Classrooms tend not to be the most inspiring of environments in which to teach and learn. Often, they're aged and fitted with ugly-looking furniture that looks like a relic of the dark ages with an extra bit of graffiti scribbled all over and dried chewing gum stuck in strategic places. While modern classrooms may be cleaner and boast more ergonomic and aesthetic furniture, they can be overly sterile.
To transform a dull classroom into an inspiring, nurturing environment, put your creativity to the test. Changes don't need to cost the earth but will make kids and teachers much happier to spend time cooped up indoors.
If you're not an arts and crafts teacher yourself, strike up a conversation with your colleague at lunchtime. Perhaps the kids' next project in art class could be to brighten up their classroom? They could create paintings, murals, collages, or bring a bit of nature indoors by creating a "garden" from branches and crepe paper leaves and flowers. For added fun, perch origami or felt-cut animals and birds on the branches.
Got the budget and the nerve to ask your school principal for permission to do some painting? Brighter walls or furniture could be just what's needed to improve the atmosphere in the classroom.
In some countries such as Latvia and Lithuania, parents are expected to contribute to the costs of painting of redecorating a classroom, and volunteer to do the work. While asking for money may not be possible in most cases, you could ask for help in getting the work done that considerably cuts costs.
There's also another way you could enroll the help of the kids' parents. If everyone could donate a rug, a blanket or a cushion, you'd have exactly what it takes to build a cosy reading corner on one side of the classroom. This should encourage children to spend time reading, particularly if the weather's grim and outdoor fun and games aren't possible during lunch break.
If you're keen on encouraging an academic vibe in the classroom, themed posters are probably your best bet, as well as academic achievement awards and motivational quote boards. Depending on the subjects taught in the classroom, you can purchase posters that relate to the content of the syllabus. For example, for a music room this could be note charts or lyrics, and for an English Studies room it could be extracts from historical novels.
Science classrooms are among the easiest to jazz up as science teaching resources usually provide a whole host of visuals to illustrate obscure concepts from gravity to viscosity. Often, posters feature animations or photography.