As a teacher, you can instill in your students a real sense of place and pride in the country they live in. When students see they have a patriotic teacher, it opens the door to discussions about American history, veterans of all kinds, and, most importantly, respect for their freedom. By using the colors red, white, and blue in some fun decorations and affordable American flags, you can create a classroom any American would be proud to visit. young boys writing american flag background

1. Patriotic Tissue Paper

For this simple decoration, all you need is some red, white, and blue star-spangled tissue paper cut into strips. The strips are gathered into small bunches and then twisted together in the center and doubled over to make a bit of a poof. String them together to form a cute garland perfect to border a bulletin board or dress up a wall.

2. All Hands In

This adorable wreath is a basic set of handprints. Each student can make as many handprints as he or she wants in red, white, and blue so the wreath can be as large as you need. The kids will love that they get to help make the classroom look great. This one also doubles as a quick craft they can do on a smaller scale and take home. happy kid hand painting

3. Put It in Writing

As you design your bulletin boards or create your door, you may need some new fonts to get the message across. The blogosphere has you covered with free, downloadable fonts that perfectly capture the sentiment of veterans, a Fourth of July party, or the flag itself. You can click on the one you want and save it to your computer to use for each patriotic holiday. mother daughter molding play doh with hands

4. Hand-Drawn Devotion to Old Glory

Some of the best decorations for a classroom are those created by enthusiastic students. The blog, Upper Elementary Snapshots, is a collaborative effort between 15 teachers who love to share their best projects. This beautiful collection of artwork was their project for Veterans Day. Chalk or pastel flags on black construction paper look surprisingly beautiful. All your students have to do is choose a shape that speaks to them, (a handprint or a heart are great choices), and then fill it in with a flag. A glue border helps make the edges extra sharp. If you are hosting any veterans in your classroom, you can line the hallways and fill your bulletin boards with these great works of art.

5. Simple Garland for a Beautiful Door

Your classroom door is like your diary throughout the year. As you start to introduce the idea of celebrating independence or veterans day, you can make paper chains with your students, and then put them up to make a fun, 3D flag. This is a good project because it comes together fast and looks fantastic. Plus, the kids can take pride in knowing they helped.

6. Old Glory Board

Show an amazing moment in American history with this great bulletin board. You will need some good scissor skills for this one, as you have to capture the outline exactly, so there’s no confusion about the subject. Best of all, you can add a real, small-size American flag to make this piece of artwork really shine.

7. A Door of Honor

When Veteran’s Day rolls around, you have the fantastic opportunity to bring students’ family stories and history into your classroom. While it’s a great idea to invite in speakers and have them share their stories, you can also make an emotional connection with an amazing door. Ask students to bring in photos of their family members and a short bio of that person. Cover your door in paper, then use those photos and short narratives to bring them all to life.

8. Memorial Mason Jars

Host a real-life memorial service in your room with the help of some jars, flameless candles, and mini flags. This craft will get you started. If you can, get a hold of some pretty red jars to make the light inside extra dramatic. Use twine and small flags to decorate the outside of the jars. Drop a little light inside each one, (use safe, electric lights to avoid setting off any alarms), and then turn off the lights. Your class can have a moment of silence, sing a song, or listen to a story as a means of honoring those who died for their country. Students can take the jars home after the ceremony as a token of remembrance.