Back to school season is just around the corner and it's already time to start classroom setup. This is hands-down my favorite part of going back to school. There's just something so fun about selecting the perfect decor and watching it all come together in a classroom. Ever since my friend Melanie from Schoolgirl Style launched her new product lines with Carson-Dellosa, I have been dying to set up a classroom using the pieces she designed. I also wanted to push myself to design a classroom on a budget and a bless another teacher with a new design. I can't wait to tell you a little more about this special classroom and the gorgeous “Twinkle Twinkle You're a Star” product line from Carson-Dellosa. This post is a good one so grab a coffee, settle in, and get ready to pin your favorite images!
Thank you to Carson-Dellosa for sponsoring this post. This post also contains affiliate links. I earn a small commission each time someone makes a purchase through one of my links, which helps to support the blog. All opinions stated are my own and I only support brands and products that I use and truly love. I hope you enjoy reading today's post as much as I enjoyed sharing it with you.
A Little About the Classroom
One of the greatest blessings that this blog has brought into my life is the ability to share the fruits of my labor with other teachers and students. When Carson-Dellosa approached me about sharing their new Twinkle Twinkle You're a STAR! product line from Schoolgirl Style, I knew the perfect place to showcase the collection: the Learning Center at my school. When students at my school need a little extra attention or guidance with their studies, they are referred to the Learning Center for some personalized small group instruction with Mrs. Amy Perna – our Learning Center coordinator.
Some students come to Mrs. Perna because they need an extra challenge beyond the classroom curriculum, but many students come to her for additional support. The Learning Center services students in grades K-8, and the room is designed to assist students of all ages. The young children LOVE coming to visit Mrs. Perna, but the older students don't always have the same motivation.
Amy's room has always been neat, tidy, organized, and inviting. I just wanted to breathe a little life into the space and make it a place where students of all ages LOVE spending their time. Here are a few photos I took of her classroom a while back.
As you can see, the classroom was functional for students and Amy's unique classroom needs. I just wanted to pop a little color into the space. I also wanted to challenge myself to transform in the room in a few special ways.
My first challenge was not to rely upon any lanterns or other decor hanging from the ceiling. Many students who come to see Mrs. Perna struggle with attention and need a little extra nudge to stay focused on the task at hand. I love using lanterns in the classroom, but they weren't a good fit for this classroom setting. I also know that many teachers are not permitted to hang any type of decor from the ceiling in their classrooms by order of the fire marshal. This classroom design proves that you do not need to have lanterns, poms, fans, or any other hanging decor to create a unique and special classroom space.
I also pushed myself to design an entire classroom with a budget in mind. After 12 years of teaching in a Catholic school, I know all about tight budgets and I know the pressure teachers feel about creating an attractive classroom when they are just trying to make ends meet. The only new materials purchased for Amy's classroom were consumable items: Fadeless paper, borders, cardstock, printables, posters, and cutouts from Carson-Dellosa. All of the furniture and accessories were already part of Amy's classroom decor or were items traded/discarded by other teachers (including a few items that were in my basement at home!)
Now that you know a little about Mrs. Perna's classroom and my goals for her new decor, are you ready to see her Twinkle, Twinkle You're a STAR! theme classroom from Carson-Dellosa and Schoolgirl Style?
Twinkle Twinkle You're A Star Classroom Tour
Mrs. Perna's new Learning Center is light, bright, and full of fun. As children look around the room, they are surrounded by inspirational messages reminding them to follow their dreams and believe in themselves. Since so many children who enter this room are struggling and frustrated, it is important that they are encouraged to persevere and follow their dreams.
Selecting a Color Scheme
The thing I love most about the Twinkle Twinkle You're a STAR! collection is how versatile it is. The set has classic chalkboard-style decor and really beautiful borders with a rainbow of dots or vertical stripes. The beauty of the mulit-color borders is how well they compliment so many classroom color schemes.
Like many classrooms in my school, Amy's room features a red accent well. That's right – red. The bright red walls came with the school when we moved in to our new building a few years back and they are pretty low on the school beautification project list. They will stay red as long as they are functional and not in need of a fresh coat of paint – which makes it tricky to plan a classroom color scheme around.
