As with most things in life, 2020 made me reevaluate my high school ELA classroom decor. Though I pride myself in decorating beautiful learning spaces on a small budget, I honestly love going all out with flexible seating, creative wall art, and functional design. But, when I decided to teach part time during the pandemic, I knew that most of my classroom decor favorites would not be allowed due to COVID nor would be practical for a part time position (not to mention I had no idea if students would ever see the classroom in person at all!). That said, I still wanted to create a classroom that reflected my personality, provided nice Zoom backgrounds, and cozied up the room for when/if students returned. Not wanting to waste time or money, I brainstormed items I already had and created a “Books are Magic” themed classroom in 30 minutes with only spending $30 and using 3 of my resources.
Before I get into this post, I just want to make a note that a Books are Magic theme might not be appropriate for your classroom. Please use your own judgment! For me, I left the theme open to interpretation. It could have easily been a moon and stars themed classroom or a black and white themed classroom. Depending on your level of caution, this theme can be as magical as you want it to be.
That said, here’s the tour of my high school ELA classroom for my 11th year of teaching! This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting my blog!
First, I focused on decorating behind my desk for Zooms which was a good idea because that’s how we started school. This was one of many “first days of schools” between fully online, hybrid, all in person, and semester changes. SHEW.
Before and After High School ELA Classroom Decor
To make my desk area a little more cozy and photogenic (zoom-o-genic?), I added a thrifted curtain behind me (similar one here), some black and white prints in gold Dollar Tree frames, and twinkle lights in two black planters which I thought looked like a nod to a cauldron plus made DIY lamps of sorts. I got my planters from Big Lots, but you can find a similar one here. All of the other items like the owl and vase I had in storage.
Though I did not decorate every wall like I normally do, I did wanted to add a big feature to tie the Books are Magic theme together. I did my go-to trick by using a shower curtain as art. I usually build a simple frame, but this time I did it even more frugally by hauling in a fallen tree branch to attach it to. My coworkers are used to this nonsense LOL.
Inexpensive Classroom Decor Hacks
To make the Books are Magic theme a little more clear, I tore out pages from an old book and taped them to the wall. You can see that simple design hack made a HUGE impact on that big blank wall! Some shower curtains that you may like for your high school ELA classroom are linked below.
As I mentioned, I used stuff I already had in my shed to pull this classroom theme together without spending a ton of money. I had the string lights, the star light projector (high recommend if you have a dark classroom!), curtains, owls, frames, and other trinkets. The shower curtain I bought was $19 so that only left around $11 in my 30 dollars classroom decor budget. I spent that on these cool star decals that are pretty big considering the price! However, I never got a chance to put them up in my room so I used them for a home project and loved how they turned out! Another way to spend that extra $11 would have been to purchase a roll of wrapping paper from Society 6. They have any theme imaginable! Here’s the roll pictured in my mood board.
Resources used for high school ELA classroom Decor
As for for the resources I designed for this high school ELA classroom theme, I went with Black and White Books.
These posters for the high school (or middle school) ELA classroom use bookish quotes by diverse people as literary device examples. They are simple, helpful, and can work with ANY theme, not just the Books are Magic theme!
I also added a Books are Magic poster pack with editable templates so that you can easily decorate your high school ELA classroom. 🙂 You an download those here: Books are Magic Decor Pack
For my 3rd resource that I always use in all my themes, I displayed these Literary Yoga Slides in the black and white version. They worked great for social distancing movement and have a variety of colors to match your classroom theme!
I hope this post has provided some inspiration after such a difficult year. I truly believe teachers are magical. I hope you know your worth and power!