I am one of those strange teachers that had my classroom theme planned and designed in my head before I was ever hired for my first teaching job! Over the years, I have had many different themes in my classroom and I have loved it. Classroom themes can be elaborate with fancy bulletin boards or simple with just a set of colors or patterns. A classroom theme is by no means a requirement of a great teacher or a fun classroom. However, a classroom has many advantages. Let em t ell you why I love having a theme so much...
A room with a theme will generally look more organized. When everything coordinates, it just looks more put together! Using the same colors, graphics and fonts throughout the room is easier on the eyes. And an added bonus- when I am labeling and decorating my classroom, I end up getting everything more organized. I don't set out to do that, but it just happens.
Parents love to see a coordinated and organized classroom when they first meet you. They assume that if your classroom is organized and cute- you are probably a pretty put together teacher. (The assumption is NOT always an accurate one, but a first impression it still important.) My students always comment about how much they love knowing where everything goes in our classroom. It's a win!
When your students walk into your room and see the bugs or superheroes or cowboys- they get super excited! Students want to be a part of your classroom family because it already looks like you are fun. Your classroom becomes a special place that stands out for them. Don't get me wrong- cute decorations cannot take the place of quality instruction, but cute decorations do get kids excited. An excited student is easier to teach! When your students first walk into your beach theme room and see the beach chairs in the class library- they will be super excited for reading time! When your students receive a letter during the summer that welcomes them to your "team" and assures that that it will be a "slam dunk" year, they will be super excited to meet you on the first day. They already think that you will be fun!
A theme can be integrated into lessons and celebrations all year! Students love this! For example, if you have a travel theme classroom- you can integrate it into your social studies and geography lessons and do a fun holidays around the world unit. This year is the summer olympics. It would be fun to "travel" to the different countries and learn about their climate, industry, etc. It is the perfect way to teach research skills, practice reading and writing informational text and it's FUN!
I have a sports themed classroom and I love teaching character traits (teamwork, perseverance, playing by the rules, etc) and having a Super Bowl celebration (full of fractions!) We also have a World Series of Reading challenge! My students love our spring training test prep too. All of these activities seemed so fun to my students because of the theme, but I secretly made them very academic!
A beach themed classroom would be a fun way to start your unit on ocean animals and the year can start and/or end with a luau!
Do you teach about the planets and constellations in your science class? It might be fun to have a space them classroom! You can also teach reattach and report writing by having students each research a famous astronaut.
Get creative with ways you can bring the theme into your classroom. It makes the year and your lessons even more memorable.
Embrace a classroom theme! I hope that you love having one as much as I do!
Stay tuned for more classroom theme posts- including a look at my favorite themes and some ideas for saving money while decorating your classroom.