Classroom Decorations that Increase Student Engagement
As much as I love summer, I think I love Back-to-School season even more! There are deals and sale galore, and new ideas to put into action. The opportunity for new beginnings is all around, and I just can’t wait to get into my new 5th grade classroom and get things set up! One thing I am always aware of though, is HOW I set up my classroom. There are some specific things I do to make sure I am using Classroom Decorations that Increase Student Engagement.
If you have ever been in a school, you know that some teachers LOVE their decorations! In fact, the number of decorations seems to be directly related to the level of teaching – with elementary schools being the most colorful, highly decorated schools out there! Unfortunately, there have been a few studies that have come out in recent years that actually discourage the use of too many decorations, so I decided to dig a little deeper.
It turns out that there are some pretty simple guidelines to follow that will help your students stay engaged, instead of distracting them with too many colors and shiny things. So we can have the cute, decorated classrooms we want, and still keep our students engaged in learning at the same time! I am totally planning on taking some of these suggestions to heart this year.
The first thing I am going to focus on is sticking to one theme! It seems that if the room decorations revolve around one theme, that is less distracting to students. One color pallette, one fun font, and a cute design to draw it all together helps decorate without overwhelming students. If you are looking for something theme-based that is new and fresh, feel free to check out this Cactus Water Color Classroom Theme Set.
The next thing I am going to focus on is having a spot to showcase student work. Including a space like this in decorations accomplishes two goals. When there is no student work up, there is plenty of white space on the wall – which is not distracting to students. Once work is put up, students can reflect on their work, and it can become a discussion prompt for bell work, a writing prompt, or just about anything else you need it to be! The kit mentioned above (Cactus Water Color Classroom Theme Set) has the perfect place-holder for just such a space!
The last thing I am going to make sure I do is use plenty of dual-purpose decorations around the room. According to the studies, as long as the decoration can be used to teach or instruct, it can stay! The old days of the one-word inspirational poster (TEAMWORK on a boat, anyone?) are long gone. Decorations that serve multiple purposes besides just a wall covering are the expectation now. I love this kit for just this reason! It has calendar labels, growth mindset and mathematical thinking posters, and more planning pages than you could probably ever need – plus so much more!
I can’t wait to get back to my classroom and see what I’m feeling for a theme this year. I know that the classroom environment is sometimes considered the “Third Teacher” for students (behind parents and teachers), so I’m excited to make it as useful as possible! I will avoid the chaos that comes from mixing themes and color palettes, and hopefully create a space with classroom decorations that increase student engagement this year. Don’t we all want engaged kiddos in a cute classroom? Looking forward to seeing what you do with your room this back-to-school season!