Updated: Jun 27
Preparing your new classroom for a new school year is so much fun! I remember the excitement I felt when preparing my classroom for my first ever class! I also remember feeling a bit overwhelmed! Each summer new and experienced teachers alike often ask the same question: Where to get started with setting up my classroom? One of the main things teachers consider is classroom décor. It can be quite a challenge deciding on a theme or even how many displays or bulletin boards to create especially if you are on a budget. And then there is the question: Why do teachers decorate their classrooms anyway?
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In this post, I am going to share with you the benefits of decorating your classroom as well as what makes a good classroom display or bulletin board. I have also outlined the top 10 must have class décor items you will need for your new classroom. And, as a little bonus, I have put together a Class Décor Starter Kit which includes everything you need to get your classroom prep started! And what is great about this kit is it is absolutely FREE! More about that later!
Why is it important to decorate your classroom?
To Create a Welcoming Atmosphere
Decorating your new classroom at the start of a school year is a fantastic way to make your new students feel welcome in their new learning environment when they return after Summer break. Children can often feel a bit nervous or anxious when returning to school, especially if they are a new student to the school or class. Ensuring that all your children’s coat pegs, trays, lockers, desks etc are labelled with their names will immediately make your new students feel welcome and will give them a sense of belonging in their new classroom. Another way to ensure your new class feel welcome is to create a personalised display or bulletin board featuring photos or pieces of work created by your new students and ensure that it is displayed in your classroom on the first day of school. Last year, I asked my new class to send me a photograph of them with their favourite toy. I then created a wall display with all their photos and names. They absolutely loved it and it was the first thing they all seen on their first day back at school!
To Support Learning
Decorating your classroom with informative prompts, supports children with their learning as well as encourages them to learn independently. Having displays that feature learning aids such as phonics sounds, numbers, sight words, sentence openers, multiplication facts (the list is endless) will ensure children have access to the information they need whenever they want.
To Build a Positive Ethos
Classroom Décor can also be used to create a positive ethos in your learning environment through the display of classroom rules and routines. Displaying things such as your daily schedule, rules for group discussion, classroom calendar and classroom jobs etc helps to ensure that all your students understand what is expected of them while in their classroom and creates a sense of belonging and togetherness among your students.
Classroom Décor is also important when it comes to creating a well organised classroom. Having all your areas and supplies labelled will ensure that your students (and you!) remember where everything goes. Ensuring that all your labelling has a consistent colour, theme etc goes a long way in creating a calm and harmonious classroom. By labelling everything, this will really help your students when it comes to tidying up as they will know exactly where to put everything back. This not only gives your students a sense of ownership in their classroom, but it means you do not have to spend your time running about tidying up after them too! If you would like to learn more about creating an organised classroom you can check out my blog post How Do Teachers Stay Organised?
What makes a good classroom display or bulletin board?
An effective classroom display should have clear, easy to read information. So, for example, if your display is all about a new strategy you have taught for addition, ensure that the steps for this strategy are the focus of the display and are really easy for your students to read. Be mindful that you do not use too much text in your displays as you do not want to overwhelm your class.
Include Examples of Student Work
Using examples of your student’s work is a great addition to any classroom bulletin board. By displaying an example of a child’s work that demonstrates recent learning will not only help others in the class but will give that child a sense of ownership too. You could also create an example of work that features the success criteria you are looking for. For example, if you are focussing on learning to write a sentence you can feature what a good sentence looks like on your bulletin board. You could even use this display to generate a discussion about the things you have included in your sentence and ask your students to contribute to the bulletin board by listing the success criteria.
Be Attractive and Eye-catching
Ensuring your classroom displays are attractive and eye-catching with a consistent theme is important and helps to create a calm learning environment. This can be easily achieved by choosing one class décor theme. Remember to consider you and your student’s personalities when choosing a theme. Will you go for rainbow colours? Pastels? Or Neutrals? You can check out my FREE Classroom Décor Start Kit here and see if this is a suitable Class Décor theme for you! Consider ensuring your classroom does not look too bright or chaotic as this can be over-stimulating for some children.
