5 Amazing Classroom Decoration Ideas that engage and inspire.

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Amazing learning happens in inviting classrooms

As teachers we have no control over whether students go home to a happy, stimulating or a caring environment, but we do control the four walls you, and your students will spend some of the most formative moments of their young lives; your classroom.

Your classroom is the space in which you will spend around 1200 hours this year together learning, building relationships, and striving academically and emotionally to achieve.

Whether you like it or not, the decor, style and level of classroom decoration you display is a reflection of you as a teacher, your personality, and a great launchpad to build credibility with parents and students.  

If your students and parents can see your passion,creativity, and ability to manage a classroom respect and credibility is far more easily earned.

Let’s examine some Classroom Decoration Ideas that actually make a difference, and are simple to implement in any style or physical space.

Classroom Door Decoration Ideas

It’s pretty obvious really, but so many teachers overlook their classroom door as a place to  make your first impression with students and parents. Make sure it says “Welcome” above all else, and acknowledge your students as both individuals and members of a team as demonstrated in some of the examples below.

Avoid placing negative or overly authoritarian items on your door, whilst also ensuring it doesn’t look like the entrance to Disneyland.  This door is the entrance to a place to collaborate, create and cooperate together, and above all a place to work. Don’t create a false impression by plastering your door in decoration that screams “We’re all about fun.”

The back of your door  is an excellent place to reinforce important concepts to students about behavior, personal management and organisation.  Students will see these and change hats appropriately as they switch from student to a kid that wants to enjoy their friends in the playground.

Students of all ages will appreciate this aquatic entrance to their classroom

Students of all ages will appreciate this aquatic entrance to their classroom

It’s been done before but it certainly works. You can create this yourself or buy them from places such as  teacherspayteachers.com

It’s been done before but it certainly works. You can create this yourself or buy them from places such as teacherspayteachers.com

Christmas comes to chemistry class. Fun, Easy to create and still educational.

Christmas comes to chemistry class. Fun, Easy to create and still educational.

This door sets expectations, and is welcoming simultaneously.

This door sets expectations, and is welcoming simultaneously.

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Storage and organization Classroom Decoration Ideas

It amazes teachers on the first and last day of school just how large their classrooms are when students are gone, and furniture is pushed up against the walls in preparation for the holidays.  

When twenty something students walk through the door it shrinks dramatically, so storage space and management of your classroom is a really important factor of classroom decoration to get right.

It’s a delicate balancing act.  Whilst minimalism and efficiency is “on-trend” with adults it’s not so impressive to a six year old.  

No matter what path you follow remember to clearly label things with either text or images so that your students never have an excuse for not putting things back where they belong.

Take a look at some of the images below for classroom storage solutions to see if they appeal to you in terms of functionality and aesthetics.

Modular storage from Ikea is cheap and hardy. It looks great also.

Modular storage from Ikea is cheap and hardy. It looks great also.

Knock them out with color and labels

Knock them out with color and labels

Storage can also be seating

Storage can also be seating

Technology can be a struggle to store and charge at times

Technology can be a struggle to store and charge at times

Use your classroom corners as “Great Escape Spaces.”

Regardless of whether you’re teaching in a shared, open plan, or traditional single room classroom you are likely to have a corner that could benefit from an educational ‘makeover.’

Classroom corners can become any number of things to suit you and your students needs so long as you capitalize on the fact they are a place for students to escape the masses and retreat into their own head space.

As such they are best used for self directed individual or small group activities requiring little interaction or input from you the teacher, or distractions from other students.

Reading corners are common in most primary / elementary classrooms. To maximize learning opportunities here ensure your students cannot easily see what others are doing when they are seated reading.  If you surround this space with soft furnishings it will also dampen the external noise.

Your classroom corners are a great space to clearly display some large excellent visuals reinforcing the key learning concepts you expect of your students in this space.  Posters, charts, and exemplary work is a great thing to display and fosters independent learning leaving you to focus on working in other parts of your classroom.

One final note to consider when creating a classroom corners is not to simultaneously build a ‘hideout’ space in which students know they can misbehave or dodge work without surveillance.  Always ensure you, as the tallest person in the room can quickly and easily see what your students are doing at all times.

Forest reading corners are always appealing

Forest reading corners are always appealing

what child wouldn’t cherish spending time in here?

what child wouldn’t cherish spending time in here?

simple but effective reading corner

simple but effective reading corner

plenty of seating variation

plenty of seating variation

Classroom Themes

Classroom themes can be both a blessing and a curse you might want to consider as the year progresses. 

Whilst large portions of your classroom dedicated to back to school, summer, book week, Space, Harry Potter and so on may look great, they can also pretty quickly become irrelevant and dated.

If you are not a manic workaholic ( like most teachers are ) but you still want a dynamic classroom that changes like a chameleon just select a single wall or space you know you can repeatedly and quickly tear down and “flip” to suit the times and needs of your students.  

