3. For dark & dingy look: mirrors can brighten a room, and also make it appear larger, maybe hung slightly above eye level to minimize the distracting factor??
Go for a sea theme

the upper half of the wall - blue paper
get the kids to colour in fish
and octopi
and other creatures
then laminate them
and get them to stick them on
on the first day back at school to settle them back in

or if u want it as a suprise do it yourself

have a different theme for each term
this the way the kids can join in and get them settled on there first day back

or give them a suprise each time they come back from a weeks break or something

have a disney theme -

the girls are disney princess:
snow white

and the boys can be anything from:

buzz lightyear

and other characters

do point systems and give the students desks with themes:
a picture of each character and that table have to do games
and get points

in a corner have a mat with cusions/pillows on so that when u read storrys and watch programmes with them they can be comfy and relax.

have a book section
again with the cusions and pillows e.t.c
have a bookcase. and on the top shelf have a book of the week
the theme of the week is based on the book
and on that part of the wall
they can have bright colour background
with reviews they have done
and picutres they have drawn and coloured

1 theme is to have 1 wall with no shelves e.t.c just a plane wall
that is chalk paint
paint it like a beach blue sky with yellow for sand
stick on a light house
some crabs crawling along the beach
and draw a picture of the class.or get each class member to draw a picutre of them selves. blow it up cut it out and stick it on the wall (they will be thrilled that they are on a wall) then
if theyve finished there work early
or have been good
let them
with the chalk
draw by there own picture.

because of the ADD
dnt have loads of tables clotted around a room like a usual classroom
try and avoid the tables
this means they can have space to to run around and have fun.

remeber dont do the whole room one theme.
leave one wall (like i said b4) blank with the special theme of that term on it.

gd luck

i want to be a teacher when i finish school
and i have loads of ideas like that for my classroom when i do become one

i think that kids learn better in a happier colourfull playfull enviroment then being stuck at a desk staring at 4 blank walls watching a clock tick
I don't know what your budget is but maybe you can paint the ceilings to look like a blue sky and clouds. Maybe paint a picket fence on the walls and and an outdoor scene.
It sounds like a fantastic time to raid the local Habitat for Humanity store or Goodwill for some lamps and maybe put up picture of landscape or two on a wall.

A small lamp on a desk and a pair of headphones may be just what one child needs to stay on task while another needs the extra stimulation to get the job done. Coach the students into identifying what works best for their study needs to encourage independence.
I use lamps, rugs, and bean bags! Lamps are homey and not anymore dangerous than the rest of the things kids can get their hands on!! Rugs, again homey! Bean bags are fun! My students love them and it is something I use for a "treat" when they've done well. Go for cheap to! The kids don't care. Maybe even a fish. The kids loved that to. Oh, and curtains make a world of differance! Hope these ideas help! :)

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