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I love scrolling through all the beautiful Pinterest classrooms and seeing just how beautiful a classroom can really be. However, when I looked at my classroom and it was never really Pinterest ready. I felt a pang inside of me wishing I had the money or ability to do this.  I realized that I had something better. My bare classroom was a place my students and I created together. It wasn’t my classroom but ours. Each poster we put up together became an experience we remembered. The students knew exactly where to look to trigger their memory about a lesson.

This is why I’m suggesting for teachers to go bare at the start of the year. By setting up a room with so many posters and spaces already created, you steal from the experience you could create with a student. I’m not saying, don’t put up any form of decoration. What I am saying is to leave your bulletin boards with their cloth or butcher paper blank. Put up no rules posters, maybe one encouraging phrase to get the students’ attention, and basic organization for the class should be up. This might not be as pretty as the classroom you envision, but it will make for a meaningful classroom for the students.

[bctt tweet=”What I am saying is to leave your bulletin boards with their cloth or butcher paper blank.” username=”EducatorsRoom”]

The perks of going bare in the class are:

You spend less time setting up the classroom!

We all know how much time we invest into our classes. When we go bare, we have more time to spend on the core of what we want to happen within the room.

What you do put up, will have more meaning.

The poster you do put up will have greater value and will be read. This encouraging poster will tell parents and children that this is what you’re about.

There is an element of mystery added to each lesson.

Every time you put something up, students will wonder about it and take notice. This will set the students up for inquiry in your lessons.

Lessons are anchored to a space in the classroom.

Every time you put up a poster, students will look to that spot in the classroom. It’s a good idea to do this because it helps students recall what they learned. I loved to have math spaces, reading spaces, content spaces and rule spaces. The students knew that I meant business when I walked into the rules space.

The students felt like they were a vital part of the classroom.

Every time the students were included in the creation of a space, it became ours. The students valued it more. There is something special about having our rules and our learning. Students respected the classroom more. They weren’t destroying or disrespecting the teacher when they did something they weren’t supposed to do. They were disrespecting and destroying something that was their own.

By the end of the year, the classroom was colorful and text rich. Each of the students could explain everything on the walls and locate everything they needed easily. At the end of the school year, they reminisced about all the things that were up and what they said.  While my class never did look Pinterest ready, but it sure was something special to each of my students.

Candice Yamnitz is a teacher gone stay-at-home mom. While raising her children, she freelance writes...

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  1. I adopted this philosophy at least 12 years ago…. I’ve been teaching kindergarten and have found that it is so overwhelming and overstimulating to young students to come into a new place with that much visual content, especially things in print if they don’t know how to read. My room is very plain and simple then as the first month goes on and we learn the rules, routines and expectations things come out of hiding and set up for use. I don’t think that it’s easier than setting it all up before the students arrive but it certainly is more meaningful for them.

  2. Wonderful! I do love some of the Pinterest rooms, but in so many cases, I find them visually exhausting! Imagine what the children feel like! Over the years, I have learned a few “rules”…either thru experience or observation of other classrooms. First, stick to one or two colors. Second, add some natural elements. Waldorf rooms/works on Pinterest are a good inspiration. I have found this both the aesthetics of the room (a goal in a Montessori room) and the behavior of the children. The idea of having the children contribute to what goes up is fantastic! Having ownership in the room also affects their engagement and behavior

  3. I love this approach. More of us should adopt this idea,considering we are given less and less time to prepare our classes.
    I took this approach a few years ago, and it has really made such a difference. I was able to spend more time on making the first few days of school about my students. Each time I put up a chart or poster, my students commented on it.

  4. I completely agree with this! Overstimulation is a problem for students today in so many ways. My room is beautiful at the beginning of school, but in a minimalistic and clean-slate way. A nice color scheme that we add to throughout the year.

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