This leaves you the bulk of your classroom organized and structured for the remainder of the year with minimal fuss and interruption.

space is always a popular classroom theme

space is always a popular classroom theme

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Harry potter theme space

Harry potter theme space

welcome to TOMORROW LAND

welcome to TOMORROW LAND

Classroom decoration ideas on a budget

As we well know most teachers are not millionaires, but they are very highly innovative, and industrious when it comes to getting a lot from a little.

Take a look below at how teachers have taken some bargain bin products and turned them into a goldmine of teaching and learning opportunities in their classrooms.

Most of these items can be easily located and are durable enough to get many good years of use from.

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Make sure your classroom decoration “celebrates” learning above all else.

No matter what your style, or level of commitment to classroom decoration ensure you celebrate learning.

  • Showcase work from ALL students that celebrates GROWTH which can be acknowledged by you, parents, and students.

  • Ensure your classroom decoration sets expectations. Providing examples and statements that reinforce what you value as a teacher and what you expect of your students.

  • If possible display your students growth.  This can either be a before and after decoration, or a graph or chart demonstrating how your CLASS has improved at a specific area throughout the year. 

    Try to avoid putting anything that individually pinpoints, or compares one student to another. Emphasize the fact your class are a team and you celebrate the success as a team.  You will have parent teacher interviews and plenty of other opportunities to address student needs at an individual level. 

I would also emphasize the need to let your students take ownership of your classroom decoration where possible.  If you need a poster about recycling get your students to create them as opposed to just buying them.  

Let your students create their own classroom rules (under your guidance of course.) and ask your students for input in creating classroom decorations.

All this input will give them a greater sense of pride and buy-in to their classroom and you as their teacher.

Finally - If you trawl Instagram and Pinterest for classroom decoration ideas you can quickly feel very inadequate as a teacher. It may appear that classroom decoration has almost become a competitive sport fought out on social media.

Just create a space that you and your students feel positive about sharing, and hopefully lifts your spirits a little on a day that just didn’t seem to start out right at home for whatever reason.

I am confident you can take away one or two of these ideas and as always don’t forget to share your thoughts and inspiration in the comment section below.

Easy lesson for phonics

Introduction: When doing Thrass or phonics I found that learning sounds can be done in such an innovative and easy way.

When teaching Grade 1’s different sounds, use hands on items that begin with the sounds to teach how to write and say it.

For example: When teaching the “Sh” sound one could use shaving cream. Spary a blob of shaving cream on each childs desk and as a class you write the “Sh” into the shaving cream using fingers.

The teacher can facilitate by writing up on the board or walking around and doing the movement with each learner. They can wipe out and try with an upper case “Sh” and then with a lower case “sh”.

This may be difficult for those tactile defensive learners however they need to try and can be reassured by a bucket of soapy water and a cloth to clean their hands afterwards.

Main: Learners can wash hands and do a formal writing lesson in their writing books along lines etc. You may write up the “sh” letters on the board and learners do so in their books.

Some other sounds and items to use:

“j” Jam on desks or white boards

“p” popcorn and allow learners to make a “p” using popcorn. “i” Icing sugar on desks or white board

“m” marshmallows into a M shape

“t” tea and toast day. Set aside a time for groups of learners to go outside and have tea and toast whilst the other half do their “t” writing in their writing books. Then swap over. This is best done with two teachers involved or an intern. At the school I interned at, we did it this way and it worked so well and kids loved it!

Be creative and use your imagination!!!

5 persuasive writing prompts about drugs

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Drugs have always been a meaty topic for high school and college students as they are at an age when they are becoming aware of the social and health issues associated with drug use but also surrounded by the confusing messages from music, films and social media that drugs are "cool."

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These persuasive writing prompts will certainly require your students to do some research to form an educated opinion about issues surrounding drug use.

Remember that if you are looking for more great free resources and structured guides to teaching all aspects of English especially writing be sure to visit literacyideas.com


Prompt 1) In order to crack down on drug use and distribution in schools, many high schools have begun to conduct targeted searches of student lockers, backpacks and other "personal" properties. Keeping in mind that the Supreme Court has ruled these types of searches as constitutional, do you feel that this is still a violation of student rights? Or, do you think that since the school is ultimately responsible for the well-being of it’s students, they should have the right to conduct these searches in the effort of keeping the student body safe?

Prompt 2) With more professional and college athletes being drug-tested, do you feel that High School athletes should be subjected to regularly drug tests?

Prompt 3) Should marijuana be legalized? Site your position and specific examples that support this decision. Simply "because I like it," is not an example.

Prompt 4) Medical Marijuana has been legalized in California for some time now. Do you feel that it is okay for the State to decide that marijuana should be regulated and distributed any other prescription drug, or do you feel that this should be a decision made on the Federal level, and California should step inline with the rest of the country?

