Create Classrooms That Spark Learning

Classrooms That Spark Learning

What teacher doesn’t dream of having unlimited funds to decorate his or her classroom so that’s it is bright, stimulating, and welcoming?  Unfortunately, most teachers don’t have the unlimited budget required to create designer-showroom quality classroom settings like the stunning classrooms featured, here.

But, regardless of how large or small a decorating budget might be, there’s no doubt that a little money goes a long way when teachers turn to trimmers and borders to brighten their classrooms and reinforce major learning themes. One of the great benefits of purchasing trimmers and borders is that the high-quality ones last for more than one session and can be reused the following term. There are a variety of ways to use trimmers and borders to decorate, including decorating the halls or doorway of a classroom and the empty spaces in front of the classroom. Students adore having their work featured in an attractively framed presentation board, especially when the border or trimmer features a theme related to the student’s work.

music classroom display

A great way to brighten up music class

A great way to provide a sense of student ownership is to ask the students to help you decorate the classroom using trimmers and borders. When students are involved in creating decorations for the classroom they feel more responsible for keeping it clean and orderly. Students feel honoured when “grown-up” decorating responsibilities are given to them and splendidly rise to the occasion by tapping into their natural creativity, and innate love of colour and design.
Different designs work best with different ages so keep your specific age group and learning themes in mind when purchasing your classroom trimmers and borders. Here are some tips and useful suggestions for getting maximum impact when you use borders and trimmers to decorate:1. Choose one central bright and cheery color scheme for your classroom and colour-coordinate all of your trimmers and borders to complement and contrast with that dominant color scheme.
2. Present two or three design choices to your students and let them vote on which theme border or trimmer they want to see posted first!

3. If your decorating budget is tight, consider pooling resources so that two or three teachers can share and trade borders and trimmers all year long!
Here are a few examples to give you some ideas and remember you can emphasis themes by adding in complementary classroom displays
primary school resources - trimmer

A bright bug related classroom trimmer for younger children

classroom trimmer - numbers

Make numbers fun for small children

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‘Are we there yet?!’

We all know what it is like trying to occupy bored children (of all ages!) on long journeys, so we really like this handy check list that Super Nanny Jo Frost has put together with the acronym BEST WIFE (I’ve added a few of my own thoughts, too!):

B – is for battery phone charger: a dead phone is no good to anyone. Likewise, an iPad without a charger is worse than useless if you are stuck on the M25 (as I once was for five hours with a fractious 2 year old and no water – it was meant to be a short hop between junctions!).
E – is for emergency kit. Calpol, plasters, that sort of thing. Motorway services can take forever to reach.
S – is for sing-along discs and audiobooks. They can create some short lived peace and lift Mum and Dad’s mood for a bit.
T – is for travel potty, a necessity for toddlers when they just can’t wait and you just can’t stop.

W – is for water. Try to avoid sugary drinks – you don’t want them bouncing off the ceiling all the way up the M1.
I – is for imagination. You’re going to need to bring this along for storytelling and games on the move.
F – is for food. Be prepared: whether its full of fresh or dried fruit, babybels or mini rolls, a little Tupperware box can keep the tantrums away.
E – is for essentials: wipes, toilet roll, disposable bags and a few games.

Check out our ideas for keeping kids occupied for a range of gadget free fun for kids guaranteed to keep them busy and you calm even when stuck in a long traffic jam

The Scent of Inspiration

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What does learning smell like? More than likely— it smells like peppermint. According to the Essential Oils Desk Reference, peppermint oil can be used to “boost energy, creativity and learning skills.” So it might be a good idea to infuse a whiff of peppermint into your child’s next study session. Peppermint smells great and there are many fun ways to tap into peppermint power: peppermint mints, peppermint scented stickers, and peppermint scented pencils, to name just a few options.

Using scent to increase learning skills is a practice that has been receiving increased attention over the years. In “Using Smell to Help You Study” published by Best Colleges Online, it is recommended that students spray a pencil “with a certain cologne or perfume that your noise not accustomed to smelling and regularly smell that scent as you study,” so your brain associates your study material with that scent. Then, when you sniff that scented pencil during a classroom exam, the scent will trigger your memory to recall what you studied when that scent was in the room. To learn more, you can read the article in its entirety here: Best Colleges Online

Scratch-and-sniff stickers are a great way to utilize the power of scent to motivate students and they are an ideal way to maximize your child’s sense of smell during study sessions. If you are curious and want to learn more about how scratch-and-sniff scented products work, you can visit this site:
http://science.howstuffworks.com/innovation/science-questions/question274.htm

Just as foul odours detract from the learning process, it is also true that positive smells and particular scents enhance your child’s learning process. Think about it. Is the scent of inspiration filling the air in your child’s study room?

