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Classroom Themes

Compiled By: Mrs. G

Examples of creative themes to use in your classroom.

detective theme
Posted by: chris

Just a few notes from the top of my head...

1. For behavior, you could have them move different levels of detectives - for example from novice to super sleuth! Super sleuths would earn more money. Or they could get different numbers of stars on a badge to show how high up in rank they are.

2. I just bought a bulletin board border with a detective theme. I can let you know the company if you want.

3. Start the year with autobiographies and leave the names off and have them solve the mystery of who is being described. You could have them secretly bring in baby pictures to add a clue to the puzzle.

4. My second graders love the Bailey School Kids, Cam Jansen, and Jigsaw Jones mysteries also.

5. They could come up with detective agency names for the groups that they are seated in. You could use these names to give small group rewards , calling them to line up, etc.

6. You could have a class mascot (a bloodhound maybe?)who disappears and the students follow clues to find him. You could either have him with another classroom or tie this into your curriculum by having him visit parts of the world that you study, etc.

7. Their name tags on their desks could be a badge that says Lt. and then their name.

8.You could have a part of the room where you rate the books that you read. They could be measured by how many "magnifying glasses" they get, like how many stars a movie gets.

I hope that some of this helps. I'll keep on thinking. Good idea!

for 6th grade
Posted by: Hollywood Theme

I too have a Hollywood Theme for my 6th grade class. It was my director's chair (given to me with my name by a student teacher of mine) that gave me the idea, along with the popularity of American Idol, I thought it would be right up their ally. My room is simple. I have 4 bulletin boards.
1. Filming on Location, highlighting social studies and ancient civilizations. The border is filmstrip made from our teacher center and a couple of cut outs of cameras.
2. This board has a marquee (made from lined butcher paper and shiny metallic border) which states "(Name) Elementary Presents and off to its side is small banner-like strips with the reading genres (mystery, biography, humorous, etc) and are put next to the Now Appearing sign. The board is for our response to literature writing.
3. I bought a bulletin board pkg at a local school supply that was a center stage idea with curtains, stage, and lights. This board is my word wall/vocabulary area. We talk about how actors convey their performance through their vocab...etc.
4. The last board is small and it is my TV Land (my initials are TV and my kids love telling their parents they watch TV all day. I use this for a variety of things; math, current events, spelling, etc.
I also have a Walk of Fame (go online and read about it, people are voted to have a star and it cost money, very interesting)I use this for an awards area but the possibilities are limitless.
I have a job wheel that is a star mounted on a big circle with 5 jobs (points to students) Director(flag salute), Agent(answers phone),Producer(checks homework), Props(passes out paper),Actor(runs arrands)
I've talked enough. Hope this gives you some ideas. I'm always looking for ideas too. Good luck.

Posted by: Jennifer in OK

Last year was my first year to do a theme. I decided to do patriotism since it was the first full school year after 9-11. I didn't go too overboard. My reading corner was "A Grand Ol' Reading Corner" with red, white, and blue "Five Star Books" written on them (my choice of Sequoyah nominated books, novels we read in class, and a few personal favs). I also had one of those red, white, and blue curtains that I glued up on my wall behind my reading corner with stars hanging from the ceiling. The kids really thought it was cool. I had a wire in my room that I strung some decorative wire with red white and blue stars on it. Then I hung red, white, and blue stars from that. We made patriotic wind socks on the first day. This was a 4th grade classroom. This year I will teach 5th grade and plan to use the same theme. It fits nicely with our SS curriculum. Instead of the wind socks, I am going to have kids stencil letters in patriotic colors and put them together to make words that make us proud to be Americans. Then I am going to stick them on the ceiling. Another fellow teacher uses the same theme and will in her 5th grade class also this year.

I got a lot of the ideas from ProTeacher posters who have a lot of great ideas. Think of something that interests you or fits into the curriculum. Then go to Archives (unless you find more recent posts) and see what others are doing. Krissy/BuzyBee has a web site that shows her themes and she has tons of ideas. Maybe you'll get lucky and she'll share some with you.

Definitely use a theme in your room. It's a lot of fun. I didn't overdo my room because I wanted to leave my theme decorations up all year. Your kids will enjoy the theme decorations too. You can still use "non theme" decorations.

