You don't have to empty your wallet to create an engaging space. These ideas will help you spruce up your class space without breaking the bank.  

  1. Use old calendars with great pictures. Tell your friends and family members to save their old calendars. Laminate the pictures and you will have a collection of visuals with a theme. Be on the lookout for great calendars when you travel, especially in the summer when the current year's calendars are selling for half price.
  2. Ask for movie posters that theaters are discarding. If you smile and explain that you are an educator, that your students "would absolutely LOVE to have that poster in the classroom," you will be surprised how willing businesses are to contribute to your cause.
  3. Design a mystery board that presents a problem or concept from the curriculum that you teach. Pique students' interest by posing a question using terminology to be learned during the semester. Make the mystery relevant and intriguing.
  4. Involve students in creating a collage using a collection of interesting objects, such as book jackets or CD covers. It may seem a little wacky, but remember that the more whimsical, the better. Visit theme restaurants for ideas. Your classroom can become a living museum when you tie these artifacts in with your curriculum.
  5. Never pass up a garage sale. You will be amazed at what treasures you will find for your classroom. You may find framed posters as well as items for a prop box to be used when students create skits for vocabulary words.


This article was adapted from The New Teacher's Complete Sourcebook: Middle School by Paula Naegle, © 2002, published by Scholastic.