The end is near… but a new beginning is not too far away.

Just as I wipe away the tear from my cheek as this school year ends, a spark of excitement twinkles in my eye as I imagine the possibilities of changes that could be made for next school year. Challenge yourself to shake things up and take a different route. Turn the corner and join me on a detour as we consider decor.

Who doesn’t love the excitement of something new?  Getting gifts at Christmas.  A new pair of shoes.  A new outfit or even lipstick.  You can’t wait to use it, wear it, and show it off.  I know there are more like me out there.  We just can’t wait.  Out with the old and in with the new.  So I will be tossing and turning in bed trying to sleep – wide awake imagining all of the possibilities… even the location of my desk for next year (or do I even want to keep that old thing?) 

What really keeps me awake though is the decor and theme.  I am a person who is a bit OCD about coordinating… everything!  The locker labels to the book bins to the helper chart. That perfect decor just continues around the room. In almost every k-2 classroom you enter, you will normally find: alphabet letters, number posters, a calendar. My students always loved the job bulletin board. I loved that it gets everyone chipping in and it’s a great way to build cooperation and a sense of belonging. An interactive word wall allows kids to find the correct spelling while they right. You can find some of these in almost every classroom. But my decor OCD wants more! That is where my detour begins.

Over the years, I have found a few additional ways to sneak the theme into my room. A few ideas help the students learn and develop responsibility (an added bonus). And a few ideas help me be a bit more organized too. Check out the ideas below to see if your decor could take a detour too.

Add a Teachable Display

Students practiced reading sight words in this message.
(Motivation and educational!)

Super heroes can save the day and the décor in any classroom.  It can create a supportive ‘we can conquer’ mind set.  But take it a step further. I used these bright super hero stars to send messages to my class. Why not post content area vocabulary words? Or my favorite – post transition words (first, next, then, finally) for writing activities. How would you use these stars in your room?

Post a Schedule

Imagine your super students knowing which activity they need to go to. A daily schedule is great… but one for math too? It’s one of my new additions that I loved from Day 1. Kids just see their group number and the rotation number and go to their activity. Teacher stress level is going down. Put one up this year.

Students know where to go.
Build independence in your students.

Organize Everything

These pineapple covers are FREE
and editable.
(and will help you get organized.)

Learning is sweet when pineapples fill the room with bright yellow, orange, and green. Sure, it’s trendy and a bit unexpected. However, it could make you feel like you are living the relaxing beach life with all of those pineapples around. Take a detour to the beach and get your stuff organized. Adding binder covers will help you find all of your important papers. You can find the link at the bottom of the post to grab these FREE binder covers that you can EDIT!

Get Crafty

It’s even better when the classroom theme can also be incorporated into learning (and a craft project!)  Especially, during those first few days of the new year. Writing about class rules or ways to be kind reinforces those daily habits you go over and over and over again. So why not have it all come together as a craft project that can also be displayed for Open House or Parent & Teacher Conferences.  What a fun way to review concepts, get an assignment for the grade book, and create some additional artwork for the classroom!  What are you doing the first week with students?

Celebrate Birthdays

Rehab your classroom with some shiplap and make everyone’s birthday a special day worth celebrating.

Birthday treats is not a subject I am not willing to debate – it’s a hot topic at a lot of schools. BUT… Do you celebrate your students’ birthdays at school?

Personally, I had evicted this display from my room years ago. But as students’ home lives have changed, I have brought it back to ensure that their special day is acknowledged.

Students LOVE seeing their birthday posted on a bulletin board – so “celebrate” in some way. I recall my daughter receiving a birthday book that her classmates created in Kindergarten. Each student colored a page and then it was put together and given to her as a keepsake. That would be an easy activity to put into a center. All you need to do is staple the book at the end of the day. Perhaps, older students could interview them asking questions about their favorite this or that. Then each could write/draw about one thing they learned. That could fit into the lesson plans for speaking and writing skills. Does that sound do-able for you?

So as you lay awake pondering about next school year, think about adding something new. Don’t stay on the same route as before. Take a detour and see how the ride can be even better.

5 Detours for Classroom Decor

  1. add a teachable display
  2. post a schedule
  3. organize everything
  4. get crafty
  5. celebrate birthdays

Here’s the link to get you organized.

Have a sweet year!

Let’s survive the adventures of teaching together.