Good news, everyone!
Creating Spanish decorations doesn’t need to be time-consuming or expensive.
In fact, you can make some colorful, creative decorations that students actually love—and learn from!—quite easily.
And you don’t have to overthink things, either.
Crazy decoration ideas can get expensive, fast. Just KISS—Keep It Simple, Spanish teachers.
The simpler classroom decorations are often the most effective, because they transform everyday items into Spanish learning experiences.
And they never become intimidating or overwhelming, because they already feel familiar to students.
That said, some teachers are proponents of white, empty walls to help students avoid distractions.
If you’ve ever spent five minutes in a classroom, you’ll know that students can always find something to be distracted by—like counting the number of bricks in the wall, watching a gnat flying around or chatting with fellow classmates.
If they’re going to be distracted at all, I vote for making that distraction a Spanish experience.
Why Decorate Your Spanish Classroom?
- So your students see Spanish all the time — This can be especially helpful for challenging topics like grammar. Rather than drilling grammar rules over and over, you can help students to learn grammar faster by exposing them to it naturally over time.
- So your students feel like they’re in a foreign country! — Being surrounded by Spanish gets students that much closer to an immersion experience, even if you’re not teaching in an immersion-style classroom. Some of the recommended decorations below give students training wheels to start understanding and speaking more on the spot, so this will improve their vocabulary and get them practicing their Spanish skills in real, casual conversations.
- Build associations between images, actions and Spanish words — Decorations are all about the power of visuals. Writing text on a poster isn’t always enough. It’s really important for students to build associations between words and memorable images while learning a new language. They’ll remember it more, since that’s how our brains are hardwired to learn our native language.
- Subconscious learning — Teach your students to know the meaning of a Spanish word or phrase by just looking at a picture! No instructions required. They’ll connect the dots in their brain while looking at the connection between an illustrative image and its corresponding word or phrase.
Not only are the above points true, but all in all, decorations tend to make for a warmer, friendlier and more welcoming environment. I remember my first Spanish classroom in middle school being a much-needed reprieve from our plain, white-bricked classrooms with no windows and exposed pipes (yes, it was an ugly building). My teacher hung bright, colorful decorations in Spanish everywhere, and I always looked forward to stepping into that fun place.
Classroom decor can make students feel much more at ease with the idea of sitting down and learning for a period of time. The interest could be further amplified when you use fantastic, engaging content as learning material, such as the kind you’d find on FluentU.
With FluentU’s diverse and growing library of authentic content, students learn and live Spanish in an immersive fashion.
FluentU works for the educator as well! FluentU’s integrated teaching tools make it simple to monitor your students’ progress as they complete exercises and review the newly-learned material.
Check out FluentU today to see how you can get your students even more excited for language studies!
Now, let’s see how you can make your teaching space welcoming for your students!
6 Cool, Crafty Decorations for Your Spanish Classroom
1. Mapa del Mundo (Map of the World)
Most of the teachers suggest an only-Spanish-speaking-countries board. But why don’t we just go further with that? After all, we’re not teaching geography for geography’s sake. A map of the world can not only teach your students where things are, but also key Spanish vocabulary for countries, capitals and nationalities.
Set aside a class day to make the map together, as a class, or do it yourself after class hours. Jumbo, colored construction paper, sharpies and scissors is all it takes. At the end of the day, I guarantee your classroom will be filled with vocabulary, culture and traditions from around the world. Ready for a lesson, anyone?
To start making your own world map, find big materials to work with—no tiny map will do. Make sure it’s wide, clear and easily visible in your classroom. And each country has to be big enough so that you can put at least the following information: Country, nationality and a flag.
From there, you can easily use thumbtacks and string to connect other pieces of paper to countries and show landmarks, traditional clothing, typical foods or the lyrics of a national song—imagine, the strings will extend out from the main map, leading to paper with more information about each country.
To give you an idea of how this might look, check out this photo from an American history classroom.
You can have students create these supplementary sheets—all in Spanish, of course!—as homework assignments. With the world’s 196 countries to explore, that gives you plenty to work with.
The idea is ultimately to create an interactive and colorful map so that you and your students have plenty of visual material in one go-to resource for this topic. Improve their grammar and vocabulary by including interactive activities and games.
Don’t have the time or just don’t feel like doing it yourself? No worries, there are multiple options you can by online—buy a cheap mega map like this one on Amazon. Even if it’s in English, you can stick your Spanish country labels on top.