Posted by: Jamie

Themes are a great way to get you excited about a new year! Here are some themes that I have used, as well as others I've seen in my school!
Last year I did a bumblebee theme that was really neat. There is so much out there with bees on it. From nametags to posters to borders! I used the phrase "Look who's buzzed into 2nd Grade" It got really neat. I've also used apples "2nd Grade: The apples of my eye!" as well as an ocean theme "Look who swam into 3rd Grade" Other people have used crayons and rainforest themes. My suggestion: Go to your local teacher store and shop around. You'll get lots of ideas there!

Star Theme
Posted by: Chris

I have used many different themes over the years. This year I am using a "Reaching for the Stars" theme. I have made STAR folders (Students Taking Academic Responsibility) for parent communication and homework return. Center groups will each be a different color star. I will tape these to their desk and easily change as groups need to change. I am hanging up big stars from the ceiling with different character traits written on them. I have star charts for documenting growth in different areas. One bulletin board will be a big rocket with stars painted in the background. I haven't decided on a caption yet, maybe "Blasting off in Second Grade". I have stars to hang in the hall with each students name written on them. "We are Shining Star" is the caption. I am going to center the first day activities around a star theme.

Wild about 2nd grade Theme
Posted by: J.

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 etc.

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!

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It's up to you!
Posted by: AlaskanCourt

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!

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Posted by: Jen M

Just this year my grade level co-workers and I began using year-long themes in our classrooms. We coordinate so we are all within a broader theme. For example, this year our grade level theme was "Oh, The Places You Will Go" (Dr. Seuss) We each took a different element of travel for our rooms. One was land, one air, one water, and the other was space. We even decorated our hallway and did projects throughout the year regarding travel around the world (we did group reports on various countries and presented to the other classes in our grade level.
Next year our theme is habitats/animals. One class has rainforests, one has the outback/desert, one has safari, one has ocean, and our special ed teacher is going to do the tundra. It should be great. We are already planning!!

Classroom Themes
Posted by: Jana

Here are some ideas:

1. Busy Bees (The teacher supply store has a really cute bulletin board set with bees, a hive, etc.)
The caption for your bull. board could say:

"Welcome Busy Bees" or "This will "Bee" a Great Year!

2. Dalmation Dogs Make a large dalmation dog with cute spots and a hat too. Make smaller versions to label with each students' name. Hang on bull. board. The caption could say:
Look Who Got Spotted In First Grade!"

3. Bears You should be able to find a commercially mad bulletin board set with bears at a teacher's supply store. Label bears with each child's name. Caption ideas:
"A Beary Good Group", "A Beary Good Class",
"We Can Bearly Wait To Begin!".

4. Cows Do similar steps as mentioned for other themes above. Captions:

"Cownting" On A Great Herd, "Counting On A Super Year"

Posted by: Susan S.

Yes, the kids really think themes are cool - anything that jazzes up a room! I teach 5th, and I did mine in a jungle theme and they thought it was awesome! I had the vines hanging over the reading area - with leopard spotted body hug pillows to sit on (they begged to sit in the reading corner!!!). I had a "hut" over my bulletin board called "The Information Hut" that held all the calender info., newsletter, lunch menu, etc... It didn't take a ton of time to do - and the kids really enjoyed it.

No title
Posted by: mel

There are lots of themes that you can purchase a ton of premade stuff at the teacher store like ocean or jungle. It would be easy and quick but sometimes can get pricey. If you are willing to spend the time you could make things. I did a sports theme for this year. I found some things at the teacher store like sports border and die cut packages of balls, but I made a lot of stuff to go with this theme too. I just looked through my mailbox magazines that I had. I found a baseball unit that had pigs with baseball bats. I used my overhead and traced one for my behavior area. I made a sign that said grand slam behavior. This theme was a little harder to do than my previous ones because I had to be creative. It is so much easier to go to the teacher store and just buy it already made, but you can save a bundle if you want to get creative.

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I think a Fish theme would be cute
Posted by: KAN

Your class is your "school" of fish.
Your good work board could be titled--This work's a keeper!
Your jobs board could be titled--Tackle these jobs
Reading area--Reel in a Good Book
Lunch count--bait? Fish food?

You could use inexpensive items found at yard sales or possible things you have in your own garage to decorate your room. Tackle boxes for supplies. Hang some fishing poles and nets. If you want you could have a small tank of fish. There are many ready-made items for this theme as well. I hope this helps:)

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Classroom Themes
Posted by: DVaughn

In an effort to spread out the cost of preparing a new classroom, I have been buying things for my class since I started my post-bac program last year. We spend a lot of time in Florida, and I love the ocean, so I decided on an ocean theme for my class. I want to teach 4th or 5th grade, so I am not going overboard, but here are some things I am doing.

