Sent straight to your inbox


Sign up to receive 10 ready-to-use ELA resources your students will love! 


5 ELA Classroom Decor Ideas

5 Intentional ELA Classroom Decor Ideas

With back-to-school season right around the corner, I love thinking about different ELA classroom decor options to incorporate into a middle or high school learning space.

To me, there’s something about a new school year that suggests a fresh start, and I love the challenge of decorating for middle and high school students (they can be a tough, but rewarding, crowd!). The key, I think, is to strike a balance between something that is visually appealing and engaging, but that is also intentional and relates to your learning goals.

With this in mind, I’ve rounded up my five best ideas for intentional ELA classroom decorations. Whether this is your first year in a new classroom, or you’re looking to shake up your same old space, I hope that some of these ideas help you! 

1. Interactive Weekly Challenge

One of my favorite ELA classroom decor ideas incorporates an interactive weekly challenge related to the concept of growth mindset. 

This engaging bulletin board display can be set up at the beginning of the year and incorporated into classroom learning all year long! There are 20 hidden activity prompts that can be explored throughout the year – you can make this a regular part of your classroom routine, or surprise your students with activities at different times! My personal favorite is the “Human Knot Challenge” – it involves students working collaboratively in groups of up to 10 to ‘untie’ themselves from a large knot!

Each challenge only takes about 10-15 minutes to complete (some can be extended if you like). Best of all, once the display is prepared at the beginning of the year, it’s easy to stash the instructions for each activity in a folder for quick and easy reference whenever you need them!

Growth Mindset Challenges for ELA

2. Attention Grabbing

It’s no secret that middle and high school students are tough to impress, which is why attention-grabbing ELA classroom decor can really help.

I love decorating in ways that get students talking about language—especially its strange nature. One of my favorite bulletin board ideas is the “English is Weird” poster display.

This set of nine posters shows off exactly how strange the English language can be! Each of these funny posters presents a funny statement, sparking discussions about the surprising – or even illogical! – nature of the English language!

For example:

  • We have feet that smell and noses that run.
  • A slim chance and a fat chance mean the same thing.
  • I before E except after C – except when your weird neighbor is agreeing to a heist to seize a sleigh with eight feisty reindeer.
  • There is neither pine or apple in pineapple.

Middle and high school ELA students will definitely take notice of the display (and you may – fingers crossed! – even get a few laughs)!

English is Weird Bulletin Board Display

3. Skills-Based

Some approaches to education consider the classroom itself to be a “third teacher.” This is why I believe ELA classroom decor that focuses on specific literacy skills is always a good choice for middle and secondary learning spaces.

Posters that focus on wordplay (like these ones that showcase a Pun of the Week) give students something interesting – and on-task! – to talk about! I also love creating an “Isn’t It Ironic?” bulletin board to help students gain a better understanding of irony. You can showcase a different example at regular intervals, or create a full display! 

Irony Classroom Decor for the ELA Classroom

For writing-focused classes, a collection of homophone posters can help students avoid common errors. You might also wish to consider ELA classroom decorations that focus on writing fundamentals like parts of speech or punctuation. These can be useful tools to reinforce your lessons!

Parts of Speech ELA Classroom Decor


One of my favorite ELA classroom decor ideas is the interactive “Dead Word of the Week” bulletin board. Beginning this task in the weeks leading up to Halloween can be especially fun (although it can be used at any time of year – or even all year long!).

The display is designed to look like a graveyard for “dead” words, so you’ll want to begin with a large space. Each week, you declare a new “overused” word in your classroom to be “dead.” You can be as dramatic as you like when you reveal it on a tombstone!  Once a word has been identified as dead, students can refer to a provided list of eight stronger synonyms that can be used in its place. This is a fun and effective way to encourage your class to be intentional and creative with word choice in their writing.

Dead Word of the Week Classroom Decor Idea


Whether you’re looking for inspiration from great writers from the past, or turning the focus on one specific author, literary quotes make great ELA classroom decor choices.

For an easy and interactive display with a student-friendly twist, I really like creating an “Author Hashtag of the Week” bulletin board. Each week (or day, or month, or whatever time frame works for you!), you can put up a new quote, as well as a picture of the famous author and a hashtag of their name. This works nicely as an ever-changing ELA classroom decoration. In addition, it can also be linked to a writing prompt activity. This could be used by your whole class, or by students who want an enrichment opportunity. 

A twist on this idea is a “Mark Twain Hashtag of the Week” display. This creative bulletin board brings one of America’s favorite writers into the 21st century. Quotes from Mark Twain’s works are presented next to hashtags that relate to their content. 

For example:

  •  If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything #truth #honesty #integrity
  •  Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect. #reflection #criticalthinking
  •  Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness. #travel #explore #learn

Like the Author Hashtag of the Week, this ELA classroom decor idea can be incorporated all year long. Alternatively, you could make it the focal point of a Mark Twain novel study (The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn).

5. Text-Specific

ELA classroom decor that sparks discussion and interest about specific books can also be useful!

For example, a thought-provoking display of quotes from Lois Lowry’s Number the Stars can set the stage for the novel. For a different take, you could slowly reveal new quotes on a daily or weekly basis during the reading itself.

If you plan to teach R.J. Palacio’s novel Wonder this year, you can display quotes from the book in the same way. Or, you might want to focus on an aspect of the story instead. For example, a display of “Mr. Browne’s Precepts” can prompt a lot of discussion in your ELA class. You might even want to leave some space on your bulletin board for students to add their own precepts!

P.S. Did you know one of my favorite Wonder resources is available for free? Click here to check out the “Choose Kindness” printable bookmarks and classroom poster!

ELA Classroom Decor Ideas for Wonder by R.J. Palacio

I hope these tips spark some ideas for you as you plan your ELA classroom decorations for the year ahead! 

Looking for more back-to-school inspiration? Check out my post about 10 Things Every ELA Teacher Should Do in the First Month of School.

share this post


sent straight to your inbox!

10 days of ELA TEACHER