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The Wred Feather

The Student News Site of Wredling Middle School

The Wred Feather

The Wred Feather

TEACHER FEATURE!

Teachers Create Unique Classrooms Evoking Comfort & Curiosity
TEACHER+FEATURE%21

Imagine yourself speed-walking down the hallway.  You are tired and slightly sweaty, regretting wearing that fleece sweatshirt to school.  You just had PE all the way on the south side of the building and have only a few moments to get to your next class, up the stairs, all the way on the north side.  Things are falling out of your backpack because you did not have time to zip it, you might have forgotten your water bottle in the locker room, and you are short-statured and being jostled about among students like a marble in this pinball machine called a hallway!  And now, you are beginning to wonder why you didn’t just decide to take a “mental health day” today…. AAAARGGGHH!!!  BUT THEN, you step into the classroom, and it’s like you have been transported to another dimension.  You rest your weary body in a chair among the soft lighting and calming, café-like decor of Mr. Ashline’s classroom, and suddenly your frustrated “AAAARGGGHH!” becomes a relieved sigh of “aaaahhhhhh…”  

Some classrooms at Wredling are intentionally designed to be aesthetically pleasing and provide a soothing environment for learning. 

 

Mr. Ashline’s display cabinets reflect his personality.

Mr. Ashline, a Social Studies teacher, seems to have mastered the art of creating a soothing environment for learning through his use of gentle light fixtures and unique accent furniture.  Mr. Ashline described his inspiration for decorating his room, explaining, “I started working for a house painter/decorator the summer after I finished 7th grade, and spent pretty much every summer and many winter breaks working for him through all of my schooling and even after I became a teacher. So interior design quickly became a hobby for me, and I spent a lot of time and effort making my home cozy and beautiful. I figured since I spend so much time here in my classroom, I would make it a cozy and beautiful space for my students and me.”

Mr. Ashline’s wooden map that he crafted himself.

Mr. Ashline had no overall plan for his room at first. His room decorations stemmed from needing a place to store some of his trinkets. When he moved some of his house lamps that he hadn’t been using to his classroom, he found that he preferred them to the overhead lights. So he continued adding lights and other things to spruce up his room. The main objects he purchased for his room were pendant lights, along with plants. Lots of plants. Most of the other things in his room are things that Mr. Ashline had collected over time, including childhood things and garage sale finds. Two staples of his room, his crate podium and wooden map, he had made himself.  Mr. Ashline still has some things he would like to add to his classroom.  He confessed, “In my first room at Wredling, I used chalkboard paint to cover up the damage on the back wall and had some fun art there. I would like to do that again. I’m always thinking about how to bring more of my woodwork into the classroom too.” When he originally changed rooms this year, he had briefly considered not redoing his classroom setup because it would be so overwhelming. However, he did it anyway and ended up being very satisfied with the finished product.

 

Just one example of rose-hued organization with a soothing style, by Mrs. Rath.

Other classrooms are similarly decorated to evoke a sense of serenity to facilitate learning.  Mrs. Rath, an ELA teacher, designed her room around the central color theme of boho pink. When she was first assigned this classroom, Mrs. Rath tried to work with the canvas (room) she was given, using the pink shelves and tiles to guide her room aesthetic. She created original ELA posters and purchased a variety of other posters to display around her classroom and inspire students. She also brought in lots of items from home that fit her room design, such as art, organizational supplies, and a plant, which Mrs. Rath excitedly included to “bring some life and energy into the room.”  When asked about her overall room design purpose, Mrs. Rath stated, “I just hope it brings the students a sense of calm so they can focus on the learning when in my space.”  In this way, Mrs. Rath’s room is similar to her own personality, inspiring a sense of comfort.

