Decorating Your Classroom

Your classroom after summer vacation: the floors have been polished, the desks are pushed to the side, and the walls are bare. Soon the silence of the room will be filled with excited voices on the first day of school. Whether your students are returning to school after summer vacation or entering it for the very first time, the message is the same: Welcome! The decorations you choose for the walls and door of your classroom greet every student and establish the friendly, welcoming tone that sets a positive start to the year and every day that follows.

Once you've set the tone, decorations are also an essential part of your lessons throughout the year. Introduce theme-based units with items like the Giant Inflatable Insects or help students visualize science concepts with the Inflatable Solar System. Reinforce those themes with bulletin boards that highlight student work and display books to further incorporate that theme.

If the walls could talk, what would they say? The walls of your classroom do send a message to your students. The well-organized room with neat, informative decorations tells students they're in a place where learning is serious fun! You can maximize the impact of the decorations you choose by keeping clutter out of the equation. Use the Organization Station® to organize materials, student handouts or homework assignments. When wall space is at a minimum, inflatables that hang from the ceiling are an excellent way to use space wisely. And don't forget areas under the chalkboard, the back of a door or the top of a bookshelf to extend your display space. The well-organized room appointed with colorful decorations reinforces lesson topics and engages students every day.

Here's another great way to get your students in on the act! Have students suggest ideas for one bulletin board you designate for the whole class to complete. Reinforce positive behavior by rewarding student helpers with bulletin board responsibilities. Encourage reading outside of class by setting up a "Readers' Relay" board using the Standard Pocket Chart, where each student moves his or her runner down the line as they complete novels or picture books. Engaging students by giving them a role in choosing classroom decorations turns your classroom into their room and gives students ownership and pride in their place within the school.

Find great decorating ideas under Organizing Your Classroom in the Resource Center section.