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Rainforest Theme

Compiled By: Editor

Ideas for a rainforest unit or classroom theme

Posted by: Lenore

I started the year with a rainforest theme. My students loved it and begged me to keep some of the decorations up even after we were finished. I did an attendance chart with a lion on it. Names are put up each day and I used the caption "Who's Li-on around in the K room?" I hung 12 bananas on a bulletin board and added a monkey. The months of the year are on the bananas and I added students' names on the bananas. The caption is "Go Bananas! Its Your birthday!" I have a safari character with binoculars on another board and it says "Searching for good work". I put student names on monkeys and used the caption "Look who's hanging out in the K-1-2 room. I stwisted brown crepe paper for vines and added some silk leaves and it looked super. I hung vines aound the door and made palm trees out of cardboard. I bought a few cheap kites made like toucans and hung them from the ceiling. In my reading corner I hung a large fish net from the ceiling. I added leaves and vines and crepe paper vines. I hung monkeys, snakes and birds from the net and used cardboard to make the thatched roof of a hut. We call it our reading hut. One of our favorite books was The Great Kapok Tree. I found a readers theatre for this and the students made masks and read the story. Good luck and have fun!

Posted by: Tina

I turn my whole classroom into a rainforest. I begin by introducing the rainforest by reading the Great Kapok Tree. Each day I introduce a part of the rainforest, ex: layers, animals trees, plants, people, resources. After students have a lot of background info. they choose a part of rainforest they want to do a report on. We research in computer lab for each topic (I make a simple outline of questions to answer)students write facts, rough draft, edit, final copy, type in computer lab. All reports done in class. I send home a time line for parents to know when to expect things are happening. Parents help students make replica of what they did their reports on. I have two days before replica's are due that I ask for parent help to turn the room into a rainforest. I have students in groups that want to make things in the rainforest, ex. vines (twisted paper, large sheets on roll),trees, flowers, grass, bushes, water fall, snakes, anything the students want to make. A parent is with each group to help. The vines are what makes it look really neat. During Art class the students make something to add to the rainforest. Students bring in animals, trees, whatever they researched and place in the proper place in the rainforest(actual size). Student give individual reports durig class. I invite parents to come for a tour of the rainforest one afternoon. Students take friends and family for a tour telling them all about the rainforest, you will be amazed at the info. they have learned. This is a huge process, but very worth it! I have now talked the other first grades into doing it this year.Try it you will be amazed at the results!

Rainforest ideas
Posted by: C.C.

I am a librarian for a K-4th grade school. I am going to also try to do a rainforest this year. I have bought nets at a craft store to hang in my reading corner from the celing,then I can hang vines, monkeys, and snakes from it. I also purchased raffia in large packages in natural and green colors. Have hung it over my large windows to look like grass. Could also make a grass hut with a cardboard box. Have seen it done. Also a teacher used an alligator air mattress as a reading chair. I purchased items from a teachers store that are for bulletin boards,etc. I also purchased a rainforest book with activites and information on the rainforest, such as what animals live there, the different layers of the rainforest, and locations of different rainforests. I plan on purchasing a coconut and cutting it open, then letting the kids taste shredded coconut which I will buy in packages. I have too many students to let eat from the actual coconut. If the class was smaller they could sample the actual nut. Could be done with banana tree also. I also have found a book at school about the rainforest that gives details on a rubber tree. Could also do a study regarding chocolate,coffee beans etc. Not sure what age students you have. I am making a palm tree by covering tall tubular shaped boxes with brown construction paper, and making large leaves from green construction paper. I have been able to find lots of rainforest books. Also found rainforest sounds on a C.D.
If you have any fun ideas please send me the info.
Good Luck

Posted by: Kelly

I teach an elective course in my school to kindergartners and first graders. My theme is different types of environments. For the rainforest, I read a story to the children (I can't remember the name of it off hand). We then made a list of the different types of animals found in the rainforest. Each child selected an animal to make. They drew the animals and then cut them out. While they were working on this, I had each child come over to me and place his or her hand into green paint. They then made a print on a large piece of butcher paper. These handprints served as the canopy of the rainforest. A few students used craypas to draw the trunks of the trees. We then added the cut-out animals and made a really need mural of the rainforest. It is hanging in the hallway, and we have received many compliments on our Rainforest Mural.

Another project we did was making rainsticks. Each child decorated a paper towel tube using a rainforest theme. We then filled the tubes with different types of beans and pasta. We covered each side with foil and used rubberbands to secure it. This way, the children had something to take home.

Good luck, and have fun. This can be a very interesting unit to do with the little ones!

Rainforest ideas...
Posted by: Nancy

I don't teach science, but a fellow graduate student shared a unit she had done on the rainforest in one of our curriculum classes.

She had her 6th graders create a rainforest within the classroom. They painted a mural on a wall, hung leaves from the ceiling, created rainforest animals and hung them in the canopy, etc. They also did research projects on plants, animals, etc. on the rainforest. When they had built the rainforest, the teacher would select a portion of the rainforest one evening that would "get destroyed." She simply tore that section of the rainforest down off of the wall. When the students came in the next morning, they were devastated! But she had started her next lesson...the destruction of such a precious resource. Little by little, she destroyed her classes' rainforest, and her students began developing an awareness of it's importance. They then came up with ways in which they could become environmental 'crusaders.' They began recycling campaigns, and developed other ways in which they, as a class, could help save the environment.

I realize you were looking for precise ideas, but as a whole, I thought hers was brilliant!

