Monday, August 17, 2015

Classroom Decor Tips & Tricks

Today, I finished setting up and decorating my classroom and I am one happy, happy teacher!  I know this isn't every teacher's favorite thing to do, but I'm not ashamed to admit that it happens to be one of my favorite back to school tasks. :)

Setting up and decorating my classroom helps me get excited about all of the learning that will soon take place in our space. And, I love making my classroom an inviting and cozy place to be.  I want my students to walk in and immediately feel like they are in a special space that was made just for them.

So, if you also enjoy decorating your classroom space, then hopefully this post will speak to you!




Pick a theme.  Themes are a great way to create a sense of cohesiveness and regularity throughout the space.  I currently have a rock star theme, but over the years, I have had lots of different themes including forest animals, pirates, cowboy/cowgirl, beach, dogs, space, and so on.  I like to pick themes that appeal to kids, but are also themes that I enjoy.


Regardless of the theme I use, I always pick a color scheme to go with it.  I like to have consistency throughout my space and color is an easy way to achieve this.

My rock star classroom is black and white with pops of pink and turquoise. Here are a few details.  :)

Not into themes?  You could also go with a simple color scheme.  Color is an easy way to spruce up a space!



Recycle your theme.  If you use one, that is.  ;)  For the past three years, I have reused my rock star theme.  This means I can either keep my room exactly the way it was before, or I can change it up a bit.  I always change it a bit, I can't help it.  Just like my teaching, I like to try new things and make little changes that keep things fresh and exciting. 

This year, I added curtains (which were actually a necessity because my blinds are warped from the harsh desert sun and my poor students get blinded by the sun all afternoon).


I also made some changes with my bulletin board borders.  I've always used a combination of polka dots and zebra stripe borders.  This is fun, but also a bit crazy when it's plastered on every wall of my (super small) classroom.


So, this year, I added a new combination to the mix.  I added some solid black and bright blue (the closest thing they had to turquoise) border to a few of my other boards.


 I also replaced my hanging tissue poms with lanterns.


These are all small changes, but they have helped my space to feel refreshed and new again.


Dress up your boards.  I like to dress up my bulletin boards. My standard issue beige board with a metal frame is just boring and dull. Actually, it's kind of depressing.  To dress these boring boards up, I cover them in solid colored fabric.  This helps my students' work to stand out once it is up. 

One way that I add a little extra interest to the boards is by layering my borders. Borders are great for framing a space that you want to stand out.  I tend to stick to no more than two layers, but that's simply my preference.  Like to layer?  Then, layer away!  On a few of my boards, I have used mixed prints (as I already mentioned) and on others I have used a few solid borders.



I also like to add embellishments to the corners.  This year, I went with two embellishments per board and placed them in opposite corners.  The embellishment pieces were ones I've had the past few years (one bonus of recycling a theme is you've already got a lot of stuff at your disposal). 


I also make my own "boards" to help frame important resources, and help them stand out a bit more.  I embellish these mock boards just like the others: two layers of border and two embellishments in opposite corners. 



You can find more bulletin board tips and tricks {here}.


Have a plan.  I like to have an idea of what I am going to be hanging up, and where I am going to hang it, and where I am going to place student materials and resources for that matter.  I make notes, and I even draw diagrams.  What can I say, I totally geek out when it comes to decorating my classroom.  It's my home away from home and I really want my kids to love their space.

Now, with that said, I always tell myself, a plan is just that-a plan. Plans can change.  Sometimes they have to change.  Be open to making changes on the spot.  This year, I made these guitars.


BUT, when I hung them up in the classroom, I hated them!  So, I switched out the star and glued a bow to the top.  Now, I love them!


I was also planning to cluster my new lanterns, but decided that wasn't going to work in my space, so I ended up scattering them about the room.



Have a plan-Part 2.  When you are ready to visit your classroom and spruce up your space, I highly recommend you have a plan (a To Do list).  Know what you need to do and decide on the order in which you would like to get stuff done. Again, don't forget to be flexible.  Not trying to be bossy, I just know that sometimes I have to change the order of my tasks once I'm in my space.  But seriously, having a list is so helpful because I am easily distracted, so making a list helps me stay focused.



Bring your gear.  I don't keep a toolbox at work, so when I go in to set up my room, I always bring a few tools from home to help me get the job done: extra hot glue sticks, a measuring tape, painter's tape, etc.   Basically, just bring whatever you think you might need.  Better to be safe than sorry.  ;)


By the way, the extension cord is GREAT for being able to tote my hot glue gun around the room, and the painter's tape is perfect for attaching borders to the whiteboard.  To do this:
  1. Put painter's tape around the edge of the whiteboard-see pic below
  2. Put hot glue on top of the tape
  3. Attach your border 
If you are doubling your borders, like I do, just repeat these steps for the second layer, only this time, place the tape along the silver frame of the whiteboard (you may want to use a narrower tape for the second/top layer).


However you decorate your space, have fun! And, I truly, truly hope you were able to take away a tip or trick today.  Thanks for stopping by!

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2 comments:

  1. Your bulletin boards are gorgeous! Will you come to my classroom and decorate mine? Please!

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    1. Thank you so much! I can only imagine how fun it would be to decorate together, sweet friend! Thanks for the love!

      Aimee

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