We always had our grade-level meetings in a very wise teacher's classroom. I always enjoyed being in her classroom. I felt calm when I was in her room, as it had an almost homey feeling. The fluorescent lights were always off and she had no less than 8 lamps spread throughout her classroom. One day I asked her what had prompted her to start using lamps. She explained that just like I felt calm and at ease in her classroom, young students felt the same. The lamps have a calming effect, making all students more at ease, while helping those with hyperactivity and attention issues to calm down and focus.
I immediately went out and purchased Chinese paper lanterns with light switches. The lamp kits are made specifically for use in paper lanterns. I can honestly say that I noticed an immediate difference in my students.
I always want students to enjoy coming to my room, and while they think the lamps are just a cool addition to the room, they are really a management tool. I had a teacher on my hall come in today during planning and remark on how comfortable my room was. I owe it all to the lights.
I have 7 Chinese lanterns spread throughout my room and a lamp on my desk. I have changed my lantern colors a few times to match my decor, but this year I am using a mixture of all of the ones that I have. I'm using hot pink, turquoise and black/white zebra print. I purchased the pink lanterns at Big Lots, the turquoise at Lowe's, and the zebra at World Market. Pier One and Ikea also carry a nice selection of paper lanterns. The biggest thing you want to make sure of is that your lantern is made to accommodate a light bulb, and it's not just one to hang for decoration. Many of the lanterns come with the light kit and can be found for around $7. Pier One has their lanterns on clearance right now for about $4 each.
Lighting can make all of the difference in a classroom, which is why my lanterns are the first decorative item to go up in my classroom each year.
**Please excuse the blank bulletin board and lack of decorations. This pics were made a few days before school started. :-)