 

And finally, some classrooms are arranged to promote curiosity and engagement in the subject matter.  Ms. Malhan, a science teacher, has a hodgepodge of artifacts, from hanging posters of various cells and biological processes to motorized vehicles to her life-size skeleton, “Albert Spinestein.”  She explains, “My décor is probably all over the place, and some things might seem random, but there is method in my madness because every aspect relates back to science… like the weather mobiles hanging over the 5-foot plant, that look just look lovely, but also provide a reference display for photosynthesis.  Ms. Malhan also shared that she moves her desks around so much, that it annoys her students, just like it annoys her husband at home when she moves furniture around every couple of months.  “Part of it is that I just get bored easily,” she explains, “but mostly there is also always a logical explanation for the change.”  She went on to explain that when she moves around classroom furniture, it is to facilitate learning and to prevent some undesirable behaviors.  For example, desk arrangement might reflect whether a lesson unit involves a lot of group work.  Sometimes the classroom is organized to inhibit certain behaviors.  “I prefer an open-space classroom concept, but when I was teaching pre-school, I learned that classrooms should have enclosed ‘stations’ to discourage tiny tots from running amuck.  When I started teaching middle school earlier this year, I quickly found out that a large space in the middle of the room looks exactly like a dance floor to tweens, so after seeing kids use the space to floss, or ‘do the worm,’ I realized it was time to put a desk there.”  Mrs. Malhan stated that she loves adding new “curiosities” to her room, like the mad scientist sculpture and the anatomical figurines, but that online purchases can be challenging, like when she ordered a $100 giant, inflatable DNA molecule for the classroom from Alibaba.com, but instead received a giant, inflatable black dragon.  “It’s still in a box on top of the cabinet,” she laments, “I ran out of patience emailing them to get my refund… hopefully someone will discover dragon fossils soon, and I’ll be able to justify hanging it in my science class.”  Overall, Mrs. Malhan wanted this room to be a comfortable environment for learning, while simultaneously stimulating wonder.

One colorful corner of Ms.Malhan’s Science classroom.

Ultimately, all three classrooms reflect the personalities of the teachers and their hopes for their students.  Like many classrooms at Wredling, Mr. Ashline’s original woodwork-and-ambient-lighting escape, Mrs. Rath’s soothing pink-and-posters calm atmosphere, and Ms. Malhan’s science-surplus-store-style environment, these three classrooms are designed with a common purpose:  to create a personalized workspace for the teacher, while providing a unique learning experience for students that prioritizes curiosity and comfort.

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View Comments (15)
About the Contributor
Abeile Edwards, Staff Writer
Abeile is a 7th-grader and a Staff Writer for the Wred Feather. In her free time, she enjoys drawing, reading, solving riddles, and doing science experiments.

Comments (15)

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  • D

    Dan O'LearyDec 13, 2023 at 4:39 pm

    Abeile your writing is amazing! So descriptive and colorful. I love it! Keep up the great work.

    Reply
  • M

    Mrs. SislowNov 28, 2023 at 3:05 pm

    Your use of descriptive language is so impressive. You’ve inspired me to check out these classrooms! Great work!

    Reply
  • J

    Jaxon SmithNov 16, 2023 at 7:58 pm

    Really great article, Abeile. Your novelty in writing such detailed and descriptive articles cultivates me to want to see the fascinating classrooms mentioned. You are an astounding writer. Keep up your fabulous work!

    Reply
  • A

    Annalise KeenonNov 15, 2023 at 1:18 pm

    This article is great, Abeile!

    Reply
  • M

    Mrs. LykinsNov 13, 2023 at 2:07 pm

    Great article!

    Reply
  • Q

    Quinn HadleyNov 10, 2023 at 9:26 pm

    Great article!!

    Reply
  • V

    Vi MalhanNov 10, 2023 at 3:08 pm

    I feel I was unfairly depicted in a negative light. I would like to speak to your editor, publisher, and lawyer… in that order. Or I will accept a defamation settlement of two Oreos.

    Reply
    • J

      Jaxon SmithNov 16, 2023 at 7:56 pm

      I’ll be your lawyer!

      Reply
  • M

    Mr. LoverskyNov 10, 2023 at 3:04 pm

    Wonderful article! Well written!

    Reply
  • M

    Mrs. RathNov 10, 2023 at 2:24 pm

    What a great article, Abeile! Thank you so much for including my room.

    Reply
  • H

    Haileigh PrillNov 10, 2023 at 8:50 am

    This is awesome!

    Reply
  • H

    Hannah SitNov 9, 2023 at 10:18 am

    Girlie this is so good!!!!!! You are such an awesome writer!!!

    Reply
  • M

    Madelyn FreyNov 9, 2023 at 9:34 am

    This is really good Abeile!

    Reply
    • A

      Abeile EdwardsNov 9, 2023 at 3:48 pm

      Thank you!

      Reply
      • M

        Madelyn FreyNov 9, 2023 at 4:21 pm

        No problem.

        Reply