Your classroom is an important space for so many reasons. You can create displays and features that help to support your students’ learning, make spaces for specific tasks like reading, and feature important information. But it’s not just key for learning, it’s also the space that you and your students will spend a LOT of time in, and it’s important to consider the impact the space will have on how you feel when you spend so much time there. It’s a space you want to feel comfortable in. We know the classroom is an important space, but with so many other tasks on a teacher’s to do list, it can be hard to find the time to decorate your classroom the way you want. So, we’ve put together some time-saving hacks to decorate and organise your classroom quickly, so you can enjoy our space even if you’re a little short on time. We've used photos from our Mystic Night pack here, but we have a whole range of different designs so there's something for everyone!
Download a display pack
This is our number one tip – saving time for teachers is one of the reasons we designed our display packs in the first place! You don’t need to make everything from scratch yourself, it's okay to use pre-made resources like ours. We have a whole range of designs so you can get the best of both worlds: saving time with pre-made resources, but also using resources that match your style. Plus, our resources are editable so you can customise everything to suit your needs. No need to design drawer labels and folder labels from scratch yourself, just pick a design you like, type in the name of the labels you need, and print.
Take photos before you start
We try to avoid it, but many of us do some work at home, especially over the summer as we are preparing our classroom for the next year and want to come into school ready get going. If this sounds like you, then make sure you take pictures of your classroom before you head home for the summer. You’ll be able to use these for reference if you’re planning your classroom at home and can’t pop in to check out the space as you go. If you know how many display boards you have and their rough size, can see other open wall spaces, and know where areas are like a sink or reading corner, this will help you so much when you come to plan what’s going to go where. If you have a thorough plan when you step into your classroom, decorating will be much faster and more efficient.
Organise your supplies
Number 1 – sort out where your supplies will go. Teachers have a lot of physical items that need to go into the classroom – books, writing tools, scissors, art supplies, the list goes on. Life will be smoother if everything has a place, and you know where this place is, so we recommend labels! Our display packs come with all kinds of different labels in the design you choose, so once you find a home for art supplies, you can label it. Organising all of your physical things will save you time looking for things when you need them. We especially recommend doing this with little items you’ll need all the time when decorating your classroom, like pins, staples, and sticky tack. We love the teacher toolbox: a little drawer set for your desk that holds all of these things. So when you’re trying to get your classroom sorted quickly, you know where you can find everything you’ll need.
Prioritise key areas
It would be great to get your entire classroom decorated from top to bottom, but if you’re short on time or you have a lot of other work to do, that might not happen – at least, not before the first day of school. So take a step back and think about the most important areas, and start with those. Your school may have some policies to take into account here, for example, they may want every classroom to have a maths-focused board. You might also want to prioritise things that will ensure safety and keep things running smoothly, by adding safety reminders by the sink, labelling resources the children will get themselves, and display any routines or rules you want the children to know, such as where to store water bottles. Have a think about the areas that will make the biggest impact, either visually or functionally, and start there so you know they will be done.
Co-create reusable displays
A great way to save time on making your displays is to create a display together with your class! This can be a great getting-to-know-you activity for the start of the year, you could have an ‘all about me’ display, or a display where each student can share a goal or wish for the year. Co-creating displays can also work well for subject-focused boards. At the start of a maths unit, you can ask the children what they already know and you could make some posters – if it would be helpful to have some number facts and reminders of the four operations on a board, the children could each design a reference poster and you can display some of them on a maths board. This way, you’re revising knowledge that they’ll be drawing on and then making use of this work for your board.
Grow into it
Don’t feel like you have to decorate every single part of your classroom all at once, and all ready for the very first day of the year. You might have big plans and big ideas, but don’t pressure yourself to do it all at once. You can still create a beautiful classroom with a few simple things – some fun printable borders (like the ones from our display packs), some well-labelled resources, and maybe a plant. As you use your classroom, it will become yours. You can add things here and there as you have time or as you notice things that would be helpful – if you’re always reaching for a resource that’s tucked away, bring it out somewhere more accessible. If you’re often referencing a piece of information, add it to a wall. Hang a string somewhere and peg up some beautiful paintings from an art lesson. Grow into your room!