Contributed by Lindsay Shugerman, Catalogs.com Top 10 Guru
Looking for some new classroom themes? Well, you’ve come to the right place.
Here are our top 10 creative classroom themes that are fun for kids and easy on your budget. And for a few, I’ve even provided lesson ideas to go along with the themes, just to get you started.
10. $40 a Day (Grade 4 and up)
Rachael Ray made the $40 a day theme popular as she traveled the globe finding delicious meals for low prices. But you can adapt her title into a creative classroom theme that works great with integrated learning.
Decorate your classroom with travel posters from around the world. Travel agents, visitors’ bureaus and embassies are all great sources for free posters.
Add money conversion charts and pictures of the currency in each location.
Then, each week or so, highlight one of the locations and provide the kids with information about the country, its currency, history, attractions and such. Using Internet searches, or preprinted guides, have them come up with a plan for spending $40 or less to enjoy one day there, including attractions, food, or whatever elements you choose.
9. The books you couldn’t put down (All grades)
Great books are a natural for a classroom theme. Find out what kinds of books your students are checking out at the library, or ask them to list their favorite three or four books, then build your theme around those. For young children, include the activity magazines that they are familiar with, and plan classroom games around a theme from a current issue.
Decorations can include book posters (often free from publishers), enlarged copies of the book covers, quotes from the books, and pictures or bios of the authors.
Using the books the kids already love provides positive reinforcement for reading choices. It also may inspire other children to read books their classmates loved.
8. Top 10 lists (All grades)
Okay, so maybe I’m biased because I’m writing a top 10 list, but people love lists and kids are no exception.
Teacher supply stores usually carry posters that look like oversized sheets of notebook paper. Use these to create all kinds of top ten lists for your classroom. A mix of academic and silly lists will keep your students reading all of them!
Kindergarten teachers can add giant numbers one through ten as decorations to help students with counting skills.
As a lesson plan idea, challenge your students to create their own lists and hang those up, too. Some prompts include: favorite foods, most famous Presidents, best songs, best dog names or favorite sports.
7. Jobs we could have (All grades, but better grade 3 and above)
This theme is particularly valuable in schools where economic or lifestyle issues make career aspirations more challenging.
Make displays or bulletin boards with images of people in different professions. Magazines and Internet images are great sources for pictures. If possible, make sure the images look like the ethnic mix in your classroom.
Add descriptions of the jobs, salaries, and educational requirements to inspire your students.
6. What’s missing (All grades)
A creative classroom theme that can be done for very little cost is the “What’s missing?” theme.
Make posters and bulletin board displays with something missing from each image or list. For younger children, it could be a person missing a shoe or a car missing a tire. For older kids, consider number sequences, words in famous speeches, or countries on a map.
5. Decade-of-the-month (Middle school and up)
People have fruit-of-the-month clubs and book-of-the-month clubs, so why not bring that concept into the classroom with a “Decade-of-the-Month” theme?
Use posters, pictures and music to bring a different decade in history to life. Consider the 1770’s or 1860’s for American history. The 1920’s are a great for major events and memorable music, while the 1960’s can open discussions about U.S. and world history.
4. Make a blueprint (Grade 3 and up)
Planning is something all students need to learn. Using blueprints as the main decorations (available online, or from local architects), create displays that show how different kinds of planning are needed to accomplish goals. Other decorations could include flow charts, aviation flight plans, and even large poster versions of lesson plans.
3. Fly away (All grades)
Airplanes and flight are facinating to most students, so an aviation classroom theme is a great choice all elementary level classrooms. Also ask for copies of their in-flight magazines.
Decorate with airline posters (free for the asking from all major airlines), luggage, pilot hats and other travel or aviation accessories.
Lesson ideas include learning to using an airline timetable to plan a trip, understanding the basics of how planes take off and stay in the air, reading books about air travel or units on the history of aviation.
2. Home Sweet Home (All grades)
The idea of what people call home varies waidely across the globe, so this theme brings together all of those differences.
Use picture and models of homes in your area, in other parts of the U.S and around the world. You can use this theme for lessons on world geography, economics, people around the world, travel or world literature.
1. See the future (Grades 5 and up)
Kids love imagining the future, so why not use that as the basis for a classroom theme? Decorate with science fiction posters, images from high-tech magazines and real or play futuristic electronics.
Be sure to include a section of posters or pictures that show how people in earlier times imagined the 2000’s. These can serve as a great way to discuss the ideas in the pictures. Were they accurate? What did they get wrong?