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Annette's Notes, Issue #003 -- Portable Classroom Decor
June 14, 2014

Portable Classroom Decor

As teachers, we work hard to make our classrooms visually appealing to our students. I also like to make sure I am including lots of purposeful, visual reminders of what we are learning. I want the decor to be more than just fun and attention getting; I want it to help the kids remember what we have learned, even when we are not talking about it.

A few years ago I also began making my classroom decor more portable, mostly out of necessity and mainly due to two different situations:

  • I needed to divide a very large area (gym) into learning zones to make the area more manageable for teaching kids.
  • I needed to share my classroom; other classes or departments used the same space on other days.

While these situations did not seem ideal at first, I soon discovered several advantages to using portable decor:
  • You can easily move portable decor to a temporary venue if required, such as when your classroom is being painted.
  • You can easily take some of your portable decor into “big” church when the kids make their “see what we’ve been learning” presentation.
  • You can easily take your portable decor outside: to the church parking lot, a park, or another location suitable for an outdoor class.
  • You can easily rearrange your classroom; move the visuals, along with the chairs and tables, to create a new look mid-quarter.
  • If you make your portable decor sturdy and store it carefully, you can reuse it over the course of several years. You can also easily pull out visuals for random review of things you learned months ago.
  • You can move key visuals to a prominent position so that parents can see at a glance (when dropping off and picking up) what their children are learning.

Here are some examples of portable decor / visuals we have made and use regularly:

Printing song lyrics and illustrations and attaching them to poster board gives them some sturdiness while keeping them lightweight. Kids can hold the songs up for the class to sing from; you can also easily tack them to a bulletin board.

Our rules ("Power Hour Promises") are mounted on a piece of foam board. Foam board is sturdier than poster board and can stand upright against a wall or be placed on a easel for display.

Group Memory Work Project
Sometimes we work on memorizing a portion of scripture together by repeating it each week over the course of a quarter or year. Foam board gives the printed verses extra sturdiness to hold up to frequent handling and also enables us to lean/stand it in various places around the classroom.

Books of the Bible
All 66 books of the Bible with their divisions can be placed on a cardboard display board, such as is used for school projects. These boards are great because they can stand alone pretty much anywhere: on the floor, a table, outside your classroom door. We move our Books of the Bible board around the room and use it to assist the kids in finding verses in their Bibles, as well as to work on memorizing the books.

Quarterly Display Board
A cardboard display board also works great as a very portable recap / review board to which you can add a visual related to each each lesson as you go through a quarter. You can place a banner at the top, and the board will neatly display twelve 8.5"x11" sheets of paper beneath.

Larger Display Board
For a display board which can hold visuals from a longer series of lessons, and yet still be portable, we use corrugated plastic. This comes in various colors and can be purchased from a sign printing shop for a reasonable price (also check home improvement stores). You can ask your print shop to cut the corrugated plastic to your specifications. Also have them insert metal grommets so you can use fishing line or other string to hang the board. We have hung ours off frames made from PVC pipes or from metal stands. These boards also stand well on their own when leaned against a wall.

Corrugated plastic is also great for a portable timeline. We use this timeline throughout the year, adding people and events as we study them when we use our Adventures on Route 66 curriculum. After the year is over, we take down the characters and events but leave the timeline attached to the board to reuse at a later date.

Room Dividers
Room dividers made from corrugated plastic are easily moved and rearranged. You can choose some bright colors or even have your print shop print the name of your class or other information ("Bible Center," "Craft Corner," etc.) on the corrugated plastic.

Tips for Portable Classroom Decor / Visuals:

  • If possible, use a printer rather than hand lettering visuals; printing is neater and easier to read.
  • Use brightly colored paper; I often print in black on colored paper, rather than using up lots of colored ink.
  • Use fun but legible fonts; you don’t want to confuse young readers.

Think About It

Ask yourself:
  • Could I use portable decor to make my teaching space more visually appealing while also reinforcing what we are learning?
  • Would making some of my visuals portable increase their usefulness?

If you have any questions or comments about these ideas, feel free to contact me. I love hearing from you!



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