Brighten Your Classroom with Kid-Friendly Borders and Trimmers

During the school year, your classroom serves as your students’ home away from home so it’s important to create a warm, inviting, and intellectually stimulating setting. Involve your students in the decorating process by having them contribute designs, classwork, and art to accent your classroom. Use decorative trimmers and borders to frame their contributions. Involving your students in the decorative process provides a sense of ownership and you’ll benefit from the strong bond that develops while working alongside students assembling classroom presentations of their work.

Can your classroom use a lift? Classroom Borders are an essential design element in every classroom; providing a finished and polished appearance that sets a professional tone. Borders also serve as a great way to “frame” sections of walls or bulletin boards so that the information or work featured in those spaces attracts attention and lots of views.

Time-pressed teachers really appreciate how fast and easy it is to decorate a classroom using packaged borders and trimmers. When it’s time to redecorate the classroom to celebrate a special season or learning experience, it’s a snap to remove old borders and trimmers and replace them quickly with new ones. Contrasting borders make walls and boards “pop” and trimmers or borders with themed designs are useful for highlighting featured learning themes and assigned readings.

Stock up on trimmers and borders to keep your students interested, engaged and always wondering….what’s next? Your classroom will be a hit!

Useful Resource Links:

Below, are links to useful articles focused on classroom decorations.

Here are some fun classroom decorating ideas for decorating primary school classrooms:
http://www.twinkl.co.uk/classroom-display-photos

This article offers a ton of useful and budget-friendly decorative tips, includingplacing borders around classroom windows to make them look bigger. Great idea!
Creating a Cozy Classroom

For a polished final touch, be sure to decorate the classroom door after you’vefinished decorating your classroom’s windows and walls.
Door Decorating Tips for Classroom Teachers

Sniff This!

Using Scent to Motivate Kids

Want to reduce “test stress” during exam crunch time? Infuse the air with orange scent! In “The Smell is Right—Using Scents to Enhance lIfe” Sally Augustin, Ph.D, reports that the scent of orange reduces anxiety, even in extremely stressful situations—such as a visit to the dentist.

Smencils UK

Coloured Smencils

Various scents drift throughout our days—influencing our moods and behaviour. The heavenly smell of chocolate chip cookies baking in the oven makes us happy while the repugnant harsh odour of decaying garbage or smoke can quickly transform a pleasant day into an unpleasant one.

The powerful reaction to the scents we encounter just might explain why Smencils scented pencils, imported from the United States, are such an enormous hit in the UK!  Boys and girls alike love to receive scented Smencils as a classroom reward for hard work and as unique fun birthday party favours. There’s a wide variety of ways you can utilise them:

  • Create little “exam” bags filled with Smencils, a few pieces of candy, motivational stickers, and notepads to motivate kids who are cramming for special tests or extra-challenging exams.
  • Motivate kids to stay on task by rewarding them with a favourite Smencil scented-pencil when they complete a weekly study goal or task.
  • Slip a package of Smencils into your child’s backpack as a surprise treat for him or her to discover at school.
  • To use as party gifts at kid’s birthday parties, wrap a cheery ribbon and bow around a bunch of Smencils in assorted scents and place in pencil holders at individual table settings.

Infused with award-winning tantalising scents that are guaranteed to last for two entire years, Smencil “smelly” pencils are in huge demand with kids and adults who are still pretty much kids at heart!

Choose from a wide collection of Smencil graphite pencils scented with fragrance ranging from sugary sweet to exotically spicy: Cinnamon, Bubble Gum, Orange, Watermelon, Tropical Blast, Cotton Candy, Very Berry, Grape, Root Beer and Black Cherry or Tropical Blast, Bubble Gum, Cinnamon, Candy Floss and a Mystery Scent.

Related Links:

Here are some fun and educational links to help you discover more about the power of scent and the benefits of purchasing recycled products such as Smencils.

What Fruit Should You Smell Like?

Recycling Facts and Figures

How Smell Affects Your Body and Mind

School Labels

School labels are fun, colourful, practical, and trendy ways to enhance tasks and objects that would otherwise seem mundane. They bring freshness, creativity, and curious attention to things such as name tags, books, other school supplies, et cetera.
School labels are always popular with teachers and students of all ages. They are not just fun items; they are functional too. Here are just a few of the many reasons school labels continue to be a staple among teacher and student supplies:

  • They come in various colours, shapes, sizes, and designs that are visually appealing and are age and task appropriate
  • They are a good value for your money as they help to identify and personalise items that would otherwise be easily lost
  • They are inexpensive as well as cost effective in that the packages contain many labels that can go a long way
  • They help to keep school supplies and gears organised
  • They enhance efficiency as they reduce time in locating items since they are so easily identifiable
  • Their customisation and personalisation capabilities enhances authenticity and ownership
  • They are long-lasting
  • They are easy to use
  • They allow for artistic expression
  • They are non-toxic and environmentally friendly
  • They are versatile as they can be used not only for school, but also in the home
  • When you think of back-to-school supplies; always think of school labels. No child should be without them; no child wants to be without them!

    Here are a few examples of school and name labels