A chant that young students are familiar with goes “you get what you get and you don't throw a fit.” That's kind of how classrooms go. A teacher moves in to the room, sees the available space, and tries to make the best of it – without throwing a fit. When I began planning Mrs. Perna's classroom I knew that I would need to incorporate the red wall into her classroom design. Before starting this project, if you would have told me that I would knowingly incorporate lime green and pink accents into a room with a red wall and love how it turned out, I probably would have laughed in your face. But thanks to the Twinkle, Twinkle You're a STAR! collection, it all came together and I love it!
Decorating the Bulletin Boards
As soon as I laid eyes on the Rainbow Big Dots straight border that Melanie designed, I fell madly in love and I knew I had to incorporate it in this classroom design. It had the most beautiful bright rainbow of colors (including red, which tied perfectly into the accent wall!) I also wanted to add a touch of black to create a little contrast and enhance the chalkboard style of the Twinkle Twinkle collection. The Black with Polka Dot and White with Polka Dot straight borders from Schoolgirl Style added just the pop of contrast that I needed. I used a simple black scalloped border to keep the boards from looking too busy. (I also wanted to add a pop of white around the green chalkboard, so I flipped the black border over and used the white side to trim the chalkboard.)
Selecting the perfect bulletin board paper took careful consideration. The “azure” shade of Fadeless paper from Pacon was a beautiful compliment to the red accent wall and it coordinated nicely with the rainbow shades in the Twinkle Twinkle collection. I absolutely love how all of the boards in this classroom turned out. (The printable alphabet is available in my TpT store.)
Decorating Above the Windows
The space above each window in Amy's classroom was pretty awkward to work with. They aren't quite big enough to be functional and they aren't bulletin boards – they're just an unusual glossy white surface. All of the classrooms on the first floor of my school have them and I quickly learned that the best way to cover the space is to attach fadeless paper with clear packing tape around the edges and use loops of packing tape to hold the border in place.
Many of the inspirational posters that you see displayed above the window are available at teacher supply stores or carsondellosa.com. The traditional poster size was too big for Amy's classroom windows, so I used the classroom printables available online and printed them at 170%. They were a perfect fit!
The space above Mrs. Perna's classroom windows is bright, welcoming, and absolutely perfect!
Creating a Cozy Classroom Library
Like most classrooms, Amy also has a little library set up for her students. Classroom libraries will always have a special place in my heart and I wanted to make this corner extra special to encourage a love of reading in all children who come to visit the Learning Center.
All of the books in Amy's library had been contained in dark blue book boxes, but I wanted to inject a little more color into the space. As luck would have it, another teacher just a few doors down had an assortment of neon book boxes from Really Good Stuff. I'm currently helping that teacher to decorate her nautical them classroom – which is perfect because we traded her clashing rainbow neon bins for Amy's dark blue bins. I added in a few red bins that I had in storage to coordinate with that red wall and the rainbow arrangement was the perfect compliment to the Twinkle Twinkle classroom decor.
The books in each bin have already been sorted by genre and theme. Amy plans to add library labels to the bins later this summer. In the meantime, we added mini star cutouts from the Twinkle Twinkle collection onto the front of each bin. If you find yourself short on time and need your classroom ready in a hurry, don't panic. The same thing happened to me and it was ok. Just do the best you can and improvise. And maybe add a few cute cutouts to get you by 🙂 Click here for tips on how to organize and set up your own classroom library.
Once the bins were set up and organized, all that was missing was a little cozy seating! We added some super-simple, inexpensive seating to Amy's classroom library. The black and white polka dot rug shown above (similar here) fit perfectly with the decor and helped to define the space. Amy already owned a pink saucer-style chair that looked fantastic with her new Twinkle Twinkle decor. I am STILL in awe of the fact that a bright pink chair actually looks nice positioned in front of a bright red wall!
Like many classrooms at my school, Amy has to work around a giant metal heating/ac unit along one wall. It has an air vent that runs along the bottom which can't be blocked and the custodian needs easy access to the unit throughout the school year. The room would look to sparse if the heating unit were left plain, so we attached Black with Polka dots straight border around the edges to create the visual effect of a bulletin board. I accented the space by printing “Dream Big Little One” banner onto white cardstock at a 400% scale and glued the pieces together.
I wanted to add a pop of color help create a focal point, so I cut the Vertical Rainbow Stripes border into narrow strips and glued those to the edges of the banner. Adding a final layer of black scalloped border gave it just the right contrast to make it pop from the beige cabinet and a few star cutouts created the perfect finishing touch!
