As a teacher, one of the items you tick off in your appraisal each year is the ability to create a welcoming and inviting classroom environment. When I walk down the halls of my school, I sometimes wonder where my colleagues are looking as they check that box. There’s no real reason, other than apathy, for a sad-looking classroom. I have ever had any kind of budget for decorating, and I have always made an effort to have an attractive classroom – even if I have shared it with others and done the lion’s share of the work.
One of the things that frustrated me as an English teacher was the lack of relevant stuff to put on my walls and make my classroom come alive. If I was a primary teacher, I could put up swathes of colour, big pics of cute animals, the alphabet in cute dinosaurs, whatever. But as a secondary teacher, you have to please the somewhat fickle, too-cool teens while being helpfully educational as well 🙂 Fun fun! But over the years I have slowly grown my arsenal of cheapo ways to decorate without spending decades or hundreds of dollars.
So, some things I love to do in my English classroom include:
- old movie posters (go down to the local cinema and ask for the life-size posters and cutouts that they use to promote movies.) Video stores used to keep these for people like myself, but that’s showing my age…
- Go to paint and paper stores and find cheap rolls of wallpaper in cool colours and patterns – these roll out to cover and staple up on any size bulletin board, and cover a lot in a short time – super easy and very attractive!
- Paint chips – make big letters for bulletin boards out of the free paint chips from the hardware store. Make shapes to add to displays. Make bookmarks. I love me some paint chips.
- Origami/ Paper Art – this is a super cheap way to create a 3D display which can hang from the roof, either all over or just in one area. I made a set of 3D clouds on year, and some paper flowers another. As long as you ask students not to touch and pull (put them higher on the wall than is easy to fiddle with)!
- Book Covers – I like to make a display with book quotes and book covers as an inspiration for Wide Reading and text studies.
- Text Word Walls – I like to create at least a small area for teach novel I study with each class – and create a wall of character images, common words or terminology, setting images, and important quotes. (of course, this will need to be covered during exams).
- I haven’t done it, but a friend created a display of her favourite authors, with a real image of each, and included some of their best quotes from a range of texts.
- Student work display.
- Useful information displays – class programs, calendars, reminders, safety posters, birthday posters, etc – these are the items I surround with my frieze posters and items to brighten the area up.
I have always had sets of key words and inspiring quotes in my classroom, so when I started on TPT, they were among the first items I created. …. here are those, and some of the other poster packs and decor ideas that I have put together for my classroom:
50 Cool Quotes Posters from well-known texts to talk about, use as writing prompts, and inspire the kids.
Essay Writing Structure Posters to help kids write strong arguments and clearly paragraphed essays. Suitable for any high school classroom in which essays are written.
Key Words that all students should be familiar with to help them understand questions and directives across a variety of subjects.
Literary terms, text terms, English Vocabulary terms – 100 Literary terms for English students. These can be cut apart to create a colourful frieze which looks great making a long line under windowsills or whiteboards around the room.
A great poster set for getting kids into a Growth Mindset Banner – the quote says, “If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.” This can be cut out and hung as a long banner across the roof, or along a wall as a huge quote – these look really effective!
There’s no excuse for a boring classroom! Brighten up your teaching and your classroom, and enjoy going in there to work and teach your life away 🙂 Happy laminating!!