5 Amazing Classroom Decoration Ideas that engage and inspire.

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Amazing learning happens in inviting classrooms

As teachers we have no control over whether students go home to a happy, stimulating or a caring environment, but we do control the four walls you, and your students will spend some of the most formative moments of their young lives; your classroom.

Your classroom is the space in which you will spend around 1200 hours this year together learning, building relationships, and striving academically and emotionally to achieve.

Whether you like it or not, the decor, style and level of classroom decoration you display is a reflection of you as a teacher, your personality, and a great launchpad to build credibility with parents and students.  

If your students and parents can see your passion,creativity, and ability to manage a classroom respect and credibility is far more easily earned.

Let’s examine some Classroom Decoration Ideas that actually make a difference, and are simple to implement in any style or physical space.

Classroom Door Decoration Ideas

It’s pretty obvious really, but so many teachers overlook their classroom door as a place to  make your first impression with students and parents. Make sure it says “Welcome” above all else, and acknowledge your students as both individuals and members of a team as demonstrated in some of the examples below.

Avoid placing negative or overly authoritarian items on your door, whilst also ensuring it doesn’t look like the entrance to Disneyland.  This door is the entrance to a place to collaborate, create and cooperate together, and above all a place to work. Don’t create a false impression by plastering your door in decoration that screams “We’re all about fun.”

The back of your door  is an excellent place to reinforce important concepts to students about behavior, personal management and organisation.  Students will see these and change hats appropriately as they switch from student to a kid that wants to enjoy their friends in the playground.

Students of all ages will appreciate this aquatic entrance to their classroom

Students of all ages will appreciate this aquatic entrance to their classroom

It’s been done before but it certainly works. You can create this yourself or buy them from places such as  teacherspayteachers.com

It’s been done before but it certainly works. You can create this yourself or buy them from places such as teacherspayteachers.com

Christmas comes to chemistry class. Fun, Easy to create and still educational.

Christmas comes to chemistry class. Fun, Easy to create and still educational.

This door sets expectations, and is welcoming simultaneously.

This door sets expectations, and is welcoming simultaneously.

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Storage and organization Classroom Decoration Ideas

It amazes teachers on the first and last day of school just how large their classrooms are when students are gone, and furniture is pushed up against the walls in preparation for the holidays.  

When twenty something students walk through the door it shrinks dramatically, so storage space and management of your classroom is a really important factor of classroom decoration to get right.

It’s a delicate balancing act.  Whilst minimalism and efficiency is “on-trend” with adults it’s not so impressive to a six year old.  

No matter what path you follow remember to clearly label things with either text or images so that your students never have an excuse for not putting things back where they belong.

Take a look at some of the images below for classroom storage solutions to see if they appeal to you in terms of functionality and aesthetics.

Modular storage from Ikea is cheap and hardy. It looks great also.

Modular storage from Ikea is cheap and hardy. It looks great also.

Knock them out with color and labels

Knock them out with color and labels

Storage can also be seating

Storage can also be seating

Technology can be a struggle to store and charge at times

Technology can be a struggle to store and charge at times

Use your classroom corners as “Great Escape Spaces.”

Regardless of whether you’re teaching in a shared, open plan, or traditional single room classroom you are likely to have a corner that could benefit from an educational ‘makeover.’

Classroom corners can become any number of things to suit you and your students needs so long as you capitalize on the fact they are a place for students to escape the masses and retreat into their own head space.

As such they are best used for self directed individual or small group activities requiring little interaction or input from you the teacher, or distractions from other students.

Reading corners are common in most primary / elementary classrooms. To maximize learning opportunities here ensure your students cannot easily see what others are doing when they are seated reading.  If you surround this space with soft furnishings it will also dampen the external noise.

Your classroom corners are a great space to clearly display some large excellent visuals reinforcing the key learning concepts you expect of your students in this space.  Posters, charts, and exemplary work is a great thing to display and fosters independent learning leaving you to focus on working in other parts of your classroom.

One final note to consider when creating a classroom corners is not to simultaneously build a ‘hideout’ space in which students know they can misbehave or dodge work without surveillance.  Always ensure you, as the tallest person in the room can quickly and easily see what your students are doing at all times.

Forest reading corners are always appealing

Forest reading corners are always appealing

what child wouldn’t cherish spending time in here?

what child wouldn’t cherish spending time in here?

simple but effective reading corner

simple but effective reading corner

plenty of seating variation

plenty of seating variation

Classroom Themes

Classroom themes can be both a blessing and a curse you might want to consider as the year progresses. 

Whilst large portions of your classroom dedicated to back to school, summer, book week, Space, Harry Potter and so on may look great, they can also pretty quickly become irrelevant and dated.

