Anatomy of a Classroom Poster

I’ve been asked several times about how I go about creating posters and resources for my classroom so, today, I would like to describe that process to you as well as highlight some tools I use.

The first thing you need is inspiration.  Sometimes I come up with things out of thin air but, most of the time, I saw or heard something and that leads to a creation.  I consider myself a creative person but always creating out of thin air is exhausting (and, I’m sorry, but not always necessary.  There are a lot of great ideas out there. {Pinterest anyone}  Why recreate the wheel…….oh wait.)

The image below is one that I saw on the facebook page of Musicplay.  I don’t know the original source to give credit to. 😦

music is a language

I like the message this bulletin board gives but, obviously, this was down with a collection of tools (cut-out letters, etc.).  Although I could recreate it using letters from my cricut, border, and the like, my bulletin boards are quite full.  Plus, it’s easier (in my opinion anyway) to create something on the computer now (due to construction, I had to turn in my keys for the summer…..harsh!) instead of wait until we are allowed back on campus in August.

Okay, after you find your inspiration, decide on a theme, scheme, design….whatever you want to call it.  I like to start by putting elements and images in a folder in iphoto to get an idea of where I’m going.

iphoto screenshot

iPhoto is a mac program.  If you’re using a PC, I know Picasa is a good program.  You can also try to just make an actual folder in your photos to use.  As you can see from the list of folders on the left, I have a lot of digital scrapbooking elements and backgrounds.  This is mostly what I use for the designs I create.  They are pretty and, guess what, all of them were free.  If you’re on facebook, consider following Quality DigiScrap Freebies.  Teachers Pay Teachers is a good site as well (hint: search free and clip-art).  I’m constantly pinning stuff on Pinterest as well but the search function is not the best for me but I do keep watch for the goods.

poster try 1For this post, I used Powerpoint.  I just purchased Photoshop but haven’t quite learned how to manipulate it yet.  I like using powerpoint over word because the images are already unanchored to the format.  It’s just my preference.  You can see my image/element choices on the left.  Now, I did not continue with this design past this point because, even though I like the background and the elements, it wasn’t childlike.  Shortly I switched to brighter palate.  Don’t be afraid to play around a little bit…..I will probably use this combination of elements another time for something more mature.

Screen Shot 2013-07-05 at 10.11.54 PM

This was the next direction I went.  Notice how much brighter it is.  However, after manipulating the color around, I decided I didn’t want to fight with the color of the background and the color of the dresses the clip-art girls were wearing. So, I switched again…..

Screen Shot 2013-07-06 at 3.25.31 PM

I still used the pink and lime scheme.  The background had skulls and crossbones (totally didn’t realize until after I was almost done) so I blurred them out.  The orange circles were added to create some dimension.  I decided to put the kids across the globe to further the idea the unity through music.  Please don’t judge where I put the translations. 🙂

So, here we have the finished copy.

Screen Shot 2013-07-06 at 3.55.46 PM

An update:

Screen Shot 2016-07-31 at 7.46.50 PM


This poster is now available for download in my Teachers Pay Teachers Store:

I hope this information helped those of you who like to create your own materials.  Thanks for reading!

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9 thoughts on “Anatomy of a Classroom Poster

  1. Hi! I LOVE your blog and all of the posters/designs you make! Would you be willing to do a more in depth post about how you make everything? I’ve downloaded some of the scrapbook papers from the sites you mentioned but I’m still working on making everything look good enough to hang in my classroom. Definitely envy what you are able to do! Thanks for all your great posts! 🙂

  2. Hey Cara! I went to click on the link for your Music Is A Language poster and it doesn’t go to anything? Do you still have this available? I am putting together a world music bulletin board and would love your poster. Is it on TPT?

  3. Pingback: Free Kids Music Printables for Your Friday! · Swing Whistle Zing

    • Good afternoon,

      Unfortunately, I can’t give you the characters because I don’t own the copyright for those images. The word bubbles are just from google translate. Hope this helps! Cara

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