does everyone do classroom themes? i haven't ever had one for my classroom. i think it's too late for me to do it for this year because i haven't thought about it. (although, if i REALLY think about it, it's not too late because i don't have to be back to school until august 28th!)....
anyways, when you do themes do you incorporate everything into your theme? for example, table team names are related to the theme? your discipline system? decorations? what else do you use your theme for? do you do the theme for the entire year and manage to keep up with it? how much extra money do you spend putting effort inot your theme? do your students buy into it? how come there are those people who don't do themes? any particular reason?
sorry for the questions! but i'm curious. i'm a second grade teacher and i'm just wondering if this is something that i should try this year, or wait until next year......
I am doing a theme this year, but I haven't always done one. How much it encompasses is entirely up to you. I did a racing theme one year, and all it included was the welcome sign on our door, some racing tires filled with pillows in our class library, and a behavior system based on the different flags.
This year I had planned to do a camping theme. I was really excited a couple of weeks ago and had so many ideas that I thought maybe I was going a little overboard. Now I've changed it to an Alaska theme (since that's where we are). In 3rd grade SS we study Alaskan geography and history, and we tie it into science with weather and animals, so now I feel like I can incorporate my theme and make it curriculum-related, too. I plan to name my groups after Alaskan cities. My library area is still going to be set up like a campsite with tree stumps to sit on, a mountain background, and a collection of stuffed animals representing animals found in our state. My behavior plan is going to be a token economy with "Moose Money," and we have our MOOSE notebooks for organization. The letters for my word wall are going to be related somehow - haven't decided yet.
So basically you can make it be as much or as little as you want - if you haven't done a theme before, why not start small? You can always add to it as the year goes on. If you don't want to do a theme, I wouldn't worry about that, either. Plenty of teachers I know don't do one!
I have taught elementary (4 through 7) for the last 14 years. I use themes so that students can NEVER say they have nothing to do! I collect pictures and posters, puzzles, small toys, etc. and use them in conjunction with a bought theme package. For example, when I decide to do a fish theme I include boxes of shells (bought at a variety of garage sales for next to nothing), books on the subject (also bought at many of the same garage sales for a tiny fraction of their original price), plus worksheets from KGR Teaching Aids theme packet. The theme packets also usually include many activity pages. I color them, or get the kids to color them, then glue them onto colored construction paper and have them laminated. I tack these to a bulletin board near where the other things are set out.
An example of the difference between a worksheet and an activity page is a worksheet would be reproduced en masse for students to work on - usually short answer, T/F, matching - that sort of thing. An activity page makes suggestions of activities that the student completes on their own using other supplies - create a diorama of an undersea garden - that sort of thing.
Over the years I have amassed dozens of theme boxes, from animal friends to ponds to Ancient Egyptians. I love being free to change them as the students get bored, or leave them up if the interest is high.
Since the students work on the theme to "fill up" their extra time (that seems to occur just when you need the students to be occupied), they have really come in handy. So, although my idea of using themes might not be what other teachers do, I highly recommend you start collecting and use themes this way throughout the year? Happy hunting !
Yes, I do themes every year! It really gets both me and the students excited about starting the year. I Keep the theme up until Open House is complete,and everything looks nice for the parents too! Last year I taught 2nd. I did "Wild about 2nd grade!" Everything in the room was decorated with wild animals. The kid's names were hanging on the door on an animal (decorated notepad papers.) They entered the doorway decorated with tropical leaves haning down. I had tropical leaves and vines strung on lines across the room, and blow up tropical animals hanging from them. (I raffled off these items for good behavior later on.) I have the kids do a 1st wriing sample: I'm wild about 2nd grade because... and this is written on differnt animal print paper and hung in the hall for open house. On their desks the first day of school, is a goody bag filled with themed items, pencil, notepad, erasers, a small treat (Oriental trading catelog.) I extend this theme into science, Living things... math... graph our favorite wild animal, Use animal stamps to create story problems ect... The possibilities are endless!! Have Fun!!
My 2nd grade team and I usually always do some sort of theme for our rooms. We usually all do something different and I love seeing the various decorations and ideas. This year my friend is doing a camping theme. She usually just sticks with the theme for the first month or so of school and then changes her room all year. I usually coordinate all of my "decorations" like locker tags, desk tags, behavior system, etc to the theme that I pick for the year. I've done monkeys in the past, bees, bugs, dj inkers stuff and other stuff. I'm currently trying to think of something to do that's a little different. When it comes to $, it can get pretty expensive if you want to go all out and decorate everything. I've saved some money in the past by finding things at Target and other stores, rather than at a teacher's supply store. Also, I buy those pads of paper that are all one design like a huge ladybug, or a big bear on a chalkboard and I laminate them and use them for their locker tags. It's usually just a few bucks for one of those pads, as opposed to buying the designated locker tags and so forth. I think some people don't do them because either they don't want to or they don't get into it. I personally love doing it because it feels like I'm doing something fresh and new. I don't like repeating the same stuff every year. This is my 7th year and my 7th theme change Hopefully one day I'll do a repeat so I can save myself some $.