Approximately 35 hours a week is spent in a classroom by students and teachers so, it makes sense to optimise the space to make it a comfortable environment for learning. There are many ways that you can decorate your classroom so it is a more organised and functional space as well as a more interesting environment to spark your student’s imagination.
As children are sensitive to the atmosphere created in the classroom, it helps if the classroom has well defined areas that are decorated according to their purpose e.g. a space for children to feel relaxed when unwind time is necessary.
Colour choice can impact the atmosphere more than you may think. Colours such as blue and green are calming colours that set a relaxed comfortable tone, while red and orange may feel intimidating or cause pupils to feel anxious. Keep this in mind when choosing the dominant colour for the room or a large display. Dark colours take away natural sunlight whereas well-lit rooms, painted in bright colours will result in your pupils feeling energised and wide awake.
Here are some ideas to create a functional space for both you and your students:
1. BRIGHTEN UP FILING CABINETS.
All teachers will agree that it’s highly important for everything to be tidy and organised, but this doesn’t mean that the classroom décor has to consist of dull looking filling cabinets and cupboards. Put colourful paper or spray paint on the doors of filing cabinets and other storage units. You can even colour code the storage according to use or subject.
2. PERSONALISED HOMEWORK BOXES.
Personalised homework boxes are an easy way to collect class assignments. Make it part of their morning routine to enable you to see from a glance who didn’t submit an assignment. Why not let them personalise their own box and add a picture of themselves – anything that might get them a little bit excited about submitting their homework!
3. EDUCATIONAL DISPLAYS.
Get children to make useful displays. It is not only fun to do but they also get to learn, retain and utilise their skills. A nice example is decorating a clock as a flower to display both hours and minutes.
4. CLASS ART WORK DISPLAY.
Let children pick their favourite picture they have painted and then display the entire class collection. This will give the children a confidence boost and encourage them to take pride in their work. Students like to see their own work displayed and it helps them to develop a sense of belonging to the classroom.
5. REMOVABLE STICKERS.
Wall Pop stickers – can be stuck onto desks for rough work. The children can easily erase what they have written to start again and they add a splash of colour. Each desk could have a different colour! Place a bucket of dry erase markers and cloth erasers in the middle of the table for easy access.
6. READING CORNER.
A corner specifically designated to reading will foster a quiet and calm atmosphere, allowing students to retreat there for some quiet time.
7. WINDOW DISPLAY.
Make use of window space by getting the children involved in making a window display. This is an easy way to introduce colour into the room without painting the walls.
8. USE SPACE EFFICIENTLY.
Make the most of every little bit of space you have. Clear plastic shoe organisers are a great option for storing coloured markers and other arts and crafts bits. They hold a lot and you can even put them on the inside of the art supply door, using every bit of space efficiently.
9. ORGANISE CABINETS WITH BINS.
Using bins inside of cabinets and on shelves will keep workbooks and activity books tidy. You could also add clear labels to the bins so you can see where the book you want is at a glance.
10. BIRTHDAY TRACKING.
To keep track of the student’s birthdays it is a nice idea to create a birthday chart and display it so everyone can see whose birthday is coming up. You can do it on a piece of card or a whiteboard. However, this idea of using ribbon to denote the months and wooden pegs to denote the date and student is particularly memorable and can be reused every year. All you need to do is change the pegs.
11. CREATE AN ORGANISATION STATION FOR PARENT AND CLASSROOM COMMUNICATION.
To prevent yourself from wasting time searching for parent communications, substitute notes, permission slips, lost classroom materials, newsletters and more, you can create an organization hub. The hub should contain extra copies of everything that was sent home. You can then communicate with parents so they can tell their children to grab what they need in the event something gets lost in transit from school to home.
12. ORGANISE PENCILS TO PREVENT DISRUPTIONS.
A student getting out of their seat to sharpen a pencil can be disruptive to classroom lessons, especially if you have a large number of students in class. To prevent noisy pencil sharpeners from interrupting the class, create these clever containers with pre-sharpened pencils.
13. REDUCE PAINT BRUSH MESSES.
Paint projects with brushes can really create a mess in your classroom. However, you can create a cleaner environment simply by using Starbucks beverage cups. The tall size cups make the perfect no-spill paint holder. Plus, the lid provides a downward slope to allow the paint to drip down to the bottom of the cup.
14. USE HERSHEY’S KISSES TO DIVIDE STUDENTS INTO SMALL GROUPS.
Students like to be treated equally when it comes to separating them into groups. You can make forming project groups fun by using colour coded Hershey’s Kisses chocolate candy. Simply colour round stickers and place them on the bottom of the candy. Students can then group together according to the color they draw from the bowl of kisses.
