You know those paper punch out letters that come in all different shapes, sizes, and finishes that at some point grace every teacher’s walls? I find it so difficult to pop them off the perforated sheet without ripping them. Mending them with tape looks sloppy and I invariably end up buying more packages so I can have another capital “A,” but that leaves me with more Q, X, and Z’s than I’ll ever have use for.
When you switch classrooms every year, it becomes wasteful and costly to replace destroyed letters that were casualties of the annual moving. This summer, after hours of perusing Pinterest, I had my next classroom DIY idea: Why not create a reusable homework board banner?
When planning a classroom DIY project, it is important to keep your budget a priority. As teachers, we all know that stocking and decorating our classrooms are out of pocket. No, we don’t have to do it, but something compels us to make creative and inviting learning spaces for our students, and comfortable and functional work environments for ourselves. Any project you take on should repurpose old materials as much as possible, and always be cost effective.
Step 1: Shop Your Garage
The donate pile. We all have one. You had the best intentions to load up your car four months ago but just haven’t gotten around to it. In our pile was a poster frame from Michaels that my brother was tossing. It was the perfect structural base of my homework board; the frame is plastic and the backboard is a sturdy cardboard, so these are relatively easy and cheap to pick up if you don’t have one.
Step 2: Letters and Embellishments
I found these conveniently pre-packaged burlap and chalkboard signs in the wedding decor section at Walmart. The letters were in the same section and are large enough to be legible from across the room. I needed three packages of each to have enough vowels and placards to spell out “Were You Absent.”
Step 3: Lay It Out
Step 4: Hot Glue the Letters
These letters are supposed to be self-adhesive, but the glue didn’t last for more than a couple of minutes. My trusty hot glue gun got the job done and, months later, those letters still haven’t budged.
Step 5: String ’em up
These wooden pendants already had holes and came with more than enough burlap string. I tied a knot before and after each word to make sure that the letters didn’t slide around before I glued them down to the board.
Step 6: Cover the Backboard
I hot glued leftover burlap sheets and scrapbooking paper to the cardboard backboardfor some added visual interest.
Step 4: Place and Glue the Letters
Step 5: Pop the Backboard into the Frame
Step 6: Hang in Your Classroom
I always use Command Strips to hang frames in my classroom. They are durable, nothing ever falls, and they don’t leave any marks or holes when you remove them. Beneath my homework banner I have the wooden hanging folders where I place extra handouts for absent students in each course. This has eliminated the, “I was away. Did I miss anything?” scramble.
What is your favourite classroom DIY project? Where do you find inspiration for your projects?