[ROOM THEME] Decorating the Classroom for a Year-Long Solar System Theme

Discussion in 'Elementary Education Archives' started by Amanda, Jul 13, 2003.

  1. Amanda

    Amanda Administrator Staff Member

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    Jul 13, 2003

    I am going to decorate my room with a solar system theme this year. I have a few ideas, but I would like to compile as many ideas for this as possible. I'm sure there are tons of things I could do that I probably won't think about.
     
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  3. clarnet73

    clarnet73 Moderator

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    Jul 13, 2003

    Fairly standard, but to get you started...

    *Glow-in-the-dark stars on the ceilings (maybe you can actually put them into constellations, that would be pretty cool)

    *Space fabric for bulletin-board backgrounds

    *Maybe you can find some way to put part of a rocket in your room? Your kids would love that (OK, there's the idea, up to the rest of you to figure out how to make it work)

    *The stars in ___'s room (b-board)

    *use a rocket picture on the wall with stars when your kids reach individual or class goals (This is one idea I'm taking with me from my stay in England...it the school I was in, they had each kid pick a personal goal for the specified time period...6 weeks or whatever, they set it themselves... "I am not going to call out during carpet time. I'm not going to fight on the playground" "I'm going to play nice games" "I'm going to use more adjectives in my writing." "I'm going to write my letters and numbers the right way around" etc... when they reach it, they get a star to add to the rocket... when the rocket is "filled" they get a reward of some sort.)

    Hope that helps. :)
     
  4. Amanda

    Amanda Administrator Staff Member

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    Jul 13, 2003

    Thanks, clarnet73!! (Are you feeling better today?)

    Here's what I have so far...

    Maybe this would work for the rocket idea you had clarnet73... Hang a space shuttle kite from the ceiling. Here it is at amazon.com:
    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/redirect?tag=atozteachstuff&path=tg/browse/-/589132
    (I think it would be so cool... It's really big!)

    let's see if the image will display...
    [​IMG]

    I have also seen a classroom that had a rocket (teepee style) where the kids could go in and read. I don't know if it was made from cardboard or what. :)

    All the kindergarten teachers hang something outside their door as "landmarks" for the kids. I have ordered a small inflatable space shuttle to hang outside our door.

    I like the constellation idea... I already have glow in the dark stars I can use.

    I saw a saying on a banner at a teacher store... "If you shoot for the moon, you'll land among the stars..." I could use that somewhere.

    What can I do with planets? I have some 2 sided cutouts that I can hang.

    What about nametags? We start the year with nametags for the first week. I usually make them out of fun foam or some other durable material. I can't do a star because another teacher uses a star. (There are 12 kindergartens, and we all have to do something different so people can see whose class they are in at a glance.)
     
  5. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    Jul 13, 2003

    During my methods classes we taught a lesson on space. To create the stars we used black fabric with Christmas lights underneath. I have used the same idea in our Planet Elections and added poster board. I poke holes in the shapes of constellations and stick the lights through, then cover with the fabric.
    Another idea is not so much decorating, but just a fun thing to do. When we watched the launch of one of the shuttles the kids were intrigued by how the astronauts were sitting so during one of our lessons they all layed on the floor with their feet up in their chairs. They loved it!

    Christy

    PS ~ Of course for snacks there should be Milky Ways involved! :)
     
  6. Lanie

    Lanie Cohort

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    Jul 13, 2003

    Hi Amanda! A solar system theme will be fun!

    The Space Capsule Craft on this site would be fun to do:
    http://www.dltk-kids.com/crafts/space/space.html
    You could hang the capsules from the ceiling with the kids pictures above their desks/tables so they would always know where to sit.

    This site has fun crafts, activities, dramatic play ideas, snacks, etc. There were cute ideas for making space helmets, space suits, rocket ships, etc. Many of the ideas you could use throughout the year.
    http://www.childfun.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=143

    I think it would be really neat to have a pointer with a star on it. If you use a glow in the dark star, you could turn the lights on during overhead time (if you use yours) and it would be neat for the kids to see.

    ebay: Package of 700 Solar System Stickers for $1.25 plus .60 cents shipping.
    There is also a solar system shower curtain (cute backdrop for reading corner/center), solar system floor puzzle, Blue's Clues solar system game (super cute), miniature NASA astronaut, etc. I'm a cheapskate, so I LOVE ebay!

