Monday, July 27, 2015

Year Long Theme Part One: OverviewAll

Using a year-long theme in my classroom is a passion of mine. It started many years ago when I ran across this book Creating a Year-Long Theme .

It is a great starting point. Then later, I stumbled across this blog. I really loved how she took the year-long theme and used it in the classroom decor.

So I started small. I think the first year I used the sports theme. The kids enjoyed it. About 5 years ago, I moved schools and in the last 3-4 years, I have gotten my themes up to the level that I have wanted. If you are trying this for the first year, I recommend starting small. But every year, add more into the theme. Incorporate content areas. I teach in a multigrade 3rd and 4th classroom and so I will have my students for two years in a row. I cannot use the same theme every year, and I think I would seriously get bored of that anyway. So for now, I have created a four year rotation of themes and have gone all out in planning them. I have a brainstorm theme. a circus theme, a woods/camping theme, and this year I am putting together a travel theme.

Here is a sneak peek of some of the items I am working with for the theme this year. I will be adding a few other touches here and there when I get into my classroom and will share those photos here.

My color scheme is going to be teal, pink, and gold. Think tassel banners and hot air ballons, plane garland, maps, and travel themed posters. I will post pictures of my room next week when I finish it up.

But for now, you can take a look at last year's camping theme (more here.)

And here is a picture of the circus reading tent I created for my classroom when we had the circus theme. I do not currently have any other photos of my classroom or circus theme from that year because I lost all the files on my external hard drive and am waiting to repair it. 

What I have learned is that teaching using a year-long theme matters. It matters to the students. They are excited about the decor and theme for the year. And that's always one of the first things I hear them ask me each year before they see the room...."What's this year's theme?" And it matters to me. I enjoy the continuety and fun of a theme with matching decor. 
What about you? Are you thinking of a theme this year? Share if you like.

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