Classroom decor has had a boom in recent years. It now holds its own on the ever popular sites of Pinterest, Etsy, and TpT teacher stores. Teachers have created niche markets for all sorts of subsets of decorating. Many sell labels, lettering patterns, border patterns, organizational cuteness, and my favorite, the daily premade design slides, for your morning messages. Oh, and so much more. Basically, if you can dream it, a teacher has created it, and sells it somewhere in our internet shop universe. When I began, twenty-eight years ago, I used to cut out my letters and my own shapes, with the antiquated, but still functioning die-cut machine. The lack of variety was real, but all letters and a few shapes, such as apples and bunnies were available. This allowed construction paper to take on shapes and sizes needed to label and decorate bulletin boards. I topped that off with posters that related to the subject matter. That my friends is basic.
Room creation has evolved over the years. Border with ridges (the free stuff) is no longer a thought. It is time for high design and a teachers A type behavior rolled into one. It’s a thing and a little neurotic. I started planning and buying in May. Long lost are bland borders and construction shapes. No, we have full themes and color schemes that have become cutesy living areas. Teachers have been introduced to the ways of the circuit machine or premade letters in a variety of styles and shapes. However, in my case I just order pre-cut products from Etsy. It’s easier and possibly cheaper as the machines and vinyl are pricey and I have no true interest in the creation of the craft, just using the products and saving time. Goodbye die-cut. Hello Etsy and Amazon. We complete our pseudo homes with flexible furniture, couches, stages, flickering lights, and fake shiplap. The classroom to me was always to be a functional and less fussy area highlighting my students work and not taking their eyes away from the all important time on task, but with a homey feel. But in recent years, I have fallen into the craze of crazy themes. This year I am “Chalkboard Brights.” This is a happy mixture of downhome farmhouse with color. My accent choice is teal. Now my school color is purple but I cannot stand purple. I tried that last year. Ripped it all down and went with a black and white modern vibe. You have to love your room as you live in these walls and it is a reflection of love towards your kids. My rooms have always felt comfy and kids have loved them throughout the years, but this year I upped my game. On purpose. Not to fit in with the younger crowd, but to give my kids a new feel, as they are rolling up with me from the 6th grade.
The process is just that a process. You start with a vision, materials prepped and ready, and enter a room turned upside down from summer cleaning. It’s a moment. All told from furniture to decor it takes me a good week to create my little piece of heaven. This past year I hurt myself, so I had a few students help me with the process. First time with help. It was odd. It has always been me and my room in silence with the blasting of Queen. So, while I knew I needed the assistance. I was not sure what they could pull off in reference to design. So I organized a lesson plan for a day and a half of design and fun. We began with an overview of my vision, materials available, and the point of reference of straight is very important in my world. Throughout our time together they learned color, balance, and how to create function with style. They were cute and actually took away more than I can teach from a podium. Measurement, word choice, structure, and pride in work and the final project. They were adorable and as one student put it, “Mrs L. I never knew teachers did this, I thought principals did everyones room.” I laughed. For memories such as this funny comment and just seeing their overall dedication, it is my favorite room. I cannot wait until my kids enter on their first day and I can share how hard their friends worked. It just might give all of my kids a new perspective on how a teachers year actually starts. Maybe!
Pinterest people. Pinterest!