We placed a few fun seats on each side of the banner. Another teacher at the school had just finished packing up her classroom for an out-of-state move and she left two teal cube seats behind. They were a little beat up and had seen better days, but they matched and were FREE so we grabbed them for Amy's classroom. I topped each seat with a rainbow pillow that couldn't have been a better match for the Twinkle Twinkle decor. I purchased the pillows from IKEA several years ago and used them in my Rainbow Chalkboard classroom. They've been sitting in my basement ever since I changed themes and I was so happy to bring them out and put them to good use! The best part: I found very similar pillows and black cube storage seats online for anyone who wants to recreate this look in their own classroom.
Learning Space For Older Students
Young children are the only students who come to the learning center. My school goes all the way up to 8th Grade and many middle school students also spent time in the Learning Center throughout the day. Amy has simple rows of large desks for those students to work in a more structured setting.
This part of the room didn't need as many bright colors or decor so we kept things simple and trimmed the whiteboard with black scalloped and Rainbow Big Dots straight border. The younger students occassionally work in this part of the classroom so we placed a simple black and white alphabet from the Schoolgirl Style Industrial Chic decor above the whiteboard.
This area of the room may be simple, but it's perfect for the older students (or even younger students who especially need a break from the bright colors.)
Some people might be wondering if this classroom design is a little too “babyish” for the older students, but I can tell you, they love spending time in a beautiful room that their teacher took time to decorate. My kindergarten students have seventh grade buddies and the seventh graders always gush over how much they love spending time in my classroom. I'm certain that students of all ages will love spending time inside of Mrs. Perna's classroom.
Teacher Desk Corner
Every teacher needs an area of the classroom that can be used for planning and prep. Mrs. Perna's desk sat perfectly in an otherwise awkward corner of the classroom. We decorated a nearby bulletin board with a coordinating calendar set from the Twinkle Twinkle decor line. On the adjacent bulletin board, I printed another digital banner at a scale of 400%, attached the pieces, and trimmed it with border to match the rest of the classroom. We placed a blue chair that Amy already owned in front of the boards and popped another rainbow pillow in the chair (similar here) along with a cute math themed throw pillow that was already in the room.
We also added a pop of color to Amy's teacher desk by covering the front of it with chalkboard Fadeless paper, Rainbow Big Dots border and more star cutouts. What teacher wouldn't want to work in this cozy little corner? It's the perfect last stop on our little classroom tour.
If you fell in love with this collection and are ready to shop, I made it super-simple for you and created a graphic of all my favorite pieces from the Twinkle Twinkle You're a STAR! collection from Carson-Dellosa and Schoolgirl Style. See the list below for easy shopping links!
1. Rainbow Big Dots straight border | 2. Welcome bulletin board set | 3. Follow Your Dreams bulletin board set | 4. A Star is Born printable chart | 5. Dream Big Little One printable chart | 6. Twinkle Twinkle You're a STAR! calendar bulletin board set | 7. Colors Star cut-outs | 8. White with Polka Dots straight borders | 9. Black with Polka Dots straight borders | 10. Pink with Polka Dots straight borders | 11. Twinkle Twinkle You're a Star! Dream Big printable pennants | 12. Believe chart | 13. Shine Bright chart | 14. Dream Big chart | 15. Stars and the Future Belongs chart | 16. Twinkle Twinkle chart | 17. Vertical Rainbow Stripes straight borders
Decorating on a Budget
If there is one thing I have learned from this experience, it is that one teacher's trash is another teacher's treasure! As educators we tend to hold on to so many things just in case we need them one day and we keep using items that don't match because they are functional. If you find yourself with great quality items in your classroom that just don't match, keep your eyes open around your school. Chances are, there's a colleague who owns something that would be perfect for your classroom that you just need to barter with! Mrs. Perna capitalized on some seriously perfect pieces – like rainbow pillows, Really Good Stuff book bins, and cube seats that were no longer in use and was able to trade her unwanted old blue bins for someone who will treasure them. I've borrowed and traded many times over the years for my own classroom and it's always win-win!
Twinkle Twinkle You're a STAR Bulletin Board Set Giveaway
I am so excited to share a little magic of the Twinkle Twinkle You're a STAR classroom decor line with one lucky Kinder Craze reader. Carson-Dellosa is generously giving away two great items to help transform your classroom. Use the rafflecopter below for your chance to win a birthday bulletin board set and a Follow Your Dreams bulletin board set!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
I wish you all the best as you prepare to set up and head back into your own classroom this summer!