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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.
- 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.
- 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?”
- 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.
- “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.
- 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.