Decorating the classroom for a brand new year of school was arguably one of my favorite things about being a teacher. Chances are if you’re in the primary classroom. . . you probably love classroom decor too! After all, fabulous classroom decor can transform a dreary, boring space into a bright and happy learning environment for your students!
As fun as it is though… deciding what to use in your classroom decor can be a little overwhelming at times. Over the years, I have found there are a few items that are absolute must-haves. Today I’m sharing seven essential classroom decor elements and how to use them in your room!
First, Choose A Classroom Decor Theme
This part is so fun! Before you get started, think about what kind of theme you’re looking to bring to the classroom. Every year is a chance to try something new, so don’t worry if you’re torn – there’s always next year!
Maybe you want something bright and cheery like polka dots or chevron. Or perhaps you have a favorite animal to include like playful penguins. Or, maybe you’re representing some school colors and want your decor to match!
No matter what you choose, having a coordinated set of decor items will help transform your classroom. Classroom decor can reflect your personality and help your students feel “at home” during the school day. Have fun choosing a classroom decor theme that best reflects YOU!
1. Start With Classroom Decor Reference Posters
Now that you have a theme picked, let’s get to decorating! First up, I found it helpful to choose a place in the room for all of those reference posters students will need to refer back to throughout the year.
Including these elements in your classroom decor will not only help tie your theme together, but they will be fantastic points of reference for your students. These tend to take up a bit of space, so it’s a good idea to choose where they will go first and then build the rest of your decor around them.
2. Find A Great Calendar Set
In first grade, we really dive into calendar math. By this age, my kiddos have a fair bit of practice using a calendar and are ready to take it a step further. Having a fantastic calendar set as part of your classroom decor is an absolute must-have in my book.
During calendar time, your students can practice SO many valuable skills! The set that I like to use will help students target a variety of skills including:
- Place Value
- More or Less
- Skip Counting
- Ways to Make Numbers
- Fact Families
- Days of the Week
- Shapes, Money & Telling Time
- Holidays & Events
As you can see, with a comprehensive calendar math set up in your classroom decor set, you can help your students learn SO much much more than just the date. This is a great addition to your daily meeting and morning work routine!
3. Classroom Decor Labels for All The Things
Teachers and students NEED to be organized. I am sure you have felt the effects of a disorderly classroom at some point in your teaching career – it’s no fun for anyone!
My favorite way to keep the classroom organized is by making sure everything has a label. I love using labels for book bins in our classroom library because it makes it SO much easier for my firsties to put things back in the correct place. Whether you use book labels for reading level or genre, these will really help your kiddos out.
Labels also come in pretty handy on plastic drawer sets. In my classroom, I always enjoyed having labels that read “copy, grade & file” to help me remember exactly where to put each paper that ended up on my desk. I also loved using drawers labeled by day of the week and refilling them with activities that will correspond to what we will do for that week. This allows me to get all those copies made an organized before the week starts.
And finally, don’t forget to label your classroom centers as well! This is a great way to help reinforce to students what area of the classroom they should be in during center time. If someone was assigned to the math center and seems to be wandering to another area, you can easily nudge them back by pointing out the center signs. This visual is also great for back-to-school night when parents will be exploring the classroom and trying to visualize how their child will be learning in your classroom.
4. Use Clock Labels To Teach Telling Time
Learning to tell time is no easy feat, but using supportive classroom decor clock labels makes it just a little bit easier! These are a must in my book, especially in the primary grades when telling time is so new to students.
My favorite sets include visual references in five-minute increments to help students learn to tell time. Not only are these a super cute addition to your classroom decor, but they are a great tool to reinforce important time skills all year long!
5. Every Classroom Needs A Word Wall
I just love word walls. These are such a great way to help your students grow their vocabulary, remember new words you’re learning and provide spelling reminders as needed.
In my classroom, I liked to sort words by letter on a fun and festive word wall.
Each time we introduced a new high-frequency or vocabulary word, I added it to our word wall.
This is a great resource for students during your writing block as well as literacy centers. I recommend using a set that features editable cards so that you can add any word you need to your custom word wall classroom decor display!
6. Create Classroom Jobs
Students LOVE having a special job in the classroom. Including a student job board in your classroom decor is a great way to build community, promote responsibility, and help students feel a sense of ownership in the classroom.
Some great jobs to include in your classroom decor job display are:
- Door Holder
- Recycle Helper
- Paper Passer
- Line Leader
- Attendance Helper
- Table Washer
There are a ton more job titles you can include; it just depends on your classroom layout and schedule needs. I definitely recommend using a classroom jobs decor set with editable cards. Your students will look forward to hearing their new job assignments each week!
7. Don’t Forget About Classroom Management
Ahhh, classroom management – everyone’s favorite thing right? Maybe not, but having some solid systems and visuals in place will make this part of your teacher life SO much easier.
In my classroom, I always found it super helpful to have a great set of classroom rule posters. Displaying classroom expectations not only helps you teach them at the beginning of the year, but they remain as a visual reminder for students.
Having classroom rule posters displayed in your room will allow you to simply remind your kiddos to “check the rules” and see if their actions are in line.
This is a great way to prompt them to assess their own behaviors and quickly reevaluate their choices.
Visual Directions Cards
Once kiddos understand the rules of your room, they will likely be moving on to work independently in various situations during the year.
Make sure to include visual direction cards in your classroom decor setup. It will be a lifesaver when you’re trying to teach students how to work independently.
Direction cards will allow you to provide a visual cue for your students. This helps them know what comes next in their activity, even if they forgot what you said. These are super helpful when you’re running a small group and need the rest of your kiddos to work independently on another activity.
Choosing Classroom Decor For Your Space
Now that you know exactly what to include in your classroom decor, are you ready to get to it?!
I know it can feel a bit overwhelming sometimes trying to make sure you include all of the essential pieces of classroom decor in your plan. But, hopefully, this helped you narrow down your list!
While there are tons of great resources out there and options for making your own decor, all of the materials mentioned in this post can be found below. I have bundled each of my classroom decor theme sets together. They each include all 7 of these essential components (plus a few other items) so you can find everything you need in one, coordinated resource. Check them all out here!
Save These Ideas For Later
Don’t forget to Pin this post to your favorite classroom Pinterest board. Then, you’ll be all set when it comes time to decide on classroom decor for your room! Happy decorating!