15. PREVENT CLASSROOM CHAIRS FROM MAKING NOISE AND MARKING THE FLOOR.
You can add a splash of colour to your classroom while reducing the noise and damage caused by classroom chairs. All you need is some colourful felt and thick rubber bands to complete the job. Simply cut the felt into thirds and fold each piece over. Center it on the bottom of the chair leg and secure in place with a rubber band.
16. SETUP A COLOURFUL WRITING ISLAND.
You can motivate students to write and be creative by setting up a colourful writing island where students can take a literary vacation in an island oasis. With a simple bookcase and some inexpensive supplies and decorations you can stock the Writing Island with editing hats, paper, pencils, and other supplies. Then add a Writer’s Workshop board where students can use colour coded clothes pins to indicate which writing stage they are currently working on.
17. ELIMINATE THE GLUE MESS BY CREATING A DECORATIVE GLUE SPONGE.
Multiple bottles of glue around your classroom can really create a mess. To make things easier and prevent a glue mess, create a decorative glue sponge. Simply use an airtight container and decorate it if you like, and then cut the sponge to fit the container. Pour in the glue so students can simply dab their shapes on the sponge and glue them to their project. After each use, simply spray water on the sponge to keep it moist and close the container.
18. REDUCE PAINT CONTAINER MESSES WHILE ADDING COLOUR TO YOUR CLASSROOM DÉCOR.
Over time, continued student use of paint containers can cause build-up on the container and messes on classroom tables and desks. You can eliminate messy paint containers by using squeeze ketchup bottles. Simply fill the empty bottles with paint and set them on their cap. The paint will then be readily available when the cap is opened and can be easily wiped clean at the end of every use. For enhanced décor, you can remove the ketchup label and decorate the bottle.
19. INSPIRE AND ENCOURAGE STUDENTS WITH A MOTIVATIONAL DOOR DISPLAY.
Have your students decorate cutout pieces that describe unique aspects of their personalities in addition to their hobbies and interests. Put all the pieces together in a door collage that communicates “Everybody is Somebody” and although we are all unique, all students still fit together as a group.
20. CREATE COLOURFUL ORGANISERS FOR CLASSROOM DESKS.
You can spruce up your classroom with colours while improving organization of supplies by using inexpensive colored jars that can be found in most any type of craft store. In the scrapbook section of the store, pick up some decorative ribbon, a chalkboard marker and labels to create beautiful organizers to enhance classroom décor.
21. CREATE A COLORFUL AND VERSATILE GATHERING SPACE.
Find colourful plastic crates and arrange them in a square or circle. Top them with inexpensive decorative cushions and place a rug in the center of the space. The result is an inviting gathering area where students can easily participate in classroom projects and presentations. Additionally, the crates can provide additional storage for lesson items and supplies.
22. USE PAINT SAMPLE CHIPS TO ORGANISE STUDENT LOGINS AND PASSWORDS.
Instead of using dull looking index cards to keep track of logins and passwords, try using sample paint chips from your local home improvement store. Create colorful combinations to keep track of each student’s login and password. Use a hole punch to create a hole in each paint chip card and then use a ribbon to connect them together. This provides convenient access to logins and passwords regardless if you are in the classroom or traveling to the school computer lab.
23. CREATE A PERSONALISED BULLETIN BOARD FOR AUTUMN.
Make students feel welcome and encourage them to participate with a creative fall bulletin board comprised of a classroom photo shoot. Using white or blue construction paper, cover the top two-thirds of the bulletin board and the bottom two-thirds with green construction paper. This creates the sky and the grass. Cut out the trees using brown construction paper.
Have the students create leaves for the top of the bulletin board using a leaf cutout and then have them add sentences about the fall season to each leaf. Place colored confetti on the board to resemble the falling leaves and then photograph students throwing leaves into the air. Arrange the student photos throughout the board.
24. CREATE A CHEERFUL AND EYE-CATCHING 3-D SPRING BULLETIN BOARD.
Decorate your classroom and inspire your students with a colourful 3-D spring-themed bulletin board. The 3-D flowers really make the bulletin board stand out and can easily be created with orange and yellow construction paper. Cut the paper into circles and then scrunch the paper before stapling it to the board.
The flower stems can be created with brown construction paper cut into rectangles and then scrunched up. Staple the stems in several places to create a natural bent stem look. Place each student’s name on a frog cutout and then arrange them on the board.
25. CONSTRUCT A COLOURFUL HELPER’S WALL.
Teach your students the value of pitching in as a team by constructing a decorative Helper’s Wall in your classroom. Students learn to help out and assume responsibility by being assigned a regular task that helps the classroom run more efficiently. If you like, set up some type of recognition system on the board when the student demonstrates reliability in terms of their assigned responsibility.
These are just some of the decoration and organisation ideas that any teacher can introduce into their classroom. There is an abundance of inspiration on Pinterest. If you want even more tips that is a great place to start. Happy decorating!
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