Summer Series: Creating the Classroom of Your Dreams - The Classroom Nook


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Summer Series: Creating the Classroom of Your Dreams

Ahhhh- summer vacay.  Nothing like it, right?  The pace of life slows down (usually) and you finally have time to do all those Pinterest projects that you've pinned throughout the year (maybe - let's not get carried away).

Well - the truth of the matter is, teachers never completely shut it off 100%.  We're always thinking of ideas for our classrooms, making those mental checklists in our head, and planning.

It's in the genes :).  The only difference between being a teacher during the school year and being a teacher during the summer is a margarita in our hands instead of a Mr. Sketch marker  :)

Don't get me wrong, I want you to enjoy your summer, I do.  But I also want to help you plan a little at a time so that you aren't scrambling at the end of the summer.  That's why I've create the JUMPStart 30 Day Challenge that is going on RIGHT NOW.  You can read all the details here.

In addition to the live challenge, I am also hosting a summer series here on the blog with posts all about prepping for the school year without sucking away your summer fun.

Today's Topic:  Creating the Classroom of Your Dreams

Truth be told:  I looooooove me a pretty classroom.  I drool am inspired on Pinterest at the amazing classrooms that teachers put together.

But - the reality is, we're just seeing the finished product of those amazing-looking classroom. There's a lot of planning and work that went on behind it.  So, let me break it down a bit to help YOU create the classroom of your dreams.

Tip 1:  Consider a Classroom Theme or Color Scheme
Now - you don't have to go crazy here to be effective.  The idea behind having a classroom theme or color scheme is so that everything in your classroom seems to "fit."

Having a theme or color scheme helps you to stay focused when you are decorating your classroom.  
For example, a color scheme will keep your from getting distracted from buying items that don't match your color scheme (step AWAY from that cute green basket - it doesn't match your teal and black classroom :))

Classroom themes are great for inspiring bulletin board titles, classroom names, and other titles used throughout the classroom.  Got a jungle theme?  Easy.  Instead of "Word Wall," for your bulletin board title, make it more exciting by titling it "Wild Words."  Much more inviting.  Repeat this idea with all your other boards and classroom titles, and now you've got a classroom that looks polished and cohesive.

Themes and color schemes create a unique learning environment that students feel special to be apart of.  Your students will feel proud to be apart of Mrs. Smith's Rockin' Readers Club (Rock and Roll Theme), Mr. Jones' Top Bananas (Jungle Theme), or a member of the classroom that has the unique bright entrance of neon colors that you can't miss when walking down the hall.  Themes and color schemes create that WOW-factor.

If you're looking for some ready-to go color schemes or classroom themes, check out one of my collections of popular themes and mix & match color schemes:

Tip 2:  Don't go over-board
Once you choose a theme or color scheme, keep it simple.  Too many patterns or variations of a color will be over-whelming and begin to look haphazard.  Up to three colors/patterns that compliment each other work great, much more than that starts to look too busy.  You can always use a color like black, gray, or white as an accent color to make your main colors stand out.

Tip 3:  Choose an accent piece or wall to really draw attention.
You don't have to spend a ton of money to make an huge impact.  Just choose one or two larger items or displays to really distinguish your theme or color scheme, or choose an area of your room to go all out.  Here are some ideas:

  • Purchase a large rug for your gathering area that matches your theme or color scheme.
  • Create an accent area or wall that represents your theme to display in your classroom.  Here are some examples that work great!
  •  I also LOVE this idea for a tree in your classroom.  Here's a video to show how it's done!

Tip 4: Spray Paint!
Painting is one of the cheapest ways to customize a look for your classroom.  Choose colors that match your theme or color scheme and go to town (as much as your school will allow!)  Here are some things you might consider spray painting to make your dream look come to life:

Tip 5:  Design on a Dime
Don't spend your first pay check before you even get it trying to decorate your classroom!

There are a lots ways to design a classroom with cheap materials.  Here are my go-to resources and materials that I've used for designing on a dime!
  • Use fabric for bulletin board backgrounds
  • Buy cheap plastic container, bins, baskets...etc.. at the dollar store and spray paint them to customize for your room (see tip 3!)
  • Create no-sew skirts to cover shelves, place around a desk, or to make valences (like this). Customize by choosing the fabric that matches your classroom look!  Easy-peasy!
  • Use tissue paper for - well - EVERYTHING!  Pom-Poms to hang from the ceiling, bulletin board accents, garland, rainbows - the list goes on!
  • Use patterned duck tape or washi tape to add accents to your plastic pins, as boards to your personal-sized dry-erase boards, as bulletin board borders, around cup holders, over the front of drawers or anything else that could use a pop of color.
Here are some of my favorite "design on a dime" looks:

Finally - take time to plan it all out before you become a decorating machine.  Sketch out what you want your classroom to look like, make lists, research, and decide what will work in your classroom.

Happy decorating!

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