If you are not a manic workaholic ( like most teachers are ) but you still want a dynamic classroom that changes like a chameleon just select a single wall or space you know you can repeatedly and quickly tear down and “flip” to suit the times and needs of your students.  

This leaves you the bulk of your classroom organized and structured for the remainder of the year with minimal fuss and interruption.

space is always a popular classroom theme

space is always a popular classroom theme

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Harry potter theme space

Harry potter theme space

welcome to TOMORROW LAND

welcome to TOMORROW LAND

Classroom decoration ideas on a budget

As we well know most teachers are not millionaires, but they are very highly innovative, and industrious when it comes to getting a lot from a little.

Take a look below at how teachers have taken some bargain bin products and turned them into a goldmine of teaching and learning opportunities in their classrooms.

Most of these items can be easily located and are durable enough to get many good years of use from.

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Make sure your classroom decoration “celebrates” learning above all else.

No matter what your style, or level of commitment to classroom decoration ensure you celebrate learning.

  • Showcase work from ALL students that celebrates GROWTH which can be acknowledged by you, parents, and students.

  • Ensure your classroom decoration sets expectations. Providing examples and statements that reinforce what you value as a teacher and what you expect of your students.

  • If possible display your students growth.  This can either be a before and after decoration, or a graph or chart demonstrating how your CLASS has improved at a specific area throughout the year. 

    Try to avoid putting anything that individually pinpoints, or compares one student to another. Emphasize the fact your class are a team and you celebrate the success as a team.  You will have parent teacher interviews and plenty of other opportunities to address student needs at an individual level. 

I would also emphasize the need to let your students take ownership of your classroom decoration where possible.  If you need a poster about recycling get your students to create them as opposed to just buying them.  

Let your students create their own classroom rules (under your guidance of course.) and ask your students for input in creating classroom decorations.

All this input will give them a greater sense of pride and buy-in to their classroom and you as their teacher.

Finally - If you trawl Instagram and Pinterest for classroom decoration ideas you can quickly feel very inadequate as a teacher. It may appear that classroom decoration has almost become a competitive sport fought out on social media.

Just create a space that you and your students feel positive about sharing, and hopefully lifts your spirits a little on a day that just didn’t seem to start out right at home for whatever reason.

I am confident you can take away one or two of these ideas and as always don’t forget to share your thoughts and inspiration in the comment section below.

25 Great Essay topics for Students in 2019

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Writing an essay can be a daunting task for both teachers and students in terms of creating and crafting a high quality essay,  and finally editing and grading them.

It seems though we may have overlooked one of the toughest steps in writing an essay and that is actually selecting an appropriate and interesting topic for your students.

2019 is the year of the pig according to the Chinese Zodiac. The Pig is traditionally associated with wealth and greed, and these themes can be seen in the essay topics listed below. Alongside these are numerous topics which have strong social and cultural links to events happening this year.

Thankfully I have put together a list of 25 great essay topics for 2019 that might just make that process a little easier.  Enjoy.  And remember to add any other great suggestions in the comment section below.

If you are still struggling with the essay writing process and need further guidance be sure to check out our definitive guide to writing a great essay. 

Introduce your students to 21st century learning with this GROWING BUNDLE OF 101 EDITABLE & PRINTABLE GRAPHIC ORGANIZERS. ✌NO PREP REQUIRED!!!✌ Go paperless, and let your students express their knowledge and creativity through the power of technology and collaboration inside and outside the classroom with ease. 

Whilst you don't have to have a 1:1 or BYOD classroom to benefit from this bundle, it has been purpose built to deliver through platforms such as ✔ GOOGLE CLASSROOM, ✔ OFFICE 365, ✔ DROPBOX or iCLOUD

These beautiful digital templates will remove the paper trail and let you focus on doing what you do best... Teaching.

  1. Zoos are sometimes seen as necessary but not poor alternatives to a natural environment. Discuss some of the arguments for and/or against keeping animals in zoos.

  2. Imaginethat your teacher wants to teach a new subject for the next few weeks. Your teacher will take suggestions, and then let the students vote on the new subject. What subject should your class choose? Write an essay to support your choice and to persuade the other students to vote for your choice.

  3. Are actors and professional athletes paid too much?

  4. Should teachers have to wear uniforms or have a dress code?

  5. Since the invention of nuclear weapons we have had a long period of GLOBAL peace and stability. Are nuclear weapons global peacemakers or killing devices?

  6. Should boys and girls be in separate classes?

  7. Is the death penalty effective?

  8. To what extent is the use of animals in scientific research acceptable?

  9. What age is appropriate for dating?

  10. Pretend you woke up one day and there were no rules. People could suddenly do whatever they wanted! Explain what the world would be like. Use your imagination!

