Classroom decor is tricky for older students. Secondary students do not want to see the same posters they saw a few years ago. Plus, “fads” that appeal to older students change frequently.
My first year teaching, I was low on money, but I wanted to decorate my classroom. I made quote sheets on my PC (with word art!) and printed them on standard paper. I figured that I would ditch the quotes as I acquired better classroom decor.
Instead, I still use quotes as classroom decor in any classroom I’ve ever had. Here are reasons why.
- Inspiration. Hopefully the quotes mean something. I know that Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value by Albert Einstein inspires me. Countless students have said that they found meaning in it too.
- Analysis. Quotes (as classroom decor or not) provide an opportunity for quick and easy modeling of analysis. Tie in psychology, justice, economics – any “big picture” idea into a quote. Another student favorite – Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans – provides amply opportunity for analysis. Why would John Lennon say that? Is it true – or are the best events planned?
- Interest in new people. Who said the quote? A quick Internet search can provide background. Another option is to change quotes dependent upon the current unit. Whatever time period or novel you are covering should have plenty of quotes from speeches, plays, movies, and such.
- Relationships with students. Without saying anything, you are showing students what you believe. Quotes allow you to address “elephants in the room” such as bullying, body images, and equality. Provide quotes that emphasize important life lessons you want students to leave your classroom with. Additionally, you can add posters that will appeal to students you specifically need to reach. Having trouble with an athlete? Find a meaningful quote by a coach or star. My favorite: I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying. (Michael Jordan)
- Decoration. Yes, quotes can be inexpensive classroom decor. Backgrounds, fun prints, multiple colors, and fun fonts are easy ways to make quotes classroom decorations. I like that quotes are easy to print and find. I can switch them throughout the year without having to change my entire classroom. Their diversity is abundant.
I may make quotes on a MAC now with purchased backgrounds and fonts, but I always use quotes as classroom decor. They prove too many opportunities to chat with students, to enhance lessons.
Are you a ‘famous quotes’ type of teacher? I’d love to read the benefits you see with your students.