PrintWorks – Decorating Virtual Classrooms
By Arora Maravich
In 2020, the image of a classroom has changed significantly as we move towards a virtual teaching format. Many teachers have been faced with the new challenge of teaching from home as we enter a new school year with a new cohort of students. We now must ask ourselves how to best decorate our at-home “classrooms” in order to normalize the idea that a virtual classroom is still a classroom. The challenge is figuring out how to appropriately decorate in a way that is economical in both finances and space.
There are a few essential ways to ensure that your virtual teaching background is as welcoming and effective as possible. Using paper products is an excellent solution because it is adaptable, takes up as much or as little space as you need, and (most importantly) affordable and accessible. Depending on your personal level of creativity, the idea of decorating a home classroom with paper may be daunting. Fear not, there are printable templates you can use!
When it comes to décor, including adaptable monthly calendars and days of the week, PrintWorks has you covered with their teacher resources page. Here you can find printable templates that make classroom decorating a breeze. Check out the Back to School Printables Kit! (Hint: There are also lesson planner and weekly planner templates to help keep you organized at home and in school!)
There are a few more essentials you might find useful in your at-home classroom. Even virtually, you need to ensure that students are on task and following behavioral expectations in order to maximize learning. Visual reinforcements of behavioral expectations (have your zoom rules on display behind you!) and behavior trackers can help students know where they stand. You might consider something as simple as having a piece of cardstock printed with each level of behavior with a clothespin for each student, so every student can see their own standing. Check out these examples:
Source: Love Believe Teach with Jo-Ellen Foody
When it comes to actual teaching, you may want to have a white board accessible to you at home. You may also want to utilize a fabric pocket chart. A fabric pocket chart can be utilized in any number of ways, including, but not limited to vocabulary, sentence building/grammar, multiplication tables/ practice, a calendar, alphabet learning, etc.
I recommend using strips of paper or cardstock prepared before your lesson, with the script, definition, or answer on the back of the card so that you can easily reference it while students only see the front facing information. Using PrintWorks varieties of colored cardstock can make this décor more fun, such as their neon cardstock, or their black cardstock with gel pens or metallic markers!
Whatever your at-home set-up may be, there are ways to make it look more like a classroom for your students. Check out these examples of virtual classrooms, big and small!
Source: SRG Blooming Boutique
Source: Karen Hinkle
Source: Rachel Kenneson
About Arora Maravich
Arora received her undergraduate degree from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ and studied at Duke University Graduate School in NC. She is currently pursuing her Master of Arts in Teaching – Special Education from Relay Graduate School of Education in Wilmington, DE. Arora is certified as a structured literacy/dyslexia interventionist through the Center for Effective Reading and certified at the teaching level through the Reading Assist Intervention Program. Arora has Emergency Certifications as a Middle Level English Language Arts Teacher (Grades 6-8) and an Elementary Teacher (Grades K-6), as well as a Certificate of Eligibility in Special Education Teacher of Students with Disabilities (Grades K-12). Arora currently teaches second grade in Wilmington, DE.