Setting up your classroom so it’s warm, welcoming and conducive to learning is one of the most important activities you’ll do as you gear up for the school year. Here are 10 creative and inexpensive ideas for adding functionality and fun to your classroom.
1. Use wall space wisely
There never seems to be quite enough space on your desk or work tables for all the supplies, books and papers in your classroom. Hanging supply holders are the answer! Use removable hooks (like the ones 3M makes) to suspend colorful plastic baskets on the wall. Fill the baskets with supplies like pencils or crayons or use them as homework turn-in stations.
2. Make rearranging quick and quiet
The screech of desks and chairs being moved is worse than nails on a chalkboard. Make moving desks and chairs so students can work in pairs or groups a quiet, easier task by popping tennis balls onto the legs. Just slit a tennis ball and slip it on. Your furniture will slide easily and silently across the floor.
3. Doing double duty
File cabinets can do more than just keep papers neat and tidy. Push two together to create an inexpensive magnet board where you can display student work, post homework assignments, or even decorate it like a bulletin board. Give your new magnet board a little flair by covering the side of your filing cabinets with a piece of polka dot or colorful fabric. All you need are magnets to keep the fabric in place.
4. Straight lines, please
Whether you’re leaving for lunch or heading to the library, getting students out the door in an orderly fashion can be a challenge. Putting line up stickers on the floor provides a clear visual reminder to students of how to form a straight line. Cut circles out of colorful contact paper or floor tape and write numbers on them. Start with #1 at the doorway. Be sure to leave enough space in between stickers to keep students from crowding up.
5. Readymade desk caddies
Don’t recycle those cardboard six-pack holders quite yet! Cover them with wrapping paper or patterned duct tape then use them to organize desk or art supplies.
6. Use color as a visual aid
Help students find just the right books for their reading levels by color coding your bookshelf. Paint each shelf a different color—one for each reading level. This is a great way to organize your books and make your classroom a little more colorful.
7. Give them (or yourself) more space
Place a shoe rack with multiple shelves at workstations or on your own desk to keep work areas free of clutter but supplies close at hand.
8. Clear the clutter
Cereal, diaper or all those boxes you get shipped from Amazon can be turned into pretty storage containers for your classroom. Simply cover them with fabric, wrapping paper, contact paper, or duct tape and in an instant you’ll turn a plain cardboard box into a place for students to return library books, turn in homework, store games, and more. Cut the tops off of cereal boxes, stack several on top of each other, tape or glue them together, then cover them with wrapping paper. Voila! You’ve got a classroom mailbox or a tray for stacking papers.
9. Get untangled
Keep all the cords and wires that cause clutter organized and out of sight by slipping them through used paper towel or toilet paper tubes. Paint the cardboard tubes or cover them with wrapping paper to turn an eyesore into something pretty.
10. Zip it up
It’s easy to lose the pieces of puzzles, games and manipulative. Store them in plastic zipper bags then use a binder clip and shower curtain ring to hang them up within easy reach of students on a paper towel holder or curtain rod.
See more tips in our free eBook: download for free today.