Have you noticed that the time to take care of your physical classroom has gone by the wayside? By physical I mean the walls, the bulletin boards, and those ceiling hooks that cry out for something new to be hung up each month. It takes a lot of time to make a room look inviting, but that very time has been swallowed up by curriculum-heavy schedules. So, where DO you find this so-called “time” to take care of your ever evolving classroom? You have to get creative and share the load! I have some tips that can help.
Decorate in Pieces and Let Your Students Help
- As much as you like it to, a bulletin board does not have to go up complete. REALLY! Don’t wait for a whole pile of writing or projects to be staring up from your desk at the end of your long day! As children finish a project, hang it up while the others continue to work. You save time, and once the first few students have their work up, it motivates the rest to finish! You can even grade those projects right from the board!
- Teach your students where and how to hang projects. Make sure that your children can use staplers or hole punches safely. Train them how to put tape on the back of their work. Think about it…no more wasting time making hundreds of tape squares after school! To make this easy for small hands, teach children to tear or cut off strips of tape and hang them off the sides of their desks. Then have them loop each piece back over itself, sticky side out. They just overlap the ends a little, stick them together, and place them on their projects. Even if you will eventually hang the projects yourself, just having the tape already on the back will really speed things up! If the items will be hung from paper clips hanging down from strings, teach children where and how to hole punch their projects before handing them to you. Hang them up as you continue to monitor the rest of the class. An even faster tip is to switch out paper clips for binder clips.
- Make one of your class jobs a Bulletin Board Helper. Older students especially LOVE this! They can arrange, staple, tape, and even hang borders or titles. They can take down the old items off of the wall or bulletin board and put them into mailboxes. Show them how and where you store titles and borders and let them put them away for you. What a time saver!
- If your students cannot manage the suggestions above, get parent volunteers to come in and hang things. Parents who drop children off in the morning may be willing to stay for 20 minutes to get your bulletin board done or hang projects in the hall before the first bell.
- If something will be hung on paper clips, punch them as you prep OR mark them with an ‘x’ where students will hole punch them BEFORE you do any copying.
- Think about each bulletin board and how you will be changing it throughout the year. As you prepare your room before school starts, layer up the paper or material so that you can remove the current layer and the next one is underneath ready to go.
- This is one of my favorites! Stop hanging individual letters for the titles. Just type the title on your computer using a COOL, BOLD font and print it out. You can use the banner setting and print that way or print as an 8 1/2 x 11 inch sheet in color with cute clip art added. Quickly mount on top of a couple of coordinating construction paper sheets and you are ready to go! Laminate it to make it even faster for the next year!
- Choose bulletin board borders that are neutral instead of decorated and leave them up all year. Then use small seasonal decorations that can be stapled on top of the border. These are faster to switch out than measuring and cutting new borders.
So, don’t give up the look that you want in your room or spend countless hours before and after school every month. Take notice of your habits, and see where you can share the load or take a shortcut. The result will be a classroom that you are proud of when you switch the lights on every morning!
I have nine years of experience teaching 2nd graders and several years as webmaster and technology coach.Visit me on my new blog Primary Wonderland for more tips and ideas or at my Teachers Pay Teachers store!