Clipart is a great timesaver for busy classroom teachers who are inundated with the daily grind of teaching. I use clipart in my own classroom in many ways. And I think it has more advantages than what can be bought at any local teacher store. What I love is the wide range of themes and styles to choose from, making it easy to find what I need from the comfort of my own home. Teachers of every subject matter can find something related to their content area to help with classroom decor.
And, clipart has definitely saved me on several occasions when I needed a last minute graphic to complete the look of a bulletin board or a slideshow presentation. I know I can’t be the only one who appreciates having graphics at the ready has done for my teaching. But I know many other teachers who aren’t aware or understand how helpful clipart is in the classroom.
Clipart Saves Time and Sanity
As an art teacher, I post student work in the hallways all year. I have two hallway bulletin boards to do. Also, I prep in-classroom boards filled with content related to teaching art. In both scenarios, clipart has been a great help in reducing the number of hours it takes to create something fun and exciting for the kids to see on their first day in my room without it costing an arm and a leg. But it wasn’t always that easy.
When I first started teaching years ago, teachers would either make their own things or go to the teacher store and buy what they needed. This usually consisted of many packs of die-cut letters and large, bulky poster board-sized images that we tacked or stapled to our bulletin boards. They had to be stored properly so they wouldn’t get ruined. And yes, many teachers still do things this way.
But seriously? There’s a much more efficient, economical, and less time-consuming way to make your classroom bulletin boards sparkle: clipart.
Clipart Looks Great on Bulletin Boards
One mandatory back to school chore is decorating bulletin boards. Ugh, you know what I mean if you’re a teacher! It’s not that we don’t like doing bulletin boards. It’s that we can think of a long list of other more salient tasks we could be accomplishing. Multiply that by the number of classroom boards you have and it can be a lot of work for one person. We spend hours combing our feed on Pinterest looking for ideas to get us going. And in the end, we wind up trying to re-create someone else’s idea without the same resources available to us.
Here are pictures from one of my recent hallway bulletin boards. It took 45 minutes to put together, from the time I had the idea until it was up for display. These were made with my Primary Artist Painting Supplies clipart set. First, I simply printed them out on an 8.5″x11″ piece of paper (one per page). Then I cut them out one by one. The paint blobs are 3 different sizes. I cut them out in 3 separate stacks. The letters I did the old fashioned way with wooden block letter cutters.
And then the fun of stapling it all together!
Can I just tell you that while I was putting it all together, so many teachers and students passed me in the hallway and complimented me on how fun, cute, sparkly, and eye-catching the board is? Did I mention I did it in 45 minutes?
Clipart is Versatile
Have I also mentioned that clipart can be used in many other ways? You see, that’s where the economical part comes in. If you go to the teacher store and buy a poster of a paint can, you can only use it for display. Its entire existence is only about being a poster. However, if you have a clipart version of it, not only can you make cool bulletin boards with it, but you can do a range of other very useful and creative things.
And that brings me to my list of ideas. This is by no means a comprehensive list of all the potential applications for clipart. But it does represent some of the most practical uses for it that every teacher could implement.
Top 10 Uses for Clip Art in the Classroom
- Make your own handouts, lessons, quizzes, and tests
- Design your classroom blog
- Have students use clipart in projects
- Create a fun classroom newsletter
- Make interactive lessons using your smartboard
- Put together signage specific to the content you teach
- Design schedules for your special needs students that are tailored to them
- Decorate the rules of you art room in a fun way
- Make labels for bins, cabinets, and drawers to improve classroom organization
- Compose lessons for Google Classroom
A Case for Clip Art
There really are many ways in which clipart is more useful, efficient, engaging, and quite frankly more affordable than their counterparts. And once you own some clipart, you don’t have buy it again. If it gets destroyed in that sad, sagging box of other posters that takes up too much space, you simply replace it. Just print out a new one! And if one of these rips? Because let’s be honest, sometimes despite our best efforts a kid tugs on it in excitement and it gets ripped. Simply print out a new one and fix it immediately. You can’t do that with with posters you purchase at a teacher store.
Furthermore, you don’t have to spend as much time locating it in your classroom. Even if you’re not efficient with your filing systems on your computer, you can easily search and locate it. On the contrary, teachers have to maintain large storage containers filled with posters, die-cut letters, borders, etc. They’re cumbersome to maintain and even more annoying to sift through. Who has time for all of that extra work? Teachers are busy. We need more effective ways to streamline our teaching lives so we have time for all the grading, paperwork, and phone calls.
What other uses do you have for clipart that I haven’t already mentioned? Drop a comment below. And if you found this helpful, please consider pinning it.