2. Creative Classroom Calendars
There’s more than one way to exploit this idea. For instance, the simplest one is to create a colorful display of the days of the week in Spanish so students get familiarized over time. Quite simply, they’ll just see:
domingo – lunes – martes – miércoles – jueves – viernes – sábado
One large rectangle, cut from that same jumbo, colored construction paper, can represent each day—and each week you can tack on a piece of paper with activities to expect over the week, or class events like exams, birthdays and presentations. It might look something like this display (click to see example) but with space to write things down or tack papers on.
Or you can opt for a wall organizer with folders. Label it with the days of the week and place your daily handouts and worksheets there. For advanced classrooms, you can add in a daily news story in Spanish to read through.
To add some artistic flair to your classroom walls, fill it with bright and eye-catching images alongside the days of the week. Create your own theme and display it for your students to enjoy, learn and practice.
Another great, crafty calendar idea is to build an Hoy Es (Today Is) board, which includes the days of the week and more—the full date (day of the week, date, month and year).
Hoy es (Today Is)
lunes, 26 (Monday, 26)
de septiembre (of September)
The Hoy Es board is a display that one student will be chosen to set up each day, showing the date in Spanish. It’s so easy and affordable to make, and it also gives good results. Just take a look at how cool this simple object can look.
You can make one yourself by making cards for each day of the week (lunes, martes), each date (1, 2, 3), each month (septiembre, octubre) and stash them near the board; a chalkboard, magnetic whiteboard or corkboard usually does the trick for this display. Hang it someplace easily visible so everybody can see it and practice every day when they walk into your class.
If you already have assigned a Foreign Corner in your classroom (see below), it’s a great idea to combine this with your Hoy Es board.
3. The Spanish Color Spectrum
Add more color to your classroom! Let your students get hooked on the colors of the spectrum by decorating your classroom with colorful images and examples. They’ll learn effortlessly and effectively. For beginner students, stick with the basic colors. Advanced students can learn specific shades of each individual color, and you can attach images representing more advanced vocabulary to each.
By adding images or animals alongside each color, you’ll have more impact on your students. Pick a vocabulary theme if you’d like—in the below example I use animals, because who doesn’t love animals?
Again, this is another display easily fashioned from colored construction paper, or you can paint up plain, white paper too. Some crayons, sharpies or water paint are all you need to build a nice, colorful display:
Los Colores (The colors) — Use all colors of the spectrum and paint the title on one piece of poster board.
Azul (blue) — Paint samples of the color, using a spectrum of different shades of blue. Draw and add pictures of blue things (blue whales, bluebirds).
Verde (green) — Paint samples of the color, using a spectrum of different shades of green. Draw and add pictures of green things (lizards, frogs).
And so on with the other colors.
Let your imagination flow here! Make sure the Spanish text is nice and clear, so it’s visible for the entire classroom. Here’s a lovely example of how the finished product might look—though I recommend adding even more animals and other images to the mix.
Now, just find the perfect spot for your Spanish color spectrum, and you’re done!
4. The Classroom Rule Book
Who says class rules have to be boring? Make them interesting by building a motivating display for everyone.
In order to create the perfect learning environment for your class, you can display a friendly Classroom Rules Poster in Spanish that not only teaches your students some grammar, but also helps them stay focused and reminds them how to behave—and stay positive!—through friendly visual aids.
You can make one yourself using a board or poster—the goal is to create a collage with your Spanish classroom rules and highlight them with plenty of color—so of course, you’ll need to keep those paints and sharpies handy!
One quick idea would be to draw and paint a rule or download funny rule-themed clip-art. For example, here’s a cute bit of clip art of a student working, and here’s another of a student raising his hand. Combine those with your own Spanish classroom rules, then print and laminate them to share with your class.
Each rule can have its own poster or paper, or they can all be blended together in one poster, as was done for this nice example of a rules poster.
Here are a few ideas of rules you can include:
Reglas de la Clase
1. Escuchar al profesor cuando él está hablando. (Listen to the teacher when he’s talking.)
2. Levantar la mano antes de hablar. (Raise your hand before talking.)
3. Pedir permiso para levantarte. (Ask permission to get up.)
4. Hacer silencio cuando otra persona está hablando. (Be quiet when another person is talking.)
You can have a class discussion to hammer out what all the class rules should be—you’d be surprised by how conscientious students really are, when asked how everyone should behave and treat one another.
