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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.