I bought some cool tropical fish fabric at Wal-Mart and I am making a balloon valance for the window, one for the door, and making a futon cover for my futon loveseat I was given. The fabric was CHEAP on a clearance table.

I have buckets of shells that we have collected on the beach, and I bought a plain cheapo wall clock. I adheared the shells all around the clock, so now I have a shell clock.

I got some ocean-life posters el-cheapo on vacation from some of the stores in Florida (they donated them when I told them I was a student teacher)

My final theme-item is an "aqurium" floor lamp from Wal-Mart. My husband is giving it to me for Christmas. It's tacky-cute. Looks like a long tube filled with water and fake tropical fish. The whole tube lights up.

In keeping with the theme, I found a cool bulletin board idea for the first of school where you do fish with the kids name on them, a little red schoolhouse on blue paper to look like a school underwater. The heading would be "Swimming Into 4/5th Grade."

The rest of the bulletin boards I will leave to their purposes -- a word wall, procedures, etc. with no tie-in to the theme.

I can't wait to finally get all of this into my own classroom, and I know my husband can't wait to get it all out of our bedroom!

No title
Posted by: TeacherKel

Im a first year teacher and I decided to do a racing theme. I am going to do "Racing into 5th grade" or "Licensed to Learn" on the door and print out their names on license plates (I found that idea on this site actually). I am having a "reading pit" and the classroom jobs are the "pit crew," and a whole lot more. I am really excited about it!

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Posted by: kelly

I was in the same boat last year. I taught a K-1 split. I did go with a theme. I think it kept the kids involved and interested. I did the "Home on the Range" farming theme. I made a bulliten board display of a farm yard out of material but it can easily be done with poster board. The bulliten board stayed up all year but things were added seasonally or monthly. Like they added turkey handprints at thanksgiving. Our class jobs were are farm titled. I was the farmer. The student of the week was the ranch hand, the person who kept the hallway tidy was the Boot Wrangler the person who took the attendance and hotlunch order was the Pony Express. You can get paper plate shaped like animals for them to do writing samples on. The possibilities are endless. The only real cost to me was the material for the bulliten board but if you did it with poster board that would be cheap. I did have lots of house plants in the room and checkered tableclothes on the tables etc but that is all added over time or is stuff you have at home. Good luck!

Posted by: Tabitha/5th

Last year I did a smilie face theme and the year before. It worked out great because you can find a lot of different things with smilie faces on it. THis year I have decided to do a dog theme. I just got a new puppy at the end of last year and I have an older dog. I love dogs and most of my students last year did to. I am making some of my things and it looks better than store bought. I did get the Big Dog School house bb set and paw prints and bones boarders. I was able to find a paw print stamp so I can make anything I need and put my touch to it. Like Anna said they like anything as long as its not babyish. Just make sure it is a theme you can live with. Have fun and if you need any help just email me. I am always glad to help!

Posted by: Margie

Maggie: I teach 6th, but started in 3rd. Tie your theme into your subject matter. Birds of a feather... using birds and birdhouses; sunflowers are great to begin the year. I kept them all year and made it a seasonal theme. My door said "I picked a little sunshine this year" and had all the student's names on the flowers. I found matching desk tags and Carson Dellosa had an abundance of material to tie in all year. I the fall I had a corn patch with sunflowers around and in December, snow and sunflowers (a cheery winter in my classroom! At my luau at the end of the year... you guessed it... sunflowers. The kids loved it. They could not wait to see what my sunflowers were going to become next.

BB Themes
Posted by: Robin

Last year, I did a camera theme and titled it "A Picture-Perfect Year! I got the cutouts from a teacher supply store, and coordinating border. I put the kids' first day of school pictures on the door, and inside the room, I bought these paper frames that had room for the kids to write a goal for the year, and I displayed those. I have also done an owl theme (Look "Whooos" in Third Grade!). This year, I am doing a happy new year theme. In January, I bought New Year's decorations and am using those. I also am doing a jukebox/record theme for my door, and that could be done as a bulletin board, as well.

Posted by: paula

Sports would be an easy theme.It lends itself to so many things. You could go at it from a team prospective. How about ALL-STAR CONDUCT, Ms.?'s ALL-STAR TEAM(for your bulletin board- have them write descriptions of themselves on pre-cut t-shirt shapes then cut out pictures you have previously taken of them and mount the face/head in the appropriate place on the t-shirt , BATTER-UP (for your job chart--job descriptions on bats with student names on balls)
If your students sit in groups perhaps you could give each a team name. Just a few ideas. Hope it helps.