A fun way to mix this up is to have a silly “rule of the day” that students can take turns making up, or which they can be allowed to make up as a reward for good behavior. For example, the designated student might want to add a rule like, “if someone sneezes, we all have to sing a Spanish song.” Though to prevent total madness, you can always dream these up yourself.
5. Spanish Survival Phrases
Take one step towards a Spanish-only classroom with this decoration. And eliminate the stress students feel from racking their brains for the right words!
Many Spanish teachers make their students ask the common questions in Spanish, but by displaying the necessary survival phrases on funny and entertaining posters, you’ll have another great tool you can use to cheer up your classroom and teach in a fun way.
Students quickly become familiar with the most useful and common phrases—and then some!
You can make the funniest, most attention-grabbing posters by hand, using your day-to-day school supplies and combining them with your imagination. You can even design them on your computer, print ’em out and laminate them for the nicer, glossier look of permanence.
Some examples include:
- Maestro, ¿puedo ir al baño por favor? (Teacher, can I go to the bathroom, please?)
- Hola, ¿cómo te llamas? (Hello, what’s your name?)
- ¿Qué hace un pez? Nada. (What does a fish do? Swim./Nothing. — This one’s just a cute Spanish joke, but has valuable vocabulary to learn too.)
- Add a cool image of a fish.
Students will start associating useful phrases with the visual input you provide them. They’ll start thinking in Spanish effortlessly. The more funny and creative you get with your phrase and image combinations, the more you’ll encourage subconscious learning in your students.
6. The Foreign Corner
I really, really like this one. It’s a total crowd-pleaser. You’ll probably get other teachers meandering across the hall to see what you’ve put together, just because the finished product looks so darn cute.
Just imagine being able to travel with your entire class to a foreign country—I know you’re digging this idea, so forget all about the paperwork and make it happen right in your own classroom.
The basic idea is to create a cozy classroom nook that’s also an immersion environment meant to feel like visiting a foreign country, and it’s hands-down the best environment for role-play activities, culture lessons, relaxing breaks and casual conversations between students.
You can even use it for little student-teacher meetings about class performance or one-on-one oral exams, and students will feel ten times less nervous than they would sitting at your official-looking teacher’s desk.
Now, how to make this magical space?
Let’s run with the ever-lovely coffee shop theme, which is ridiculously cozy and naturally integrates Spanish text. You’ll recreate a real, corner coffee shop for students to visit and improve their language skills.
Simply place a small, rustic table and chair set in a corner of the classroom, along with a few cheap chalkboards, and add some coffee shop fixings: a warm lamp, a few funny mugs with Spanish expressions on them, plates, glasses, bottles and plastic food toys. Put together a full bar table using cardboard. Make a cardboard front door with a Cafetería sign and put it on the wall, or on a temporary partition. Get yourself a Bienvenidos carpet. Have the check ready on the table, with food items listed and a total price that needs paying.
Add in all the tiny little details such as a Spanish menu, complete with food of the day, and cafe-style artwork. Consult authentic Spanish menus for material. Every week, month or semester, make this corner themed with language and menu options from a specific Spanish-speaking country. Put together little “passport” booklets for students, and once students have spent a certain amount of time in this Foreign Corner, add a stamp from the featured country to their passport!
The chalkboards noted above are perhaps the most important part of the whole set-up: Have one small chalkboard to write out a Spanish menu, another one for common phrases/questions in Spanish, and yet another for jokes, idioms, expressions and funny phrases. If you have a tall chalkboard or corkboard, here’s the perfect spot to display and write your “Classroom Rules” that we talked about before.
And it’s even the perfect place to keep your schedules, calendars and your Spanish Survival Phrases from earlier. Take advantage of every little detail to make your students practice in this immersion space.
Getting all the materials is the hardest part; after that it’s all about putting the items together and having fun. For extra inspiration, check out Pinterest and the crafty teachers using an idea like this. Many general play materials are available on websites with educational items like Carson-Dellosa or Teachers Pay Teachers.
Add lots of color and unique details to create the perfect, trendy learning space—then get started with immersion activities!
With all these simple yet exciting decorations, you’re more than ready to bring your classroom’s lessons to life.
Now, put these decorations together, and this time tomorrow you could be hanging out in a cool coffee shop abroad with your students, all while they learn and get an authentic Spanish experience.
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