    Foam rubber pieces to walk on. Feels like you are walking on the moon. (At least my brothers and I use to think so!) They have lots of foam rubber at Surplus City, if you know where that is. It might be fun to have in the reading corner to sit on. Nice and comfy!

    You might look for an astronaut costume for your dramatic play center.

    I'll keep thinking about this. You already have a lot of great ideas and others have given some great suggestions.
     
  7. Amanda

    Amanda Administrator Staff Member

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    Jul 13, 2003

    Lanie, I have to stay away from ebay, or I'll waste all my time browsing. :) I have been watching for a solar system floor puzzle that is going cheap... Waiting patiently... I'll have to check for those other items you mentioned!
     
  8. Lanie

    Lanie Cohort

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    Jul 13, 2003

    I found this site for the NASA Educators Resource Center for Missouri. It is located in Cape Girardeau. http://www2.semo.edu/nasaerc/home.htm
    The site indicates there are lots of things you can get for free like posters, bookmarks, etc.

    You have to do something with the Hubble Space Telescope since you teach in the astronomer's hometown!!! ;)
     
  9. Amanda

    Amanda Administrator Staff Member

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    Jul 13, 2003

    We can go visit the replica Hubble telescope, can't we? I don't think I have even done that yet... and I used to live 2 blocks from the square. :eek:

    Now you've got me looking at ebay again, and I've found so many cool things... I am also a Curious George fan, and there are a ton of things with Curious George as an astronaut. Good thing I am taking my last Master's class this week, because I won't have time to look. :D

    Thanks, Lanie!
     
  10. clarnet73

    clarnet73 Moderator

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    Jul 14, 2003

    Could you use small rockets for your nametags?

    P.S. Yes, Amanda, I'm feeling MUCH better today. :)
     
  11. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    Jul 14, 2003

    Amanda, I forgot to mention. I took parti n a wonderful program called "Science is Out of this World". It is sponsored by LPB and I went through a local university. They send you tons of resources for teaching space and a set of video on lessons. The same organization sponsors a space camp for kids during the summer at the same university. I know in 4th grade I can use a lot of the information, the lessons are designed as experiments and activities done during a space flight.

    Christy
     
  12. Lanie

    Lanie Cohort

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    Jul 14, 2003

    Amanda, if my husband didn't sell things on ebay for our second income, I wouldn't be able to stay home!

    I saw the Curious George astronaut and it was too cute!

    I know what you mean about browsing though I've stayed up until the wee morning hours looking for things. It can be extremely addictive.
     
  13. latybug

    latybug Rookie

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    Jul 14, 2003

    You may want to try a carpet store. They may donate a carpet tube for you to make a rocket in your classroom. Also you could have the student design their own smaller version with paper towel tubes. I did a planet book. We read a book on each planet, then wrote about it, then made a three-D picture of it. I just bound them in a cheap 10 cent folder. We made the planet 3-D by putting a little kleenex behind each cut out planet that we glued on black construction paper. We added glitter to make the stars. Use cotton for planets with clouds. Sometimes you can find colored cotton for the posioniuos clouds. Sponges for the moons. We painted the plants before we cut and glued them on. Most of my student that come to visit me tell me that they still have there planet books.
    Have fun!
    :D :p :D :p :D :p :D
     
  14. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Jul 14, 2003

    Have you seen the catalog, Really Good Stuff? Also online at www.reallygoodstuff.com. They have some cute, reasonable items that would work very well with your theme. (A couple in primary catalog, a couple in intermediate catalog.)

    One is a Stars of the Future poster decorated with the shuttle and astronauts, planets, etc. The stars punch out so you can put a child's picture behind each one.

    A nice project we did one year was to have the kids write 'postcards from space'. They each learned about their particular planet then wrote home about it - in a personal way. They were hysterical.

    Also, depending on the number of students, a good idea is to 'act out' the relative distances between planets and the sun. Assign each student a planet (or a few kids for Saturn's rings) and have them stand and rotate. Someone could be earth's moon also. Talk about why the moon seems larger than planets, how the sun warms the earth, the paths of the planets. You could use long pieces of elastic to demonstrate gravitational pull. (Then play that twirling game outside where the twirlee gets catapulted into space!)