  11. Should student’s textbooks be replaced by notebook computers?

  12. Should students be allowed to have cell phones in elementary and high schools?

  13. Should wealthy nations be required to share their wealth among poorer nations?

  14. Should money be spent on space exploration?

  15. Is fashion important?

  16. Are we too dependent on computers?

  17. Ifyou had the opportunity to bring any person — past or present, fictional or nonfictional — to a place that is special to you (your hometown or country, a favourite location, etc.), who would you bring and why? Tell us what you would share with that person

  18. Most high level jobs are done by men. Should the government encourage a certain percentage of these jobs to be reserved for women?

  19. Should students be allowed to grade their teachers?

  20. In your opinion what factors contribute to a good movie?

  21. The destruction of the world’s forests is inevitable as our need for land and food grows. Do you agree?

  22. Many parents give their children certain chores or tasks to do at home. Should children have to do chores or tasks at home? Be sure to explain why you think it is a good idea or a bad idea. Include examples to support your reasons.

  23. Should the voting age be lowered to thirteen?

  24. Should the government place a tax on junk food and fatty snacks?

  25. Should more be done to protect and preserve endangered animals?

Video Lesson:  How to write an effective Essay

Free 57 page Christmas activity book for Elementary / Primary Teachers

Thanks for your support in 2018

Thanks for your support in 2018

2018 has almost passed us by, and without your support, by visiting this site it would have been a really tough year.

So the best way that we feel we can thank you is to give you a little present to get you through the Christmas season in the classroom.

There is plenty of different content here to keep your students engaged, and save your sanity as we wrap up 2018.

Download our 57 page Christmas Activity book COMPLETELY FREE HERE. Have a great Christmas and a happy new year.

Regards

Kev and Belinda

G Suite training is an essential tool for teachers and students

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With millions of teachers and students using G-suite in their classrooms daily it’s great to see this excellent Chrome extension making a far better experience for all.

Offering Interactive training and walkthroughs, right within G Suite on your own documents in a non-destructive manner this is a MUST HAVE!!

Offering

  • Simple and interactive training lessons to get you up and running fast with G Suite (formerly Google Apps).

  • Rich, interactive training - Whether you’re in Gmail, Calendar, Sheets, Slides, or Docs, you can learn and take actions, all at the same time.

  • In-App experience - Training is accessible directly within G Suite, so you don’t need to leave the application to learn how to use it.

I would even go so far as to say that if your school runs forced chrome or Chromebook management this is a MUST HAVE!! It is excellent, instant professional development like I have never seen before, it takes seconds to install and is completely free.

Get on to it here.

Teaching STEM and Digital Technologies ( Our First Book ) is now available

Available now: Teaching STEM & Digital Technologies

Available now: Teaching STEM & Digital Technologies

I am going to put in a shameless plug here for my first ever book. It has taken me over three years to complete outside of raising a family with my lovely wife and working full time.

It is available now in digital epub and Printable PDF format here and in hardcover via Amazon.

It has been getting rave reviews on TpT and I can strongly recommend it for all teachers.

Teaching STEM, Digital Technologies and Critical Thinking presents data literacy, coding, robotics, digital systems, critical and computational thinking in a structured manner teachers can understand and follow with ease.

This interactive DIGITAL and / or PRINT book provides teachers with the skills to navigate the information era with confidence.  Creating students who are...

  • Technology creators; not just consumers.  Possessing an understanding of computer science, hardware, and software.

  • Critical and Analytical Thinkers who can solve complex problems through researched and proven methods.

  • Highly Data literate; and can collect, manipulate and organize data for varied audiences and purpose.

  • Able to challenge technology when required, through an understanding of algorithms, data mining and digital citizenship.

Countries around the world are making these skills a compulsory part of the curriculum to provide students with the skills to think and do.  They understand that the industrial era has passed and we now require teachers and students with initiative, higher order thinking skills, and digital literacy skills. This book is aligned with the Australian Digital Technologies Curriculum, United States Common Core and British Curriculum.

Now in its third edition, this book provides hundreds of visual examples of making STEM, Digital Technologies and Critical Thinking actionable tasks in your classroom.  It also provides case studies and context to the skills being taught so that you can talk the talk, and walk the walk in this space.

This book is an essential resource for not only specialists involved in learning technologies, but generalist teachers looking for new and engaging strategies to teach their students to problem solve, better integrate technology and build the skill set required to contribute to modern society.


About the Author:

Kevin Cummins is a lifelong learner and educator in the space of Digital Technologies and STEM.

Kevin has taught at primary, secondary and tertiary levels internationally  Currently, he works in Victoria, Australia as a Learning Technologies consultant with over sixty schools, presenting professional development to teachers and students on a regular basis.