Your bulletin boards should be relevant and link to current learning. It can be quite time-consuming taking down then replacing an old display board however, there are ways to make this more manageable. Consider creating a working wall where you put up a display at the start of the school year with some information or prompts that will be useful all year round and as you and your class progress with their learning you can change parts of it throughout the school year. I have created this type of display in my Literacy area. I originally put up an example of a sentence, tricky words and a few examples of my children’s writing. As we have progressed through the year all I do is pin up more tricky words as we learn them, while making sure my students still have access to words they have learned before and as we learn to write more complex sentences, I plan to add things such as openers and more exciting vocabulary to my sentence example. I have found this to be a much better use of my time than replacing the entire display!
Making a classroom display interactive is a fantastic idea too! You can easily do this by adding things such as mini whiteboards for children to show their learning or write questions. You can also add manipulatives such as cubes, measuring tapes and mini clocks to displays as part of a challenge that your learners can engage with. Having an area where children can add post it notes with questions or exit passes is another way to make your display interactive too!
What are the top 10 Class Decor Items Teachers Need?
So now that we know why it is important to decorate your classroom and what makes a great classroom display it is time to actually decorate your classroom! It can be a bit overwhelming knowing where to start when thinking about decorating your new classroom. It can seem like there are so many things to label or displays to create! To make things a little bit easier I have created a list of the Top 10 Classroom Décor items you will need.
Top 10 Class Décor Items Teachers Need
1: Classroom area signage – Math Area, Class Library etc.
2: Supply labels with pictures
3: Classroom calendar & weather – days, months etc (I have included this in my FREE Classroom Décor Kit!)
6: Student name labels – trays, coat peg, locker, desk labels with names etc
7: Daily schedule/timetable
8: Classroom rules/expectations/charter
9: Classroom jobs
10: Clock labels
This is not EVERYTHING you may need to decorate your classroom, but it is a great starting point, and you can always add to your classroom as the school year goes on! You could even create your own must have list of classroom décor items!
Keeping in mind all the things that teachers need in their new classroom, I decided to create this Class Décor Starter Kit (which includes some of the items on the list above!).
Included in this Classroom Décor Kit is the following:
Alphabet bunting - 6 different design to choose from!
Number bunting - 4 different designs to choose from!
You can watch my video below to see exactly what is included!
This pack of pastel alphabet bunting includes 6 different designs that feature lower, upper and both lower- & upper-case letters.
There are so many different ways you can use this alphabet bunting. You can attach it to a string and display it across your classroom. You can also attach to a display/bulletin board or wall. If you do not have the wall space you can even laminate each bunting flag and use it as a teaching resource for letter formation, letter matching or phonics work!
This pack of pastel themed number bunting includes 4 different designs that feature numbers only and numbers with words. Number bunting can be used on your Math/Numeracy bulletin boards or attached to some string and displayed across your classroom. Just like the alphabet bunting, the number bunting can double up as a teaching resource and can be used to support number formation, counting or number sequencing!
This Classroom Calendar includes the following signs: Today, Tomorrow and Yesterday. The days of week, numbers for day of the month, months of the year and seasons are also included. I decided to create two options for the months and seasons. One set with cute pictures and one set without. Don’t worry, I have included both Autumn and Fall within the seasons so no matter what you call it you are covered!
If you like look of this Classroom Décor Starter Kit my Pastel Class Décor Bundle is available with more resources including tables signs, phonics posters, colour posters etc at my Teachers Pay Teachers store: Crayon Lane Teach.
Overall, there are so many benefits to decorating your classroom, one of the main reasons being ensuring your students feel welcome as soon as they walk through the door! Keeping in mind what makes a great classroom display will ensure your bulletin boards are as stimulating and engaging as possible! Remember to check out my list of top 10 Classroom Décor Items you will need or if you prefer, create your own list. This will help you be way more organised when decorating your new classroom.