    Each day you could hide a cardboard planet in a different spot in the room and give clues to its location.

    Make your own acrostics with the initial letters of the planets.
     
  15. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

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    Jul 14, 2003

    I have an idea but first... does your classroom door open in to your room or out to the hall? AND what kind of ceiling do you have? solid or those lay-in tiles with the grids?

    Lori
     
  16. Amanda

    Amanda Administrator Staff Member

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    I'll have to think really hard... I'm moving down the hall, and the rooms are slightly different since they were built at a different time.....

    The door is set back into the room about 3 feet, so that the door can swing out without sticking into the hall... Does that make sense? It has a 1 ft wide window down one side and glass over the top of the door. The door is solid wood.

    The ceiling are the in-lay kind with the grid... but I don't think my lights are part of the celing like normal grids (the grid was added when air cond. was added, so it's a hodgepodge)... My old room had the new kind of lights, but this room has the lights that drop down below the ceiling in two long lines that run from front to back... I think. :rolleyes:
     
  17. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

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    Jul 14, 2003

    OK!

    In my room i have things hanging from my ceiling and when my door opens some of them go up and down. My door opens in, but with yours opening out, that shouldn't be a problem. You will need fishing line and either these funny looking ceiling plant hooks http://www.kcfixture.com/page41.html (F) or you can use big metal paper clips. And a flat head thumb tack at the top edge of the door about 6 inches from the henge side... If this starts to sound confusing, let me know and I'll do a diagram on the paint program... LOL.

    I used to run 6 lines from the door but in my new room I have a bathroom door so I do 3 from each door. Let's say we are doing 4 lines... DO THIS with the DOOR ALL THE WAY OPEN since your door opens out. Put one hook about 2 feet into the room center of the door. Figure out where you want the 4 decorations that will go up and down. Put the plant hooks at that spot. Run the fishing line from that hook to the hook in front of the door and tie to that thumb tack in the top of the door. Take a paper clip and tie it to the fishing line about 4 inches from the ceiling... pull the outter end of the paper clip out some so you can hang the decorations on it. Repeat the process for each line you want to run. It is pretty cool and really freaks people out when they think things are moving but they aren't sure... LOL!

    If you have any questions about my confusing directions... let me know!! :eek:

    Lori
     
  18. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

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    OK, here is the diagram... LOL I went ahead and fixed it up... hope that doesn't blow your mind... LOL. I figured out how to do my by looking at someone else's set up. Putting it down in writing is no easy job... LOL!

    If you want the stuff to go higher or lower you can adjust it some at the thumb tack in the door... Just remember... when the door is open all the way to make sure the decorations aren't pulling on the ceiling hooks.

    Lori
     
  19. Unregistered

    Unregistered Guest

    Jul 15, 2003

    Check www.scholarschoice.com for reasonably priced puzzles (they are Canadian, so with the reduced exchange price). I got my kid's Solar System floor puzzle there. I also have a glow in the dark space puzzle that I found at the Science Museum's gift store.

    Check Nasa's website, there are links to the kid's sites with all sorts of craft and decorating ideas. My favourite is the ringed planets made from a styrofoam ball and a worthless CD (cut the ball in half and glue the CD in the centre...they are cool!).

    Constellations and their stories will make a great focal point in some area!
     
  20. Unregistered

    Unregistered Guest

    Jul 16, 2003

    I used children's pics and a copy of an astronaut unifoorm with the pics replacing the mask part. I attached yarn to each astronaut and to a shuttle. The children moved their astronauts as they moved toward their reading goal. The kids loved it and worked hard to shoot for the moon. These could easily be turned into name tags also. Good Luck, sounds fun. Oh, I think I got the patterns at abcteach.com
     
  21. DizneeTeachR

    DizneeTeachR Virtuoso

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    Jul 16, 2003

    Some places sell glow in the dark constellations, my husband had one and gave it to my sister (my sister's room was a glow in the dark galaxy). They also have semi-circle glow in the dark moons.

    When I did my intern in K the mentor teacher bought stickers that looked like astronaunts and stuck them on clothes pins...they were are "Space People" when the students started writing words.

    I like the snack idea... somehow you should get ahold of the freeze dried ice cream (I got some from a space museum we visited when I was in school)and of course you'll have to drink Tang!!! :)
     

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