Kevin has a Masters In Learning Technologies from the University of Melbourne and runs educational websites which are visited by millions of teachers annually on these topics.

Kevin is a teacher, husband, and father to three wonderful children and is actively trying to make a difference to our educational systems, curriculum and classrooms to provide genuine 21st-century teaching and learning opportunities that make a difference to student outcomes.

Teach your students the history of the internet

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Many people alive today can’t remember a time before the internet; it can be easy to forget how recently the internet was closer to science fiction than reality. In a little over forty years, the internet has evolved from a small network to an almost infinite source of information available around the world -- and even in outer space.

This interactive website is a great opportunity to introduce students and teachers into the people, technology and events that led us to where we currently are in cyberspace.

Mathcracker: Free math help for students and teachers

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Mathcracker.com is a cornucopia of math tools, calculators, solvers, and tutorials all in one
place that is a one-stop solution for the vast majority of math calculations and operations that
the student or professional needs to perform, whether for assignments, theses, reports, or
professional documents. The tools run the gamut from basic to advanced math calculations,
with 120 tools and growing. The solvers, graphing tools, and “math cracks”, which are
Mathcracker’s signature form of plain English tutorials, are all accessible from an easily
navigable menu bar with drop down menus. The number and high quality of the tools are
quite impressive, and all the tools are available for free!

To give an idea of the range of tools you can choose from, starting with the categories of
algebra, calculus, statistics, or probability calculators, you are then led to a variety of
calculators and solvers under the same category. You’ll find calculators for cross product, dot
product, permutation coefficient, factorial of a number, absolute value, algebraic expression,
angle conversion between degrees and radians, arithmetic sequences, area and volume of a
circle, cone, cube, and cylinder, and the list goes on and on. For probability and statistics,
you’ll find 11 pages of tools, including calculators for chi square test for goodness of fit,
Kruskal-Wallis test, Lamda coefficient, critical Chi square values, uniform probability
calculator, ANOVA, Cramer’s V, Z test, F test for the equality of two population variances,
relative risk, odds ratio, effect size Cohen’s d, binomial probability, and many more. There are
graphing tools for bar charts, box plots, functions, histograms, line charts, pie charts, scatter
plots, time series, and many more. To list all the tools here would take several pages, so the
recommended approach is just to go see for yourself.

Each tool comes with clear instructions on what it does, how to use it and what information to
enter. To use a calculator or solver, you enter the information you want into the appropriate
labeled form field boxes in the calculator. Each element of the calculator is labeled so you
know what information to enter and where to type it in. Upon pushing a bright yellow
“calculate” button, you are provided with the solution along with a brief explanation of the
background of the concept you are working with and how to interpret the result. If for any
reason you did not enter the right information or you are missing information, upon clicking

“calculate”, you will be presented with a message in red indicating to you what you are
missing so you can check your information. This is really helpful because sometimes
beginners or the less well-versed in math don’t necessarily know exactly what type of
information they need to solve a given problem, so the tool nudges you in the right direction.

To understand the background of the people who created this site, according to the designers
of the site, who include PhD’s with backgrounds in mathematics, statistics, engineering, and
education, the site emerged out of a desire to make math transparent and accessible to
people from many different backgrounds, including those with strong math skills as well as
those who are not so comfortable performing high level mathematics. Currently, the site is
used by students and professionals all over the world as a cornerstone math resource. They
have been linked to by major universities, teachers’ personal blogs, and included in
classroom curriculum.

The ease of use and completeness of the tools makes them compatible with the needs of a
wide variety of people and projects, and the solution and graphic outputs are of a high quality
and can be used in reports and for educational purposes. Far and away, this is an excellent
and advantageous resource for anyone who needs to perform calculus, algebra, statistics or
probability calculations for nearly any conceivable purpose, and can replace many of the
functionalities of other proprietary software programs.

https://mathcracker.com

FREEBIE Resource Clock faces at Hourly intervals

FREE CLOCK FACES TO DOWNLOAD

FREE CLOCK FACES TO DOWNLOAD

Just a quick free resource we created you can download right now...

TEACH TIME⏳ - , BUILD TESTS or copy and paste into ANYTHING YOU WANT with this FREE set of super high quality, 300 DPI, 8 inch clock faces. At 290 images, you’ll never have to search for that exact clip art again. **THESE ARE LICENSED FOR FULL COMMERCIAL USE

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⭐ Clock Face / Time Clip Art (5 Minute Intervals) 290 Graphics for commercial use

These 290 IMAGES are spaced at 5-minute intervals covering all 12 hours. We have also included a blank clock that you can customize yourself. These were professionally designed for quality and size, so you can blow them up to a full-sized PowerPoint with no pixilation and no loss in quality.