Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Middle School World History Classroom: Inspiration for a small and windowless classroom


My husband is one of the best teachers I know. I can verify this because I hear, “MR. BIBLE IS MY FAVORITE TEACHER !!!” every time my own students figure out we are married. I could get jealous, but mostly I just get proud. That’s why I set out to surprise him with a world history classroom that’s just a small fraction of what he deserves.

However,  this surprise classroom makeover didn't go as planned due to family issues and a flash flood that brought him home early from a conference. So while it wasn’t the sweet surprise I had envisioned, we ended up having fun creating something beautiful together. 


(You can see a video tour of his room on my Instagram story highlights @buildingbooklove)

Here's a tour of my husband's world history classroom: 

Please note that his classroom is very small and doesn't have any windows. You can still create a welcoming space even if you don't have much to work with!




Watercolor map tapestry ($13), inflatable globes hung with low-gauge craft wire ($18), clocks with time zones of cities in his world history curriculum (the cheapest clocks I found were $4 from Dollar General), and repurposed old maps (free). ***Note*** He hasn't put the batteries in the clocks yet because he's waiting until school starts. (<affiliate links)




This is a focal wall made out of two cheap sets of sheets from Big Lots (I think they were $15 each) and a $3 roll of fabric I picked up from Goodwill. All of the patterns on the fabric are different, but they create a unified design because they are all navy, gray, and white. We were going for a Persian design here to emphasize some of the world cultures his students will be learning about.  


I'm sorry that I didn't take more pictures of this process, but it was relatively easy to do. First, I cut the fabric into strips (I cut the elastic out of the fitting sheets and those pieces were used for the two end top pieces). I didn't sew the edges or anything. It's fine if they fray some. Next, you can see that he stuffed one end of the fabric into the ceiling tile edges. Then, he created a swag and stapled the fabric to the wall in the back. If you have cinder block walls, you will have to attach it to the very back ceiling track instead of stapling it to the wall.

As for the fabric on the sides, we just put the fabric on curtain rods and attached it to the wall. Again, if you have cinder block walls, you will need to use something like strong command hooks that are large enough to hold a small curtain rod. (I have no idea if this will work, but I'm just giving you an idea of what I would try). I don't have a picture, but if you can envision a set of sheets then you know that top sheet has a thick band at the top. When you cut that fabric on both ends, you have a perfect tab to slide a curtain rod through. 

*** Please check your fire marshal codes before attempting this. His room doesn't have sprinklers to block and this doesn't take up more than 25% of a wall, so he should be good. 




One of my favorite walls in the room is the "Be the light in the world" wall display I made for him. I designed it so that different style lights, lamps, and lanterns from around the world would be represented (obviously I could find them all, but I think the idea is there). The pieces of paper you see represent where student work will be displayed. In the last picture, you can see our little helper who came to school with us to escape the storms and flash flooding I spoke of earlier. 

Another reason I like this wall is that it connects our two rooms together ever so slightly. 😍


Mine says, "Lumos Be the Light" and you can see more of my classroom here: High School Engish Classroom 





Beyond the message of  "Be the light in the world," I wanted to promote world kindness and unity. The posters are blueprints or sometimes called engineering prints that I got from Staples. I simply hot glued the thin pieces of wood to the paper and hung them with the same low gauge wire I used for the inflatable globes above. If you are interested in creating this look yourself, you can check out my Watercolor World Classroom Decor Kit 






Lastly, I will leave you with something Aaron made that he's really proud of. Back when he taught American history, he used these American history growth mindset posters and activity to promote growth mindset with a historical lens. Now that he's teaching world history, he decided to bring in world historical figures to do the same. You can find these growth mindset posters and the world history growth mindset activity in his store here: World History Growth Mindset 


If you would like help designing your own classroom, I would love to have you join my FREE and FUN classroom design challenge! You can sign up here: Classroom Design Challenge 

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