Classroom themes
Posted by: Mary

I use the Wizard of Oz theme in my second grade room.
I got the idea last year from this website. On the front door to my room i made a yellow brick road from gold gingham material. I wrote all my children's name around it and said "FOLLOW THE YELLOW BRICK ROAD TO SECOND GRADE". On my other door I wrote "THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE SECOND GRADE" and I printed out a graphic of a pr of red ruby slippers clicking their heels.
On my Reading BB I put drew a picture of the scarecrow pointing to his head saying "READING, WHAT A BRAINY IDEA!" Hope this helps!

Lighthouse Ideas...
Posted by: Krissy

THEME SETTER: Make a large paper lighthouse for your wall, or even one of plywood if you or someone you know is handy with tools. Put the words "Lighting the way for success in ___ grade." In the light shining out from the top.

JOB CHART: Put job names on small lighthouses on a blue paper background, put student names on ships and "sail" them to different jobs each week or month. "Sailing to Success Helping Out"

READING CORNER: A small wooden rowboat would be great. Or use a blue rug (like the sea) and make paper wood posts with rope tying them together along the wall for a nautical feel. Call it the "Reading Dock" Of course, pictures/posters or small statues of a lighthouse would be great here.

STUDENT OF THE WEEK: Call them the "Lighthouse Learner!" Say they they are guiding their ship in the right direction!

INCENTIVE PROGRAM: Make a lighthouse either for the class or one for each student, add small yellow stars or dots to the top (like the light beaming out) Set a goal for students to have a certain number "rays of light" coming out.

COMPUTER DESKTOP, MOUSEPADS, SCREEN SAVERS: Why not use lighthouse themes for this as well. I have seen lighthouse mousepads and backgrounds for the computer.

LIGHTHOUSE TREAT JAR: Use a lighthouse cookie jar to hold classroom rewards/coupons/treats for special occassions. Give students a small coupons lighthouse pictures on them that says "Congratulations on following the light to success!" This is their "ticket to draw from the jar."

LIGHTHOUSE NAMETAGS: Get clip-art of a light house and type students names on them, print out on cardstock paper and laminate. These great nametags will last all year and are less expensive than teacher store tags.

WALLPAPER BORDER: An inexpensive wallpaper border taped along the chalkboard or around the door would add some flare to your theme.

LIGHTHOUSE ACCESSORIES: Add lighthouse magnets to your chalkboards, a colorful lighthouse rug in front of your desk. (Check out online auction sites for cheap lighthouse accessories to add to your classroom)

RULES: Put rules on beams of light coming out the top of the light house. Put the message "Showing the way to a great year!" on the lighthouse.

STUFFED LIGHTHOUSE: Maybe you could find a stuffed type of lighthouse or make one using a fabric print of a lighthouse and stuffing it. Have all the students sign the back. Send this lighthouse all over the country and have it sent back with postcards and information about where it has travelled. You could give it a name to tie in with your school or town, like "Landry Lighthouse" (for example) and students could enjoy watching it's journey.

LIGHTHOUSE FABRIC: I have seen great lighthouse fabric at Wal-Mart fairly inexpensive, maybe you could make some curtains or use it as a bulletin board background.


HOLIDAY ORNAMENTS: I have also seen inexpensive lighthouse ornaments at the dollar store. Use a permanent marker to decorate and allow each student to take one home after decorating the classroom tree with one.

LIGHTHOUSE PUZZLES: A great center activity for free time.

DOOR DECORATION: Cover the door with an enormous lighthouse and put student names on beams of light shining out from the top. Put the message "Look whose shining in Mrs./Ms./Mr. ______'s room!"

I hope these make sense, I have rambled quite a bit.

Posted by: Anne

My class room theme is frogs and the pond habitat, So Hopper fit right in! My first grade team teachers each have a different theme... One does ladybugs and flowers, another does farm amd farm animals,
and the last does Franklin and turtles. We have alot of fun. The children enjoy the colorful atmosphere and at the beginning of the year before the children know and can remember our names, they will be overheard on the playground referring to us as "the frog lady" or the "turtle teacher". Kind of cute!

Pig Fun
Posted by: BuzyBee

Pigs are so cute. What a great and different idea! Okay, hmmmm.....

