We stumbled across Erin Morrison's blog post, "How To Create A Cozy Classroom" and knew that we had to share it with you! We hope you enjoy it as much as we did!
How To Create a Cozy Classroom
"Creating a classroom where students feel safe, comfortable, and valued is so important to me. I also want my classroom to be cozy, because it is really their "home away from home" for about 10 months out of the school year! Over the past couple of weeks, I've been working in my classroom a little bit at a time and I thought I'd share some ideas for how to create a cozy classroom!
1. Curtains- Curtains make a classroom feel very homey. You can do either short or long curtains. Every year up until this year, I've done short curtains at the top of my windows. This year, I decided to try something different! I bought long red curtains at Wal-Mart, cut them off and sewed them so they were the right height and then added a polka dot tie-back. I love how they turned out! Curtains are such an easy way to change your classroom feel.
2. Chair Pockets- Adding chair pockets to your classroom provides color and functionality. These are very simple to make! I made 12 total for my classroom: 6 for my guided reading table, 3 for computer center, and 3 for writing center. These pockets will be used to hold activities for each center and books/reading response folders during guided reading. There are great tutorials all over the web for how to make these. I just made up my own as I went!
3. Classroom Rug- Adding a rug to your classroom is not only colorful and cozy, but it is also beneficial so that students know where your meeting area is. You can purchase large rugs at Wal-Mart, Target, or any other store that sells home decor items. I was lucky enough to have this amazing rug donated from some generous donors on DonorsChoose.org. If you don't know about this organization, you need to check it out [here]!
4. Paper Lanterns- I was so inspired by Schoolgirl Style when I saw these adorable paper lanterns on her website. These add a bit of whimsy to the classroom! I used matching ribbon to tie a bow at the top and then hung a table number below each lantern.
5. Ribbon- Speaking of ribbon, here are a couple of ways that I incorporate ribbon into my classroom. The picture on the left is a trash can that sits on top of each table. I found these adorable buckets at Garden Ridge. I used the same ribbon that is on the paper lanterns and tied a bow around the middle. The picture on the right is my calendar area. Using fun ribbon is a great way to hang pocket charts, posters, or anything else that you can think of! I used the green polka dot ribbon to hang my calendar and my Common Core posters.
6. Wooden Bookshelves- I found this cute little bookshelf at a garage sale a few summers ago. It was in pretty bad shape but I knew it had potential! I painted it red and use it for my students' check-in area. They clip in here and also get their lunch envelopes from the baskets. Garage sales are great places to find cheap bookshelves that can be painted to match your classroom!
7. Pillows- Adding pillows to your classroom gives students comfy areas to sit and adds some coziness to your classroom. I love these pillows from Lakeshore Learning! They are great because they are easily cleaned and wiped off. (You know all about the germs that float around our classrooms!) The health inspector especially liked these pillows that weren't made of regular fabric =) I use these at my listening center so that students can sit and enjoy listening to a good book! I also had these donated to my classroom through DonorsChoose.org!
8. Plants- (Please don't mind the SOLO cup and label!) Plants are a great way to teach your students to take care of something and be responsible. They also enhance your classroom's appearance! This is actually a picture of a plant that we used during a science experiment, but if you look at the picture of the classroom curtains above, you will see the red pots that I use to hold our classroom plants. I just bought cheap clay pots and spray painted them red to go with my classroom. We have a classroom job called the "Plant Caretaker" who is charge of watering the plants each day. They love taking care of these and the plants just add a nice touch to the classroom.Well that's about it! I know that you may not be able to do some of these ideas due to rules at your school (such as hanging things from the ceiling) but I hope this gave you some ideas for adding some coziness to your classroom!"