Rainforest Unit
Posted by: Denise


Each year I teach a rainforest unit in the spring. I use a program called "Roberto's Rainforest" from Interact Learning. After teaching from the program, I divide my second graders into cooperative learning groups and each group receives a topic they need to research deeper. I have one group working on the layers, another on the animals, another on plants, still another on the people, etc. When they have written reports on their topics, we transform our classroom into a rainforest. The students make green and brown paper chain for vines. They design and make Kapok trees. Some create a river of blue art paper that runs through the middle of the room. Students bring stuffed animals (appropriate to the rainforest) and we have monkeys, snakes, etc. hanging around the room. Finally, we spend an entire day presenting our rainforest research to all the elementary classes. The students from the other K-6 classrooms come into our classroom and each group presents their information. We also invite parents to attend a special "performance" in the afternoon just prior to our release time. The kids have a great time and the other classes always seem to learn something they didn't know. It's also fun to see the former second grade students who are now in the older grades remember some of the information or share something they got out of their research that wasn't presented. I hope you can use some of these ideas!


Rainforest Theme Ideas
Posted by: Krissy

*Hang vines (brown paper rolled up) all around your room with giant green paper leaves on them. Get a couple of stuffed or paper monkeys to hang around

*Classroom Jobs: "Hopping in to help out!" With little frogs with students names and leaves with jobs on them.

*Classroom Events Timeline: Call it the "Swing of Things" and put a little monkey for the graphic. OR "Hopping Through the Year" with a little frog.

*Student of the Week: "Look WHO's top student this week..." with a big owl; OR "Top Toucan" with a giant toucan to display

*Word Wall: "Word Waterfall" Put up a large sheet of white paper coming down from your ceiling, draw/scribble or paint blue lines flowing down. and keep a pile of paper fish to write important words on. Glue them on throughout the year.

*Classroom Management:
Use these layers of the rainforest...
· Forest Floor and Understory -- Margay
· Understory -- Bat, Monkey
· Understory and Canopy -- Opossums
· Canopy -- Emerald Tree Boa, Harpy Eagle, Sloth
Give each student a small animal and have every student start the day in the Canopy layer, they move their animal down a layer as they need to.

*Classroom Reward Coupons: Call them "Rainforest Rewards!" and give them out for various good reasons.

*Window Clings: Print out pictures of different rainforest animals to put all over the windows.

Also, take a look at the pictures on this page. It shows the inside of some GREAT classrooms. It makes me want to have a rainforest theme. Maybe next year...

Posted by: Susan

I used a rainforest theme last year. I had a "Calendar Oasis" bulletin board. I used blue cellophane paper to create a river, I added moss along the edges and added a blow up snake I bought at Wal-Mart (sold in garden area to keep small animals away). I made 12 paper canoes and wrote the months of the year on each. I added plastic insects I bought from Oriental trading along the river. I also had a "Going Bananas for Books" bulletin board in my classroom library area. I made a banana tree and added stuffed monkeys I bought at Rainforest Cafe (you could make them out of paper and stuff them). As the kids read books, they filled out a paper banana cutout with the book info (title, author, summary, and rating) and I added it to the tree in bunches of 10 (great math activity). I made a huge mural with a hut on stilts I drew on one side and added the classroom 's rules in it. Starting from the center of the mural extending toward the opposite end I hung (from the ceiling)a vine made out of twisted butcher paper with a plastic vine(sold at craft stores) twisted in it, I added a stuffed snake and wrote "Sss...Sensational Work" as the caption. I bought a scrapbook paper sold at the Rag Shop that had jungle animal cutouts. I took pictures of my students and glued each picture to one of the animal cutouts and then spread these out on the mural. Their work was stapled under their pictures throughout the year. I bought a red-eyed tree frog from the Rainforest Cafe and he was the class mascot. The kids named him and a different student took him home every weekend and wrote about his adventures in his journal. Each Monday, the child would read the journal to the class. The kids really loved this! Hope this helps.

rainforest display
Posted by: Tracy

In our school, our fourth grade team turns the hallway and the classrooms into a rainforest. We have the tiled ceiling which makes it easy to tuck large green leaves (out of butcher paper) with drip tips into them and then the children twist brown butcher paper to create liana vines. We put paper clips on the end of the vines and then hook them into the ceiling. I then have them cut out rainforest bird patterns out of black construction paper and then decorate both sides with cray pas or colored chalk. It makes for a very colorful rainforest.

My fourth graders also do a research paper on one of the animals of the rainforest and create a model at home that we can then put "in the rainforest."

It might be fun to do a rainforest feast as a culminating activity and have the children bring in products from the rainforest to sample. I have done this as well.

Hope this helps

rainforest decor
Posted by: cc

I am a librarian at a k - 4th grade school. I have had the library decorated as a rainforest all year. I went to an army surplus store and found green mosquito netting very cheap. I have it hung from the ceiling throughout the library. It is thin enough to let light thru. I bought stuffed monkeys, frogs, snakes, etc. and have hung them around the room with silk vines. The kids love it. Also made a tree from construction paper to resemble a palm tree, along with live plants thru the room. There is a lot of rainforest items at teacher supply stores. I have a book in the library that shows how to draw rainforest animals step by step. Last year I brought a live bull frog to school and let the kids watch how far it could jump in the gym. It was very cool. Also had pollywogs to watch tranform to frogs. There are lots of frog items around.
I have been thinking about making sock monkeys with the 4th graders. You can find the pattern on the internet. I made one when I was a 4th grader, and can still remember how to make him. That was many years ago!
Hope this helps.