Math = Love: Free Cardinal Direction Signs

Monday, September 7, 2015

Free Cardinal Direction Signs

I've had left and right signs up in my high school math classroom for multiple years now.  If you're not a teacher, you're probably reading this and thinking I'm crazy.  But, if you are a teacher, you know why they're up there.  Sooooo many students still don't know which way is left and right off the top of their heads.

This year, I'm adding four new mini signs for the four cardinal directions: North, East, South, and West.  I don't teach geography, and I have to admit I'm very directionally challenged myself.  I know that the highway through my town goes east and west, so I can use that to figure out cardinal directions around here.  And, growing up, I always knew that my bedroom window faced east.  But, if you plop me down in a random city, I will not be able to tell you which direction is which.  If you're giving me directions and tell me to turn south at an intersection, I'll be immediately asking you if that's left or right.

Often, the office staff at my school will make announcements such as, "There will be a group photo for the XYZ club at 12:15 outside the south doors."  Immediately, you can see the confusion in my students' eyes.  I also find myself sometimes referring to walls in my classroom based on their cardinal direction.  So, I think it will be useful to have a reminder up on the wall!

I figured a million people had already made these signs, and I'd be able to just download something online.  I did find a few results, but they all seemed very elementary.  I just wanted something plain and simple that I could print in black ink on bright paper.  I couldn't find that, so I made my own:

I printed them on my favorite yellow cardstock, cut them apart on the paper chopper, and ran them through my handy dandy laminator.

One thing that makes me sad is that there was no spot on each wall of my classroom where I could hang them in the same place on each wall.  Oh well...

Here's a pic of one of them:

Download the file to print your own cardinal direction signs here.  I've uploaded it as an uneditable PDF file and an editable Publisher file.  To edit the file, you'll need the free font, Boston Traffic.


  1. I'm directionally challenged, too! Going to college in Texas, my sense of direction was limited to the north end zone and the south end zone. I might steal this idea and use it in my classroom - but first I'll need someone to tell me the directions! :)

  2. This is great. I'm directionally challenged & right-left challenged and even have to pause sometimes with vertical/horizontal. I think it's just a spatial thing, I KNOW the difference between all those, just sometimes can't do them quickly. So I'm definitely stealing this. Thanks again!

    1. I forget left/right sometimes when I'm nervous. When I took my test for my drivers license, I had the most terrible time trying to figure out which way was which!