When you’re in your classroom do you feel confident and comfortable? Do your students? As high school teachers, we often shy away from classroom decor ideas because so many options out there are geared more towards elementary. But there are options that address the ultimate goal of classroom decor: to create a positive, engaging, and inviting learning environment.
But how to do that without skewing too young or ‘baby-ish’ as students might say? It’s easier than you think! And you don’t have to spend a fortune to create the ideal environment for your and your students. Here are seven classroom decor ideas that you can use in your high school classroom to create the environment you want.
Tips to Make An Inviting Learning Environment
While we’re focused on the topic of classroom decor ideas there are lots of ways beyond just what’s on the walls that contribute to creating an inviting learning environment for you and your students.
- Plan your policies and procedures first. These elements will help to clarify what and where you put things in your classroom.
- If a student misses work, where will they gather the previous day’s work?
- Where will you collect students’ work?
- What space can be used for open storage?
- If you have a no cell phone policy, what options might you include to encourage students to put them away? Cell phone holders or a charging station often encourage students to part with their beloved devices.
The question is where will you locate these items in your classroom? A lot of your classroom decor ideas will stem from these sorts of decisions.
- Decide on desk layout(s). Like most things, real estate classroom decor ideas also depend on location, location, location. How will you arrange your desks in your classroom? Is it simply a matter of making sure all students can see the board? Do you want to be able to include flexible seating or change up desk locations to facilitate group work? These factors will also affect what you put in your classroom.
- Create a positive space. Decorations can make the classroom more welcoming, comfortable, and visually appealing. This can help students feel more relaxed, engaged, and motivated to learn. For some students, overhead lighting is obtrusive so you might use dimmer lights or lamps or maybe even some fairy lights strategically around the room. Even this small shift can have a big impact on the learning environment.
Another option that allows for more change is making use of the screen in your room. Many people have those fancy televisions that look like a work of art hanging on the wall, and while your whiteboard may never appear like it’s really a Picasso, you could still incorporate options to display before or during class outside of lesson time. In the winter months, I love using a fireplace option to set the mood in the classroom.
- Incorporate learning opportunities. Classroom decorations can serve as visual aids that reinforce important concepts, vocabulary, or information. This can make it easier for students to remember and apply what they’ve learned. Use your content to decorate your classroom!
One of the sure-fire ways to incorporate decor and learning is to create word walls. Check out this complete word wall set for Earth and Space Science. These can be changed out easily to fit different units or if you’re a Type B teacher you can simply use a standard set that can apply across multiple units.
- Inspire creativity. The classroom decor ideas don’t all have to be pre-purchased options. Incorporating student work and student ideas is an ideal option to ensure the classroom belongs to everyone in the room. Plus, decorations can inspire creativity and imagination by showcasing different art forms, literary works, or cultural expressions. This can encourage students to think outside the box and express themselves in unique ways, whether that’s in their contribution to the classroom decor or the lesson.
- Create a sense of belonging. Classroom decorations can help create a sense of belonging and identity for students by showcasing their work, interests, or achievements. This can foster a sense of community and pride in the classroom.
- Make a space for you too! While the goal of these ideas for classroom decor is to create a positive and engaging learning environment, we must also take into account that this is a teacher’s space too. So make sure you have “YOU” space for your desk, computer, and teaching essentials. Check out this shoppable list of options that are ideal for a teacher’s own space.
Some Final Words on Classroom Decor Ideas
High school teachers can use classroom theme ideas to decorate their rooms and they can do it without options that are deemed baby-ish. There are a variety of options to incorporate subject-specific and student-specific ideas to make your classroom a welcoming space for everyone. Shop this list of must-haves to make your classroom your own.
And the big thing to remember is that your classroom is a constant work in progress and can change many times throughout the school year. If something isn’t working anymore, change it up! If students have ideas they’d like to include and that works for you too, change it up! And even if it’s just a matter of feeling a change is needed part way through the year, then change it up!
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