Reading board: Make stacks of pigs. Title it "Pile O' Pigs!" For each ten books, they earn a pig. Stand them on the other pigs back. Then they could see who has the highest pig tower.

Good Work: "Ms. /Mr. ___ is HOGGING all the good work!"

Behavior Managment: Make a big pond where all the "piglets" are. If they get a warning, they move their pig to the edge of the pond. If they get in trouble again, they move their pig out of the pond. The final time, they send their pig to the barn.

Helper Board: Make little corn on the cobs for the job names and give each student a little pig with their name to rotate. "Jobs on the Cobs" came to mind first, but really just made me laugh... how about "

Year-Long Project: With everyone doing Flat Stanley now, I am going to create a rhinoceros called "Runner the Rhino" who is going to run all over the U.S. via mail and e-mail to teach the kids about geography. How about the same project for you only call him "Rooter-The Pig on the Run" because pigs root around so much. He could root around the U.S. finding out info. Put up a map in your classroom and pin tiny paper pigs where Rooter has gone.

Welcome board: This is kinda crazy, but what about "Lots of Pig-caso" (like Picasso) Give every student a blank pig to decorate with the design of their choice. It might be fun to see what they come up with. They can sign their name below their pig.

Nametags: Use clipart and put a big pig with the students names.

Hope this helps! On a humorous note, I could never use this theme, as when I was 5 years old, I was looking at some newborn piglets on my grandpa's farm and I slipped and fell into the pig pond. Talk about bad memories of pigs. That's pretty much why I steered clear of creating a reading corner with a fence and a pond theme. Funny the memories creating themes bring back. Well, at least you know I have first-hand knowledge of pigs.

Garden themes
Posted by: Elizabeth

I have bees, bugs and butterflies as a part of my garden themed room. I have a caption on my student work board, "This work is something to buzz about" with bee cutouts posting the work. I have "growing good behavior" over my behavior charts. You could also use "this work makes my heart flutter" with butterflies on the student work board.

Cute ideas!
Posted by: Julie

I like the ideas! I've been looking for an idea to do with hershey kisses without sounding too "lovey". I do a theme around a candy or cereal each year and the kids love it. Also, it helps identify the classes throughout the years too and the kids don't forget. I just had a student from my first class converse with me about being part of the "Lifesavers" class. I decorated the board like the wrapper of the lifesaver, cut out lifesavers with a circle cutter and put their names on them, then on the first day of school we took pictures and put those in the center of the lifesavers.
The kisses idea would be so cute to put their pics on the kisses and their names on the paper tags.
You could do some chocolate themes, read chocolate literature (Chocolate Fever, Chocolate Covered Ants, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory), get penpals in Hershey, PA. Try and get samples of chocolate from around the world. You could have sweet success stories each morning for five minutes where they share something good that happened. Or you could have sweet success parties on Fridays for students who have their homework done all week and they could come to the classroom for lunch, have a piece of chocolate, drink chocolate milk...okay, I'm stretching a bit there. Not sure if this was what you were looking for, but Good luck!

Construction Theme
Posted by: twins1013

Does anyone have any pictures of their classroom with the construction theme. This is what I have planned for next year. I have caution and danger tape that police and construction workers use. Also, an orange fence that the construction crew uses.

Main Bulletin Board: "Futures Under Construction"

Door to classroom: Hard Hats Needed...Great Minds Being Built

Job Wall Display: -Diggin in to Help!
DIRT Hill (name of job) and Shovel(student name)

I am not sure what leader to have!

Birthday Wall Display: Building Zone


Calendar Bulletin Board: Town Hall

daily news, birthday, insormation, weeks, months, weather, etc.

Behavior Wall: Nailing for good behaviors

Classroom Rule Wall:

Pitch In! Help Whenever you Can (looks like a park sign)
Study Zone (looks like a no passing zone sign)
Friendship is a Two-Way Street (Two way street)
Stop Look and Listen (Stop Sign)
There is No Limit to Learning (Speed Limit Sign)


Reading Center Board-Build a Better Future-READ
yellow and white caution tape like they use to block of an area under construction (much like the police line tape)

Math Center: U Turn to Math (looks like a u-turn sign)

Writing Center: Keep Writing (looks like a merge right sign)

Art Center:Kidstruction

Housekeeping- ?????

Computer Center: Learning zone

Block Center: Building one brick at at time

If you can name any more centers with heading....just

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More Themes
Posted by: Editor

See also:
Classroom Themes & Bulletin Boards
More Themes