Saturday, August 1, 2015

Upper Elementary BTS Blog Hop: 10 Steps to Creating a Zen Teacher Space

Hey Teacher Friends!  I'm excited to be part of the Upper Elementary Back-to-School Blog Hop!  We have some great BTS tips, freebies, and several chances to enter to win TpT gift cards just in time for back to school!
Back-to-school is a busy time... 
... and it just keeps getting busier.  Sometimes even the teacher needs a time out.  
Having a calm, quiet, visually pleasing space 
is a must to keep your mind and spirit in a positive place. 
Here are 10 easy steps to help you create a little peace and serenity in your own classroom! 

Teachers spend a lot of time decorating and organizing their classrooms to make them perfect for students.  But what about a space for the teacher?  Most teachers spend between 8 - 10 hectic hours a day in their classrooms and sometimes even more!  Make that time more productive and pleasurable by creating a zen space just for you.  Here are 10 easy steps:

1.  KEEP IT SMALL.  Your Zen space doesn't need to take up the entire corner of your classroom.  Mine consists of a small bulletin board space, a bookshelf, and my desk.

2.  ADD COLOR - Choose colors that you personally find calming.  It doesn't matter if it matches the rest of your room.  This is YOUR space, make it pleasing for you.  The most calming colors tend to be in the blues and greens.

3.  PICK LIGHTING - Buy yourself a lamp with soft lighting.  I bought mine from IKEA (pictured below) and love the shape of the base and the lampshade.  Your lamp could almost be considered an art piece, so pick one you love.

4.  SPEAKING OF ART..  Pick a few pieces of art that you find visually pleasing.  Even small postcard sized pieces are perfect.

5.  ADD A QUOTE - I love to put quotes in my space.  When I get frazzled or have a bad day, I can go to my zen space and those quotes, surrounded by the other elements, help to center me.

Enjoy this FREE DOWNLOAD of the above 4 Quotes for your teacher space!

6.  TRANQUIL MUSIC -   Before school, after school, lunch, whenever you need a moment of peace, play music you love.  I have a playlist on my phone titled "Easy Listening" that I have stored my favorite soft music.  I have also used Pandora and have many CDs with soothing music.

“Music... will help dissolve your perplexities and purify your character and sensibilities, and in time of care and sorrow, will keep a fountain of joy alive in you.” 
― Dietrich Bonhoeffer

7.  OTHER SOUNDS - Consider other sounds that you find peaceful.  Maybe add a set of chimes or a small desktop fountain to your space.  The sound of water is one of the most soothing sounds there is.

8.   CALMING SCENTS- Smell is one of our strongest senses.  Scents can trigger emotional responses and memories. Different scents have different affects. Using citrus scents such as lemon or peppermint  can help focus attention, while lavender is a more soothing scent.

There are many options for keeping your space and classroom smelling good.  One is to use plug-in air fresheners like Glade or gel-type air fresheners like Renuzit.  You could also use different essential oils.  Essential oils can be used in diffusers or simply drop a little on a cotton ball.   Be careful with scents, however.  Some students and adults are sensitive to smells, so use them lightly.

9.  GO WITH GREENERY - Bringing a bit of nature into the classroom and specifically into your teacher space can be very calming.   Plants don't have to be a lot of work.  There are many plants that do well in the classroom.  Some examples are bamboo, pothos, ferns, ficus, jade plants, and spider plants.

"Lucky bamboo" by Champlax - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons -
How to Grow Lucky Bamboo:

10.  KEEP OUT THE CLUTTER  - The most important thing to creating a zen teacher space is to keep the clutter out.  This is my biggest struggle and I am still searching for the perfect organizational system, but I do have one good tip for you:

At the end of each day, I set my timer for 10 minutes and devote that time to cleaning and organizing my space.  You can get a lot done in 10 minutes.  If you don't have 10 minutes after school, do it before school, a few minutes in between classes, etc.  The goal is to not let the papers, post-it notes, pencils, and paper clips pile up.

Here is my teacher's space as the beginning of last year:

The clean, clutter free surfaces are very calming.  It didn't always look this way, but it is my goal this year to take control of my clutter and keep this space free of piles.

Here are a few more Zen classroom spaces to spark your creativity:

Notice the organization?  AND these are my colors, so I absolutely love the color scheme!  Link Here

I love the use of space in this set-up.
Lessons with Laughter
Putting a small shelf on top of a counter is a great way to utilize your vertical space.
The Creative Chalkboard

I hope this post has inspired you etch out a little corner of tranquility in your classroom!  For more great Back-to-School tips, freebies and chances to win, continue on the blog hop!  Next stop is Fun in Fourth!  She has some great tips for planning for the first week of school and setting up your classroom routines for success!

Before you go, don't forget to enter to win one of several TpT gift cards.  You could win a $10, $25, or $50 dollar gift card!

To enter, please click to follow my TpT store!  You'll not only be entered into the giveaway, but you'll also get notifications of any new resources I add to my store.  All of my new products are 50% off for the first 2 days!  It's a WIN-WIN!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Great tips! I love that lamp! I also love how you don't have a teacher desk. Mine is very teeny tiny and people always comment on how I work out of such a small space. Who needs it?

  2. I love your tips! My goal this year is to be more organized!! Thanks for the tips they will help!

    1. Thanks, Lisa... Every year, my goal is to be more organized. :) I start the year out great and then by mid-year I'm overwhelmed. Maybe this year will be my year! :)

  3. Calming scents is big for me. That's the first thing people notice when they walk in my room. "You're room always smells so good!"


    1. What do you use to make your room smell good? I always creatively hide a couple air fresheners around the room.

  4. Wow! Such cute room ideals!! I love them.

  5. Love your tips! Being organized is like zen for me...I also need to make sure I KEEP it that way to really get the zen feel! LOL

    The Craft of Teaching

  6. I love this post!! I immediately started thinking how to create that Zen space & thanks for mentioning it doesn't have to match the rest of the room! :)

    1. Thank you, Kathie! Good luck creating your teacher space. :)

  7. This is such a great list!! I totally have the calming scent going on in my classroom (thank you, vanilla!), but I just LOVE the idea of making a calming playlist. Thank you so much!

  8. I could definitely use a little more zen in my classroom! Great ideas!

  9. Thanks for the giveaway! I'm so excited that I was one of the winners. I replied to your email. Thanks again, Amy.