My first ever high school classroom was nature-themed, and I’m now I’m bringing it back for a middle school teacher in my area! While I don’t have any pictures from that teaching era, I can paint you a picture of what I looked like: I printed some of my favorite hiking pictures to display around the room, hung a giant stick with twinkle lights from the ceiling, and incorporated plants wherever I could! Using a nature theme is great for classroom decor on a budget because you can go on a nature scavenger hunt and find all kinds of free elements to use in your woodland classroom! As for the classroom makeover that I’m working on now, I have a slightly larger budget than I used back when I was a new teacher (basically zero), but I still want to keep this project within a realistic cost so that other teachers can create this beautiful and budget-friendly design in their own classrooms!
Classroom Plan and Cost:
As for the other flexible seating options, I found two clearanced chairs from Walmart ($5 each = $10) and then used items that this teacher had collected from yard sales. See the black chairs pictured below. One big tip I have for new teachers who are setting up their classrooms for the first time is to collect neutral items. I simply added teal pillows to these black chairs and it tied them into her new theme.
The number one question I get asked is how I hang items such as the plants. The answer is these GENIUS track ceiling hooks from Amazon. HOWEVER, before you purchase these, you must check your state’s fire codes and your school’s rules. Some states and schools will not allow you to hang items from the ceiling. Also, this is a very large pack and you won’t need nearly this many hooks, so possibly go in halfsies with a friend or ask your school to stock them.
The mini Zen gardens were fun, cheap, and easy to make! I found the containers, rocks, and forks a the Dollar Tree and the sand at Walmart. The sand I got was pretty rocky, so I suggest using smoother sand if you can find it. White fine sand would be so pretty! I might also suggest not using the red forks that come in the pack because red can be an anger-triggering color which is the opposite of what you are trying to create.
If you want to add this supportive mental health resource to your own classroom, you can grab your free download here: FREE DESTRESSING STATION
3. Literary Classroom Yoga- Lastly, I included one of my favorite and best-selling resources, Literary Yoga for the classroom. Movement in the classroom is so important to me that I keep this classroom yoga resource on display year-round.
This lesson matches yoga poses to literary elements so that you can add movement and promote critical thinking in your English class. Research shows that sitting for long periods of time is horrible for both our brains and bodies. While we know that movement in the classroom is important, due to the nature of English classes, ELA students often find themselves needing to sit to read or write for long periods of time. Therefore, finding ways to add movement in your English literature class can be a challenge. This literary yoga resource is the perfect solution for adding movement in the English classroom.
Much peace and love,
Ashley Bible at Building Book Love