It’s, amazingly, almost that time of year that teachers, especially in the south, start thinking about back to school prep. One of the big things that comes up this time of year is music classroom decor. What do I want? What do I need? What’s important? Do I want a theme? Let this help you out. These are my must have requirements for music classroom decor. (Full disclosure, some affiliate links. It won’t change your price and I get a small kickback. No pressure!!)
Must Have #1: Inclusive
This is number one. It should absolutely reflect your students as well as a variety of cultures.
- What skin tones do your hand sign charts have?
- If you have composer posters on the wall, do you have a variety of cultures and music styles represented?
- Is everything culturally appropriate?
- Are the fonts clear? Is it readable for students? Does it use cursive instead of print for young students?
- Is the theme accessible for your all your learners?
- Is it age appropriate for all your students? If you teach in a K-8 school, consider your oldest and youngest students before you put something up.
I know people are constantly looking for more diverse classroom posters so I thought I would offer this one up for FREE. I couldn’t include some photos because of copyright on the photos but I’ve given you links for all the people in this poster set so you don’t have to find them yourself. I hope this is something you can use and helps add some more diversity to your composer/musician of the month choices as well as your classroom walls! You can snag them for FREE here. They go along with my 32 Weeks of Listening Set which was made with inclusivity and diversity in mind.
Must Have #2: Useful
I’m a big fan of only using what you need. If you are never going to reference posters with all the rhythms on them don’t use them. You wouldn’t hang up ukulele fingerings if you don’t teach ukulele. There are lots of full sets of music classroom decor that you can buy and can save money by purchasing the set, but if you are only going to use a couple pieces, buy only what you need. Make sure you take care of real use things before you add in the optional things.
Keep in mind too that legally required papers such as fire exits and such should take place over cutesy decor.
Things that are part of your decor that have real use:
- Bins, baskets, and storage cubes – These are great for small instruments, books, movement props, puppets, and other props.
- Wheeled carts – These are good for larger collections like dry erase markers, class work, dry erase boards, manipulatives, and your paper work storage.
- Three tiered cart. These are wonderful for your grab and go throughout the day: remotes, pencils, puppets, timers, planner, iPad, speaker, and any other teaching tools.
- Tool boxes – GREAT for small classroom supplies. This one I spray painted white and use for my office supply storage. Get the editable toolbox labels here.
Some optional decor things that, while useful, are lower priority
- Optional seating / flex seating options
- Comfy chair for you of some sort of seat for circles, sitting on the floor, etc. because you are an adult and you do NOT have to sit on the floor with the students every day all day. They won’t mind.
TIP: Buy clear, white, or black when possible. They will go with whatever sort of decor you have and don’t add to an overwhelming feeling. Speaking of which…
Must Have #3: Not Overwhelming
Lots of colors, every inch covered, and stuff hanging from every ceiling tile is too much for me. Not only that, but blank space is good for learning! Studies even show that less on the walls is better for students. Things to think about:
- Use an anchor chart stand instead of hanging up every poster. I made this one out of pipes from the hardware store but PVC pipes would work well also.
- Use a pocket chart for word walls and I Can statements instead of having all of them up on the wall. This set has small 5 row charts in six colors. You can use one color for per grade. They are magnetic and have a spot for hooks so you can put them wherever you need them.
- Store what you don’t need all the time. Displaying everything is pretty trendy, but instead of having every instrument on your wall, pick one thing to display. Hand drums, a pretty boomwhacker display, or Orff instruments if you leave them out all the time. Put everything else away to keep distractions low. Plus it keeps a sub from pulling every instrument off the wall for a free for all!
- Soft lights and plants. They can help create a calm space. While they are still “useful” they can help keep things calmer. However, don’t break the bank if you don’t want to spend for them because they aren’t necessary items!
- Cover things. A curtain on a tension rod in front of a messy shelf using hooks to keep it up is a great way to “hide” some of the distraction. Not only that but it will help keep the dust out.
Bonus Must Have: Print Friendly
Don’t blow the bank on pages with full color the whole page. Look for white space, and strategically placed color. Not only do these print nicer, but they won’t waste as much money on ink. Full color including backgrounds on the pages often need a thicker paper so they won’t warp from the ink.
Keep In Mind
- Don’t break the bank. If you can’t afford it, or if you are going to spend a bunch of money to make it look internet friendly, it’s not worth it. If you don’t have a super small budget from your school, or don’t have one at all, really consider if you want to spend YOUR budget on decor for the classroom.
- If decorating is NOT your thing, it doesn’t matter. Pretty classrooms do not make good teachers.
- It needs to fit your needs, your school, and most importantly, your students!!
Decor Check Out
Here’s a few decor items you may love.
These Folk Dance Formation Posters are fun, functional, and best of all, you don’t have to print these ones. Check them out in my Etsy Store.
These are from my Festive Music Classroom Decor Set. Ink friendly, includes different skin tones, and you can buy the set or only what you need. Check out the set here.
Parts of the set include:
- Chromatic Multicultural Solfege Hand Sign Posters
- Elements of Music Anchor Charts
- Folk Dance Formations
- Instrument Posters
- Dynamics Posters
- Key Signature Posters
- Procedures Checklist (Free!)
- Music Verbs
- Word Wall (Editable)
- National Standards and I Can Statements (Editable)
- National Standards Checklist
- Note Name and Music Symbols posters
- Music Rules (Editable)
- Orff Posters
- Recorder Fingering Posters
- Tempo Posters
- Ukulele Chord Posters
- Visual Choral Guide
- Calendar (Free)
I hope that this post has given you some ideas as well as some things to look for when you are decorating your classroom this year.
If you’re a new teacher, take a look at this post of things you ACTUALLY need for your room!