Saturday, July 5, 2014

Classroom Decor... Keep It Simple, Keep It FREE!

Hi, Teaching Friends!

Are you dreaming and scheming about how your classroom might be looking for the upcoming school year?  The blogs and shops are full of some pretty fancy and cute stuff! Maybe you're thinking about using a pattern like chevrons, or going all out with a theme like pirates, outer space, or monkeys.

Or maybe you're just thinking about how expensive it will be to outfit your room in a jazzy theme.
It might also have crossed your mind that a Hawaiian theme is going to be a little tricky to sustain around Christmas.

I am not opposed to using themes, and have seen photos on Pinterest (as I'm sure you also have) of some truly amazing classroom themes that teachers have created. I've read that many teachers say that it makes their classrooms feel like home ... and of course your classroom should be a welcoming and comfortable place.

But I do have some misgivings about visual clutter, and how the "busy-ness" of some themes might be throwing some extra hurdles in front of struggling learners. You can read about some of those concerns here.

If you're looking for a simpler alternative, here are some freebies from my blog, all centered on aqua, lime green, and a bit of yellow.  There's a lot here, so I hope you'll find something that you'll be able to use!


Click here to see a simple welcome poster, a quiet reading poster, and a hundred chart.

Click here for your days of the week signs in English and Spanish.

Here's a simple set of visual directions cards, easy reminders for your kiddos who are just learning to read words like "cut" and "glue".

To organize your students as they rotate through work stations, try these signs in the same color theme.
Set the tone before the year even starts with these free back to school treat bag toppers.
Here's everything you'll need for your calendar - headers, numbers, and more than 50 event markers for just about every holiday and classroom events, too.

Next up - storage labels for your classroom containers, with lots of blank ones, too.
When you're looking for award notes and incentive charts ... here they are!
Here are 38 schedule cards for your pocket chart, everything from Morning Meeting to Math Workshop.
To round out your aqua, lime, and yellow theme, here's a name tag and alphabet card set. The desk labels are a learning tool that I call Study Buddies. They're great for when a student is finished a moment or two before the rest of the class and gives you the "what do I do now?" look. "Read your Study Buddy": count by ones, fives, and tens, read color words, read the alphabet chart - "A, apple, /a/", count up and back on the number line, trace your name with your finger, ...
I'd love to hear your thoughts on using themes in decorating classrooms. Please leave a comment here at Teaching Blog Roundup or on my blog, Primary Inspiration.
Happy Teaching!


  1. I am a "No Theme" Theme kind of girl! :) That doesn't mean I have a boring classroom. Rather, I coordinate by maintaining a balance in color and structure. Still, when I see these amazing rooms pictured in blogs and Pinterest I often wonder if I should reconsider my decorating philosophy. But then, I've had numerous administrators and parents positively comment on my room environment. So I shall consider with my mantra "less is more" and create a warm, welcoming environment without sensory overload. Thanks for a thought-provoking post filled with lots of goodies!

    1. That should be ... "So I shall continue with ...."

    2. Thanks, Mrs. Yazzie! I appreciate your thoughts. I'm with you all the way on "less is more". It also leaves more room to display anchor charts made with your students, as well as student work .

  2. Linda, I totally agree! I went back to a more basic theme of black, yellow and chalkboard font. It was much more cohesive!
    Reading and Writing Redhead

    1. I agree, Bex ... I think visual clutter (cute clutter, but clutter still) overwhelms struggling learners. Thanks for your comment!