Sunday, September 23, 2007


When it comes to the big five, I have always relegated the sense of smell to the role of neglected stepsister. Like Cinderella it operates on the periphery, making sure things run smoothly but never demanding too much attention. It only really comes to the forefront when it brings about some offense, such as appearing in a ball gown wearing Drizella's beads or Anastasia's sash. Oh, wait that is Cinderella again...back to smell. Offensive odors are noticed, as are exquisite ones, but most of the time my little nosey sniffs happily along without much aromatic action.

But when it's time for Prince Charming to come around with the glass slipper and we discover it fits Cinderella's dainty foot, the future is altered forever. Well, I found my glass slipper (and my perfect fit) in those little scent-sational bottles of fragrance called reed diffusers and I'm not looking back.

Reed diffusers can be purchased rather inexpensively at stores such as Bed, Bath & Beyond and Pier1 Imports. They come in a variety of scents ranging from light, sweet aromas to more heavy, heady perfumes. The concept is a simple one; a bunch of wooden sticks are placed in a bottle of scented oil. To freshen the room simply turn the sticks over so that the part that was just submerged in the liquid is now on the top. Depending on how often you do this one reed diffuser can last anywhere from several months to a year (or more).

Lauren and I placed four of these in our classroom at the start of the school year. Two lavender scented small ones (pictured above on the left) were a gift from my colleague Cindy. She purchased them at The Christmas Tree Shops for only $3.99 each. Two larger ones (pictured, right) called "Mad Love" I bought on sale from Pier1 for only $7.98 each.

Not a day has gone by since that someone has not entered our room without commenting on the delicious smell. It actually stops folks in their tracks. This seems to be the finishing touch in creating a classroom environment that is pleasing to all of the senses. I would venture to state that most teachers concern themselves primarily with how things look. I challenge you, fellow pedagogues, to step beyond the visual to incorporate other aspects of the classroom environment. Last year, I added soothing music into the mix. And this year; smell.

Hmm...what does that leave me? A classroom that has yet to be equipped with fun things to touch and taste?


Junk Thief said...

Despite cabinets filled with incense and candles, I've yet to get hooked on the reed diffusers yet. Okay, now I may be finding another obsession.

Dumdad said...

Your classroom is a far cry from the ones I used to have to sit in: sweaty, smelly, uncomfortable and unpleasing to the eye. And that was in expensive private education!

Reya Mellicker said...

It's fortunate and unfortunate that smell is my most developed sense ... sometimes that's wonderful, sometimes ..........

Your classroom has the best feng shui in the world. Your students are SO LUCKY!!

Happy fall.

kimy said...

I will be off in search of reeds to diffuse...I am getting terribly low on my bottle of aroma vera environmental fragrancing aromatic mist (energy the peppermint and rosemary scent) since I can't remember when or where I bought it in need of another vehicle besides the ubiquitous incense to spread pleasant scent about! sometimes I find lighting incense just isn't appropriate. thanks! I agree w/ reya your students are very lucky!

Salty Miss Jill said...

I'll bet YOU would be fun to touch and taste. ;)

Florecita said...

Would you please be my teacher!!!!!!!!! Love your classroom!!!!!! love the scent of this blog!!!!!!!

Gary said...

JT - Oh, I know what you mean. I have quite a few candles myself and over the years I thought how nice it would be to have some candles burning in the classroom. Not at all safe but it would help establish a mood, right? So, when these little gems came about I was thrilled. It seems as though the whole school is getting in on the act. Pretty soon we will have the best smelling school in Manhattan!

Dad - I think many of us had those kinds of classrooms. I was a product of the open classroom era and although it didn't bother me a the time I can look back on that from this vantage point and see what a 'far cry' it was from my class now. I wonder what it would have felt like as a child to be in a class like this one. You got me thinking...

OOH, Reya, Feng Shui. I do think about that. Proper placement of mirrors and plants. On your next visit to NYC I would LOVE if you could meet me at the school and I could give you a tour. However, I do realize that it is my turn to get to DC. What is your schedule like these days?

Kimy - These babies are the best. Let me know how they work out for you. And on an unrelated note, I still have not figured out how to do the cool label cloud thingie. Well, I should really write that I have not really tried yet. I think I am waiting for the label cloud god to descend upon me.

Miss Jill - You are indeed a salty little miss! You make me all tingly inside.

Florecita - Thanks! That is so sweet. Are you planning on coming back to first grade? :)

WAT said...


Well, my co-worker had one of these reed thingys at her desk and I could not help but comment to her how much I loved the smell, and lowe and behold she ended up buying me one my first reef diffuser ever! It smells so damn good!

Much better than me! LURVE IT!

Mikey T said...

I used to swear by the Banana Republic Mandarin diffusers - did I never send you one? It wrecked me when it finally ran out of oil and we no longer carry it :(
I'll have to try Bed Bath and Beyond, but you have to try Pottery Barn = they have some nice ones there, but none as good as Banana's Mandarin :(

kimy said...

my 'insourced geek' is in nyc until wednesday evening - if you email me your email address or phone number I'll pass it on to julien, maybe he can connect with you if you both have a window - I could probably do it since I 'watched' monsieur j but hell if I could explain it. although the directions do 'make sense' in retrospect.. my email address is kyanoshikatcsdotcom (how about that for thwarting the nasty internet trollers!?) if you can't connect w/ monsieur j on to plan b!

J. David Zacko-Smith said...

Scent is very, very powerful. I have really vivid memories that are totally scent related! I like seeing that you have some Bamboo there, too - I love Bamboo, and it's considered to be "lucky". ;-)

Gary said...

Wat - At first I thought that you were being sarcastic but then realized that you were (possibly) not. Although, what is all this about the olympics? Happy sniffing!

Mikey - No, I didn't even know the Banana had these things. You know you got me thinking about a Rain scented difffuser. Rain always makes me think of you. Remember the great 'Rain' products that Pier1 used to carry? Oh, and Pottery Barn - another great shopping experience. I'll have to sniff them out.

(I love when you pop up on the blog!)

Kimy - Thanks, I emailed you.

JDZS - Bamboo indeed. The green of the plants stands out nicely against the neutral backgrounds of our bulletin boards. I used to have a room chock full of bright and varied colors but that has been replaced for more soothing tones. (Although I do like lots of color! The thought is that student work is highlighted better against a neutral backgound.)

MONA said...

Reed diffusers sound interesting.
& I see that you have already equipped the class with taste of gingerbread man!


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