Dear Future Teachers,
With the 2022-2023 school year beginning, I wanted to create a bit of a more lighthearted post. If you're on Teacher TikTok, you've probably seen teachers posting videos of their classroom decorating process. Not only are these fun videos to watch, it also demonstrates the importance of creating an enriching environment for your students to learn in! The videos I've seen not only provide decorating inspiration, but they also spark important conversations around the amount of money and time teachers dedicate to create a unique classroom space.
While teaching is much more than simply decorating a classroom, the environment students learn in can impact their focus and education. There are elements one can add into their classroom to provide enhanced learning for students, and I personally believe these elements shouldn't have to come solely out of a teacher's personal funds. This week's post will list some of the classroom elements I've learned about in my own classes as well as videos of some of the neat classrooms I've seen this year!
Why Classroom Decoration/Organization is Important
In my classes, we've learned that the educational environment can be a tool to aid in learning. I've been taught that your classroom walls should not be bare, but they should also not be too cluttered so as not to distract your students. Teachers can hang up important resources on their walls and use the space as a means to connect students with the content they will be learning in your classroom. Some teachers will decorate more than others, but it's important to put up decorations that are relevant to learning (i.e. vocabulary, learning objectives, etc.). While some decorations can be more for aesthetic, please remember that there's more to a classroom than its general color scheme!
I've also learned that organizing the structure of your classroom can impact student learning. Depending on the size of your classroom, you may be able to create different sections for various purposes. Some examples include: a small group section, a reading/writing station, dramatic play station, and a "cool down" corner. Whatever stations or designated areas that you include in your classroom, make sure to structure them in a way that makes sense! One example in class that I took note of is remembering not to put a station of quiet activities right next to a louder and more active station to help minimize any distractions for students.
Elements to include in your classroom
Wondering what kind of elements you can include to decorate and organize your classroom space? I've listed a few ideas below!
Part of your wall can be dedicated to displaying student work. It allows students to feel pride in their work and also shows that you value the contributions they make.
Anchor charts/word walls are a great resource that you can connect with what your students are learning. Make sure to be intentional with the content you hang up so that it provides meaning for students and they can connect it to their learning!
To help students learn the routines of your classroom, hanging up labels for various stations or resources (such as work students may have missed if they are absent from school or turn-in bins!) can be beneficial. You can take classroom labels a step further and incorporate other languages that your students may speak in your labels to support emergent bilinguals!
Literacy is such a vital skill to teach to students, so you can create a literacy-rich environment for your students through your decoration/organization. This could include, but is not limited to: providing a classroom library, creating a cozy reading corner with comfortable seating, or displaying different literacy resources around the room.
Especially for younger grades, a cool-down corner is a great alternative to traditional disciplinary practices. For small misbehaviors or refocusing a student, a cool-down corner filled with peaceful imagery and words, breathing exercises, and fidget tools can help students work on their self-regulation skills and rejoin their class. Students can use this corner when they are feeling overwhelmed by their emotions and need to regroup!
Check Out These TikTok Teachers and Their Classrooms!
Now I'd love to uplift some teachers who have popped up on my TikTok over the last few weeks. Not only do they include some of the elements I've mentioned in this post, but I also feel that these videos show how hard teachers work for their students even before they've even met them!
Check out their account on TikTok @heyyy_brittney
Completed Classroom Tour!
2. Check out their account on TikTok @brookeardenparker
3. Check out their account on TikTok @saraa_jamess
4. Check out their account on TikTok @josiebensko
5. Check out their account on TikTok @juanvillela94
6. Check out their account on TikTok @fangirlhaley
For my future teachers, I hope these ideas are helpful when planning your own classroom space! It can be intimidating to start decorating a classroom that is completely new to you, but don't fret! It doesn't have to be perfect or Pinterest-worthy. It is a space that you create for your students to learn and feel supported by their teacher. Make the space yours! I also hope you enjoyed the few videos included in this post! If you're anything like me, it's fun to watch teachers create a space they are proud of. There are so many more educators out there to learn tips and tricks from, don't hesitate to listen and gain skills from others!