Creative (and Purposeful) Ways to Decorate a Classroom

by Kelli Lewis

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Looking for some new and creative ways to decorate your classroom? Here are some ideas that combine aesthetic appeal with academic purpose.

  1. Book bags. They always seem to be in the way. But, yes, they are needed, so here’s a clever space-saving solution. Have your students unpack their bags with everything they need for the day, then place their book bag in a big Rubbermaid plastic bin with a lid. This is just one way to get them out of the way and keep your room organized.
  2. Class Rules. Who makes these? Do you collaborate with your students and make these “rules” together? I feel that students should have a say-so in the “rules” for their classroom because even though it’s your classroom, it’s theirs too! Decide on the “rules” collaboratively and allow the students to break into groups to design an illustration for each “rule” on a small poster (or large piece of construction paper) to later be placed on the wall. Another challenge: Does the word “rule” give a negative meaning? Should they maybe be called “reminders?”
  3. Bulletin Boards. Does your room have an ocean theme? Here’s an idea: Entitle it “A Sea of Good Work” and display random students’ stories, illustrations, math sheets, etc. as you notice their hard work. Can’t exactly use the ocean theme? Get creative and think of another way to use this to meet your needs. What about a clothes line? Place a line of string and use clothespins to hang up your students’ good work glued to laminated items of clothing.
  4. Help! I don’t know this word!” How many times do you think your students say this to themselves? Do you have anything placed on the walls for them to see as a reminder of what to do if they get into this situation? This could even cut down on how many times students are raising their hand for help with words from you. They need to be encouraged to try to figure it out on their own because that’s what good readers do. Try using these ideas for them to use: “Sound it out.”, “Check the pictures”, “Look for chunks.”, etc.
  5. Goals. Do your students have any? Have you challenged them to think of one? Have a way to show this on your walls. Entitle it: “Our Hopes and Dreams for this School Year” and have students fill out a sentence strip of their goal and create an illustration to go along with it. These could even be changed halfway through the year. Challenge your students to frequently remind themselves of their goal and work toward it throughout the year.

Kelli Lewis is an Early Childhood Education graduate student at the University of Georgia.



Filed under Behavior Management, Classroom Community, Classroom Decor, Uncategorized

5 responses to “Creative (and Purposeful) Ways to Decorate a Classroom

  1. Priscilla

    These are all great ideas but my favorites are #2 and #5.

    I am a firm believer that if you want to foster a sense of community in your classroom, then you should involve your students in setting up expected behavior and consequences.

    I also think it is a wonderful idea for students to post individual goals and visual illustrations! I love any idea that helps my students take ownership of and pride in their educaiton! I will defintely use this idea in my classroom this school year!

    Thank you Kelli Lewis for sharing!

  2. Connie

    I love to use fabric and matching border in my classroom. The fabric helps with the noise level and it just feels comfy. I put fabric on my metal storage cabinets, metal shelves , and metal file cabinets. I cover the doors, sides and backs. I use regular liquid starch (it is a blueish color) to put the fabric on the metal and on the cement walls. Pour a generous amount of starch in a small plastic tub, take your fabric (cut to size) and immerse it in the starch. Make sure the fabric is wet all over. Squeeze off the excess and then place the fabric where you want to. Use a ruler or other straight-edge to smooth over the fabric to remove excess and air bubbles. It is similar to smoothing out wallpaper. Make sure you have something on the floor to catch the excess liquid. Let this dry over night. Then I add the border around the edge of the fabric. I use a hot glue gun to put up the border. You can still use magnets on top of the fabric to hold up posters, etc. This should last all year.

  3. Kay Wallin

    One of the second grade teachers that I worked with this past year has strict rules about bookbags in the classroom. They were always supposed to be on the backs of the chairs–never in the floor or on the desks. Another interesting rule she has is that sweaters or jackets that are not being worn are always supposed to be tucked completely inside the bookbag. She told me this helps keep the clutter down, plus it is a way to keep certain little critters out of the classroom. At this particular school, the students go to different classrooms for different subjects, so they do carry their bookbags with them from room to room throughout the day.

  4. Randi Smith

    I am lucky enough to have a coatrack at the back of my classroom so I do not have the backpacks in the floor all day. I do label the hooks so my students know whose hook is whose. I also ask my students to put their coats into their backpacks.

  5. ecossick

    The comment winner for this post is Priscilla! Thanks for all the great ideas and sharing everyone… I know I benefit greatly from everyone’s comments.