Science Classroom Decor for the Pinterest-Challenged

Pinterest Is Just Not Me… Sigh

Fairy lights look so gorgeous… in other people’s classrooms.

Huge vinyl science wall decals are super cool… and also out of my budget.

Picking a color palette? I’m useless!

I am NOT someone who has an eye for aesthetic design. I am sooooo not that talented teacher who can effortlessly make my classroom look like it stepped out of a magazine. Do I want to be that person? YES! I desperately want my classroom to look like all those Pinterest-worthy classrooms that I scroll through on Instagram! I wish I had that design talent! But I don’t have it in me, I just don’t. I can’t even pull that off in my house!

These thoughts have been making me feel a little (OK, a lot) lost as I try to decorate my brand new lab. I feel guilty that I have a big, beautiful blank slate but I can’t make it look like a magazine.

Adding “Me” to My Classroom

However, while I know what I’m not… I also know what I am. I only have “me” to bring to the table, so here it is… here is what I CAN bring to my classroom…

🌿 I love the natural world and want to make kids love it, too.

🔎 I think it’s important to expose kids to more than just the curriculum. I want to make them excited about science in general!

🐚 I love seeing kids “play” with objects from the natural world… objects kids can freely pick up, run their hand over, turn over, and ask questions about. I love providing touchable objects like taxidermy, weather instruments, feathers, pine cones, shells, fossils, minerals, science-based toys, and scientific models that don’t necessarily relate to my exact curriculum.

🐣 Animals and plants are important in my classroom. We have lots of plants, a snail, a fish, and a mouse. And, I hatch peacock eggs every spring!

Below are some more of the inexpensive decor ideas I came up with to make my classroom more “me”.

Found Nature Objects

When I go for a walk, I grab stuff!  OK – this one seems pretty basic – but I can’t tell you how much my students love to look at the simplest items from nature.  We take for granted that kids just don’t play outside much anymore, so things that adults think are commonplace are remarkably new to some students.  Kids pour over my tray of dried seed pods from various plants (think maple “helicopters”, acorns, pine cones). Randomly placed feathers, large strips of bark, shells, cool rocks, fallen birds’ nests, branches with dried berries, etc. are examined on a daily basis. A simbit of moss and dirt in a mason jar is a huge curiosity piece.  Nature items don’t have to be “extra”.  Even these simple things are curiosity factors for kids.

Found Turtle Shell
Moss in a Mason Jar
Beaker of Found Feathers

Vintage Specimen Posters

This look makes me feel remotely Pinterest-y!  I searched “Cavallini Posters” on Amazon and a bunch came up.  They’re only about $6 each, so I got a set of 3 for under $20.  There’s many different ones to fit your own aesthetic, too – WhalesButterflies, Owls, Birds, Insects, Wildflowers, and Mushrooms.  (There’s a lot more than that – those are just some super cool ones!) The one I really wish I got (but didn’t) is the Jelly Fish poster.  I asked my librarian to laminate the posters and then I hung them in these wooden poster hangers.  Voilà!

Cavallini Poster
Cavallini Poster

Element Symbol Sayings

Each year I make different customized sayings from periodic table element boxes.  My favorites are Be Kind (Be-K-I-Nd), Science Is Fun (Sc-I-E-N-Ce I-S F-U-N), and Science Class (Sc-I-E-N-Ce Cl-As-S).  But, you can easily make whatever saying you want!  Simply enter a phrase you think might work into www.chemspeller.com, and it will instantly give you the phrase in element symbols.  If you’d like, use this very simple PowerPoint template I created to make your own.  Simply duplicate the slide several times, and then add in the information for the elements of your choice.  I print them on colored paper for extra pop.

“Be Kind” Elements Display

Take a Sneak Peak into my Classroom

So, that’s my classroom. It’s never going to look like Pinterest but it really feels like “me”, and I’m good with that.  Take a look inside my classroom and view my decorations on my Instagram page!

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