Prompt 5) Do you think law enforcement agencies and government officials spend too much time and energy focusing on marijuana instead of other drugs (heroin, cocaine,  meth, etc…)

 

Science Lesson: Making Slime

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Time Required:  45 – 60 mins for process, pus you can allow time for research and findings.

Age groups:  Prep to year 9.. Obviously you will need some more time and assistance with the younger and possibly older kids.

Learning Intentions:  To understand what a Polymer is and how chemical reactions can change the state of certain ingredients.

 Click here to download this entire lesson plan and resources as a PDF.

Intro: We are going to make slime, any ideas how we can do it? What ingredients do you think we’ll need?

Show video on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=emlW5Jh-AHc&feature=relmfu  

Go through step by step instructions of how to make the slime (Paper based instructions included below - Make sure Logistics are good)

ü  Students then create the slime and put it in a bag to take home and show.

Answer the following questions once slime is made.

1.      What happened to the slime when you added the borax powder?

2.      How could we make the slime better, what variations could be offer?

Science Elements:

Now for the SCIENCE part.... This POLYMER is unique because it has qualities of both a solid and a liquid. It can take the shape of its containers like a liquid does, yet you can hold it in your hand and pick it up like a solid. As you might know, solid molecules are tight together, liquid molecules spread out and break apart (drops) POLYMER molecules CHAIN themselves together (they can stretch and bend like chains) and that makes them special. Jell-O, rubber bands, plastic soda bottles, sneaker soles, even gum are all forms of polymers. The polymer you made should be kept in a sealed plastic bag when you aren't playing with it. Also, be sure to keep it away from young kids or pets who might think it’s food. Have fun!

Recap: What is a polymer? Both a solid and a liquid. Molecules which are tiny little molecules chain together which makes an item hold its shape and then can be altered.

What are some other examples of polymers?

Extension Activity

Who can stretch their slime the longest contest?

Who find and display a practical use for it.

Click here to download this entire lesson plan and resources as a PDF.

Downloadable Dinosaur Writing Pack

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I am sure that both parents, students and teachers alike will find this free Dinosaur themed writing paper and templates a brilliant prompt and resource for getting younger kids wrting about dinosaurs, or a dinosaur related adventure.

These themed writing packs really inspire kids to write and step up their presentation skills as opposed to simply writing on standard paper.

Download the Dinosaur Themed Writing Pack Here.

The Pack looks great, and has 8 different themed pages that include.

  • A Visual map for planning the characters, setting, problem & plot.
  • A planning tool for constructing a narrative.
  • Half Page Dotted thirds with a space for a picture
  • Full page themed dotted thirds with images.
  • Bordered Themed lined writing paper.

We have a number of themed writing packs and otherprintable paper for teachersand students that can be downloaded for free.

The Ultimate Guide to Teaching Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

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Charlie and the Chocolate factory is one of the most popular children's books of all time.  It is a brilliantly written story by Author Roald Dahl and there has been two starkly different, but very popular films based on it.

Therefore "Charlie" offers a multitude of teaching and learning opportunities based around the themes of bad parenting, mischievous children, greed, gluttony and much more.  Roald Dahl uses little Charlie Bucket as a role model to oppose all of the horrible aspects of the other children selected to enter Willy Wonka's chocolate factory.

This Grid I have constructed uses Blooms Taxonomy as a framework to study the book and films and has 42 excellent teaching and learning ideas.

It would be recommended that the book and both films are watched to get the most out of this grid, and there is more than enough here to keep your students busy and enthused for a fortnight depending upon how you structure your learning sessions.

I hope you like the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Learning Grid and if you have any fresh ideas to add to it we would love to hear them.

Download the grid here.

The Snapshot Writing Tool for Teaching English

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The Snapshot Writing Toolis designed to put students in a specific moment in time using a visual prompt such as a photo or video and then write about what you see?  What you hear?  What you smell?  What you taste?  and what you feel?  Drawing upon all 5 senses.

The snapshot writing tool will really encourage your students create visual imagery within their writing, and they have a great deal of fun putting themselves in the perspective of the picture.

Students can either use a photo of their own anlongside the tool or alternately you can access my collection of150 Amazing writing prompts here.

Download the Snapshot Writing Tool here

* Please note all of our posters are originally designed using high resolution images and fonts at A3 paper size.  Be aware it will be automatically resized to your default paper size when using Adobe Acrobat Reader without any loss of quality.  If you would like to print these documents at larger sizes you can read theAdobe Resize & Scaling FAQhere.

Finally if you would like to purchase a completely editable version of this document to alter without any restrictions you can purchase it for $10.00 simply byemailing us.

teach your students how to write a diamante poem

This handout is a great tool for teaching kids how to write a Diamante Poem.  Diamante poems are a great way to teach student about Synonyms and Antonyms and have a bit of fun in the process.  This lesson plan is suitable for students from years 3 - 10 and will easily fill one literacy session. 

You can download my handout here and also learn more about Diamante Poems at Readwritethink.orgnhere.