3 Tips to #Teachers for Decorating Classrooms


October 26, 2012 by CassieCravings

My first year as a teacher, I was overwhelmed and even a bit terrified as I first walked into the teacher supply store. The colors, textures and content could have sucked me in for hours. I had a difficult time narrowing down exactly what I wanted to do and how I wanted to accomplish it while staying within my first-year teacher budget.

Below are 3 tips that I have picked up from my first 6 years of teaching:

1. Scale back the theme.

I know, I know. Telling a teacher to scale back a classroom theme is like asking my 2 year-old to give up his favorite race car sippie cup.

Themes are fun. They are colorful. They bring personality into the classroom. Teacher supplies stores are organized and displayed by theme. Once you get the bulletin board set, you can buy the border, the magnets, the file folders and the paperclips to match.

However, themes can also set you back a couple of hundred dollars in a matter one shelf-clearing moment. While I am the biggest sucker for an end-cap display and dreams of an owl themed spectacular classroom, it isn’t practical. My budget cannot overhaul my theme each semester or even each year as I stumble across the newest and the greatest.

My solution is to scale back. What I am infatuated with today may simply be a passing fad. I buy a couple of things, and if it still catches my eye the next time, then I pick up one or two more things.

Anything that is personalized or that will have to be thrown away is a great place to bring in the theme (such as reward charts and name plates).

2. Invest in versatile pieces.

The same principle of a smart wardrobe always applies here. Make your investment pieces classic and neutral. Spend more money on these pieces and less money on the trendy items.

My versatile pieces for my classroom include a black chalkboard calendar and mamacravings’ classroom posters (all of Eli, of course).

mamacravings poster

I even consider my lei borders a versatile piece. Yes, they are fairly specific, but they can be used for multiple themes. They can also be taken down, moved to a new school and put back up. The $15.00 I spent on them has been well worth it, because I have used them in multiple classrooms over multiple years with different themes.

my versatile and hardy flower border

3. Make it personal.

My largest bulletin board displays a great Scott Clements quote: “Take the time to realize your adventure is happening right now.” Scott Clements happens to be one of my favorite authors in the history of ever. So, of course, I want a quote from him on my board. I added a bit more of me by stamping Eli’s little footprints at the bottom of the bulletin board paper. I even sprinkled sand on the footprints while they were wet to add some texture. I have a quote from my one of my favorite authors and precious little feet by my favorite kid. It is something that no one else has in their room and makes it unique to me.

“Take time to realize your adventure is happening right now.” ~Scott Clements

Decorating a classroom is one of my favorite things to do as a teacher. It sets up the entire environment for learning. It introduces students to your subject matter and to yourself.


4 thoughts on “3 Tips to #Teachers for Decorating Classrooms

  1. theroommom says:

    I use fabric rather than the butcher paper to cover my bulletin boards because it does not fade, and I can leave that background up more than one year. if you are buying fabric from a basic bolt of fabric (can’t remember the width right now), it is the perfect size for bulletin boards, so you don’t need to cut it down to size!

  2. Decorating the classroom is one of the things I miss most about teaching (after the relationships with the kids, of course!) This is all great advice. I also saved money by displaying mainly student work. It cost me nothing (other than background and border but I didn’t have to change them out every time if they were generic enough), let the students take pride in their work, showed at a glance around the room what kind of learning was going on that month and it was what visiting parents were most interested in seeing anyway! Although I managed not to spend a lot of money this way I did put a lot of effort into the displays and it did take up quite a bit of after school time. Now that I’m married and a mother I don’t think I’d be able to do it the same way again if I were working once more.

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