Teacher Tips: How to Decorate a High School Classroom

It’s back to school time with the first day of school is right around the corner, and the classroom decor of a a high school classroom is harder in today's day and age than it was years ago. The difference between a middle school classroom is that teenagers are more grown up at this age compared to middle school, making regular decorations seem boring. If you are a new teacher, for some classroom decoration ideas, the trick is provide fun, entertaining and a wholesome classroom theme without making the teens feel like they are little kids.

Decorate your own teacher's desk with personal items. Let the teens feel like they can get to know you. Make sure you don't use anything valuable or that can't be replaced and classroom rules are heavily enforced. Use pictures that have duplicates in case any get lost or stolen. Also, a bulletin board can help students know what the itinerary is for the day. Make sure all of your pictures are descent and can't cause any controversy. If you love animals bring in some animal artifacts and decorate your desk with them. Whatever your passion is use that to gain the children's attention and that help student work can be used as your desk as a way to start up some conversations about classroom theme.

Use modern media to get your message across. It helps teens feel understood that high school classroom decor matches what they’re listening to or watching. For instance, in a high school English classroom, when Pirates of the Caribbean came out so did a poster set of Orlando Bloom reading a book. The wall art promoted reading and language arts. If you are an English teacher, this would have been a great poster to add to your classroom, above bookshelves, or classroom library. Some other posters to consider are ones for movies that are based on books. Beowolf was just released in theaters and is often a book that is required to be read in high school. A poster or stickers of this movie may be a great addition to your classroom look.

Hang up a white board or bulletin board by the hallway door. Add a new quote to the board each day and throughout the school year. Hang a suggestion box next to the white board and allow the students to submit their own inspirational quotes. Some immature teenagers will submit nonsense, but it is worth weeding through the bad submissions to find the good ones that help with a growth mindset. This exercise encourages teenagers to use their brains and either come up with their own quotes or find some great ones by doing a little research.

Have the kids help out with classroom management and rule setting. There are several things you may want to consider doing. First, you could have your students write up a poem about the subject matter you are studying. You could then buy some frames at the dollar store and place the poems around the room. Second, you could have the students paint a scene or do a DIY project from whatever they are learning about. If they are learning about the solar system they could paint a space theme, or if they are learning about Colonial Times they could paint a colonial house or family. If your class is studying Literature have your students paint a picture of the story you are currently working on. Frame all of the pictures and hang them so that the teens know this is their classroom too.

Create a hero's corner. This should be a section of your classroom decorated for heroes. The people posted in this section should be people from the past and the present. These should be people who your teenagers can look up to to promote inspiration and a growth mindset. You may want to have some inventors, a president, some soldiers, and even some sports players who have done something special. Include some articles of local heroes. Add new stuff each week and encourage your students to read the newspapers and let you know of any new heroes.

Have a section dedicated to artwork and a color scheme. You may not want to hang up a real painting, but there are plenty of ways to display knock-offs of the real thing. You don't need a lot of room for this. Just enough space for one painting and switch it once per week. Add an informational sheet next to the painting describing the painting, who painted it, what era it is from, and what the artists inspiration was. The kids will learn about art without even realizing it. They are also bound to check out that area each week as their curiosity will get the better of them.

Add a comedy corner. Use jokes that you may find online or comedy strips from that days newspaper. Encourage kids to submit their own comedy pieces to be displayed in that area. Laughter really is the best medicine and it is a great idea to keep some humor in the classroom. Make sure all jokes and comedy strips are clean and contain no offensive pictures or words.

Set up the students desks in different formations each week. Have them space out in a square one week and in the shape of an M the next. Keep those kids on their toes and give them something fun to look forward to. They may think you are a little crazy, but when they see you put in extra time for them, they are going to appreciate it. Your best bet is to switch the desks every Wednesday to give the kids something to look forward to mid week.

  • Don't decorate your classroom once and leave it that way all year. You will quickly bore your students and that can lead to a lack of stimulation. Bored kids end up getting rowdy and causing problems in the classroom.
  • Get some ideas from the students as to what they might like to see in the classroom.

Alicia Bodine has been a professional writer for 13 years. She has produced thousands of articles for online publications such as Demand Studios, GoBankingRates and WiseGeek. Bodine is passionate about gardening, travel, education and finance. She has received awards for being a top content producer.