When I’m gearing up for a new school year, I always ask myself, “What can I do to make this year most memorable for my students?”
We all have favorite teachers and school years that quickly come to mind when we think about our own elementary school experience. When my former students come back to visit me years after they have been in my classroom, one of the main things they recall is our class theme. Whether it was The Room 13 Rock Stars, Planet 13, Team Newingham, or Studio 13, it was our theme that made the students in my class feel like a family and made my classroom feel like their home away from home.
When choosing a class theme, I try to pick something that I can weave throughout every aspect of my school year. Read on for my ideas!
Announce the Theme Before Students Even Arrive!
I send my students a letter before school starts to welcome them to my classroom and introduce our theme for the school year. I create a tri-fold brochure/letter with thematic clipart, or I use a bordered paper related to my theme. My letter provides students with information about myself and describes the exciting things that will happen in our classroom during the year. I created this project in Print Shop, but you could also use Microsoft Publisher to produce a similar creation.
Make the First Day Very Thematic!
Welcome students to your room in a way that reflects the theme! For a Hollywood theme, roll out a red carpet. For a sports theme, wear a baseball cap and announce each “player” as if the new school year is a big game! For a space theme, have a countdown as you launch into a new school year!
Transform Your Classroom!
Once I choose a theme, I decorate my classroom in a way that transforms our learning space in a dramatic and exciting way. I want the theme to be visible to all who enter.
Create Bulletin Boards to Match Your Theme!
I try to make some of my more permanent bulletin boards match our class theme. Personalized student photos related to the theme hang outside our classroom with thematic scene setters that help to create a dramatic backdrop.
Include Parents in Your Theme!
If you send home a newsletter or maintain a class blog, rename it to match your theme for the year!
For more photos and detailed information about themes I’ve done in the past, click on the links below!
Click HERE to watch my “Extreme Classroom Makeover” video and take a virtual tour of my classroom!
I’d love to hear from you about class themes you’ve done in the past or a new theme you are planning for the upcoming school year. Please share!