Distance Learning Background Student Project in 5 Easy Steps!

The distance learning background project engages students in a creative and fun project to help them create a specific place at home to focus on their work and a backdrop to engage in classes from afar. It can be a fun, creative way to start the year and help make virtual learning spaces feel welcoming. Please feel free to join the project and create one of your own.

Step 1: Gather Resources

  • Gather necessary supplies – The linked resources are the supplies used for the sample board. You may have the ability to purchase in bulk. Consider creating a DonorsChoose project or add to your Amazon Wishlist to reduce project costs.
  • Suggested project materials – Click to see more:
    1. Tri-Fold Board – I used 36 x 48 inches.
    2. Chalkboard Paint – Use paint that can be applied to paper
    3. Paintbrush – A sponge brush will work, but a regular, large paintbrush works better and faster.
    4. Tape Measure/Measuring Stick – Have students measure out sections. I did not, but it would be helpful for them to plan ahead, save time, and not waste the markers/chalk.
    5. Chalkboard Markers – These are great for permanent labels. They are bright and stand out. Please Note: While the markers are great, they do not completely wipe off and should be used ONLY for permanent art.
    6. Drawing Chalk (6 cases) – This type of chalk is excellent and allows for fine detail. Due to scarcity of supplies, I used sidewalk chalk, which still worked.
    7. Dry Erase Sheet & Expo Markers – These are great to use with Expo markers. This space can also be a way for students to show answers to questions.
    8. Push Pins – Use pins so students can hang work. Tape can also work if pins unavailable.

Step 2: Board Painting

  • Put a drop cloth, paper towels, or another resource to protect the table or floor from paint. Please note: the paint suggested is non-toxic and is easily removable.
  • Paint the board with the chalkboard paint.
  • Let board dry.

Step 3: Board “Striking”

  • This step prevents the chalk becoming permanent upon first use.
  • Using the long side of white or yellow-white chalk, rub the chalk into the chalkboard paint.
  • Use a paper towel to rub the chalk into the board again.
  • Optional: ”Strike” the board again.

Step 4: Board Sketch & Measurement

  • Use a measuring stick or tape measure to visualize the board sections. (See diagram in PDF below)
  • Sketch a rough draft of your board, incorporating your style and reflecting your personality.
  • See board labels section below to see what to include.

Board Labels

  • Quote Corner – Have students find a weekly quote to inspire and motivate them and others.
  • Zen Zone – Use the space to create art and take a mindful moment.
  • Goals – Have students set daily, weekly, and/or monthly goals.
  • Proud Pin – Post work they are proud of and want to showcase to others.
  • Nametag – Under students’ name, use the space for a daily check-in. Have students use symbols to communicate how they are feeling that day. Students can also use the space below to wear “accessories” – a fun hat, crown, or other appropriate, creative items.
  • Optional – Create a board section unique to your classroom context.

Step 5: Board Art Creation

  • Use chalk markers (optional) and drawing chalk to create board labels (see above).
  • Add additional artwork and flourishes!
  • Set the expectation students use the board as a backdrop during distance learning. It can become their special space and a familiar setting for everyone.

If you need a presentation or guide for students, click the image below to download the PDF!

Eager to show off your students’ creations? If you want their work featured in a gallery post, please feel free to send pictures to


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