What's with all these cutsie themes?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Sarge, Jun 22, 2010.

  1. katrinkakat

    katrinkakat Connoisseur

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    Jun 23, 2010

    It's not expensive for me cause the only things I get that match are things I need to buy every year anyway, such as desk plates, cubbie tags, a door welcome banner, homework and birthday charts and a welcome bulletin board with student photos. :)
     
  2. shouldbeasleep

    shouldbeasleep Enthusiast

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    Jun 24, 2010

    I think my classroom looks very clean and organized. I make almost everything so it doesn't cost much. Or I'll find things on sale. It's all mostly red, black, and white.

    I found a seating storage cube in bright red at Target last week for $13.00. That one and the two gray ones I found last year will be in the editing center along with the free clipboards that have the downloaded proofreading marks page taped to the clipboard. (Some of the kids donated clipboards last year.) I'll paint a couple of the clipboards with a red and black design.

    I'll probably buy one more storage cube at Target next month. They are regularly priced at $19.

    I'll hot glue some red plastic cups to the wall for holding red ink pens for editing.

    I made a sign that says "Editing Center" that is red with black border and black and white ink drawing of a pencil.

    I have a couch that belongs to the school that was in the office. They were going to throw it out. I bought some black knit fabric and hot glued it to the frame. It looks fabulous! I have a small red pillow for it.

    I do need to buy another rug this year. That is going to be expensive. The one I had (zebra print) got very ratty looking. I hate spending the money, but I also hate cheap-looking and wearing rugs.
     
  3. heymiss

    heymiss Comrade

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    Jun 24, 2010

    As a first year teacher last year, I thought about doing a big crazy theme, but it just wasn't going to work with my tiny classroom or 2 grade levels. I did decorate some empty spaces (over the board and bookshelves, etc.) with some really cute stars, and those eventually became my decorating theme. They're nice and simple (with tiny, silly faces) and come in two different sizes, so I could use them as filler wherever I was tired of seeing blank, ugly wall. (My walls last year were pink and green and one of the green walls was concrete, so only the stars stuck to that one without falling off.)

    I also had these really adorable multiplication monsters on the back wall last year, but I don't think I'm going to do them for 6th grade.

    I had K-6 in my room last year and then 6th, 7th, and 9th used my room for other classes during my off periods, and the kids were constantly telling me how much they liked my room. They also appreciated how clean and organized it was at all times. I had colored tape on the floor showing where the desks should be lined up, and they were responsible for making sure their desks were back on the line before leaving. Also because 5th graders are STINKY sometimes, I had one of those air fresheners that sprays every 15 minutes on a bookshelf in the corner and the kids would always come in and comment on how much better my room smelled than the ones they'd just come from. :)

    All this is to say, themes are cool. If you want to do them, do them. If you don't, don't.
     
  4. Teachling

    Teachling Groupie

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    Jun 24, 2010

    This year I found this thing that looks like a night light with a semi bowl; in it I place a fragrance candle wax. The heat melts it so that the aroma wafts throughout the classroom. At the end of the day, I just turn the switch off. I love it & so does anyone who walks in the room.
     
  5. ecsmom

    ecsmom Habitué

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    Jun 25, 2010

    I've never had a theme, though, I am not opposed to them. I do like my room to look pulled together and color coordinated. As a Kindergarten teacher, I feel like my classroom is a second home to me and my students so I want it to be a comfortable, attractive place. I do agree that too much stuff is distracting to me and to my little ones. The fire marshall will only allow us to cover 20% of our walls so that really minimizes the stuff on the walls. Art work is displayed on a bulliton board in the hallway and changes with the season/theme.
     
  6. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Jun 25, 2010

    I think themes came about when teacher supply companies realized that people would buy new, cute products. Now, there are just tons of theme type products available everywhere you look. Are they necessary? No, of course not. Everyone wants a classroom that feels comfortable to teach in, though, and the degree of 'cutesiness' depends on the teacher's personal taste.
     
  7. ancientcivteach

    ancientcivteach Habitué

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    Jun 25, 2010

    Last year was the first year I've done a theme, and that's because the whole school was asked too.

    That being said - I loved it! I don't plan on changing for quite awhile! It's just environmental - like the plants I have in my room.
     
  8. natelukesmom

    natelukesmom Companion

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    Jun 25, 2010

    I love themes! I think they bring everyone together and excite the children. The years I've done themes parents and kids seem more excited to start the year, and generally have a better attitude about school. It is a good way to make parent/teacher connections because parents really like that you've taken your time to think of something unique. However, with that being said, I had many years that I didn't do a theme. So it is really up to the teacher. Most teachers in our school do have some sort of a theme.
     
  9. TeachinHicks

    TeachinHicks Comrade

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    Jun 25, 2010

    I used polka dots last year as a "theme" but it was really more or less to have decoration at the beginning of the year. I try to just focus one small area on the theme that stays constant like my calendar/fyi bulletin board. Other than that, things change along the way...Some changes as we learn a new topic, other with seasons/holiday that are happening. Most of the teachers in my hall do some sort of theme for nametags, cubbies, and hooks.
     
  10. msmullenjr

    msmullenjr Devotee

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    Jun 25, 2010

    I have a sports theme in my room because I always teach my class that we are a team. We rise together and we fall together. Every year my kids have a connection to each other that many other classes don't have. I like that.

    That being said, my theme is limited to a few things around the room. I have some border around my HW chart and behavior chart (which is based on baseball) and their job chart. There are a few decorations here and there. You can see in my pix, that I don't really do cutesy.

    http://teacherweb.com/CA/PacificAvenueElementarySchool/MsRodriguez/gallery2.aspx
     
  11. txmomteacher2

    txmomteacher2 Connoisseur

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    Jun 25, 2010

    My husband has a pest control business, so when I taught kinder I decorated with bugs. Then I moved to a new district and a new grade level. As I walked into my new building I was happy to see that they had a bug theme as well. ( they use it as a reading theme: catch the reading bug) In fact my bugs match their bugs. I have added pictures of real bugs that would be found around our area. The kids really like the real pictures of real bugs. We will be changing our theme for the 2011-12 school year.
     
  12. tgim

    tgim Habitué

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    Jun 26, 2010

    I love themes - but don't go overboard on the "cutesy" scale. For me, it just pulls together different areas and aspects of my classroom. I do incorporate the theme into instruction at times during the school year - typically at the beginning when we can read some picture books or a short chapter book and do getting-to-know-you activities that are loosely connected to the theme.

    This next year I am using last year's theme again. I often do a two-year cycle. I have done Under the Sea, Circus, Western, On the Farm, Around the Pond, and Building Success. I would love to do a Hawaiian or desert theme sometime...
     
  13. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Jun 26, 2010

    My favorite theme was Americana. It made sense since I taught 5th and we studied American history.
     
  14. deedee

    deedee Connoisseur

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    Jun 26, 2010

    I teach world history so my theme is travel and world history. I have staues and student made artifacts all around the room. I also have a few pictures I put on an overhead, blew up and colored to bring in some of the places we will be studying. I love finding stuff that goes with my theme :) Its fun!
     
  15. roseteacher12

    roseteacher12 Habitué

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    Jun 26, 2010

    I'm doing a star theme next year. I was able to find star decorations for almost everything -calendar, helpers, cubby tags, welcome sign. I'm kind of afraid of overdoing it-but I guess we'll see when I start setting up in August!
     
  16. lou reed

    lou reed Companion

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    Jun 28, 2010

    I pick a theme based around a science and social studies unit. This year it's life cycles, last year rocks, the year before solar system....

    My room looks pretty wicked awesome if I do say so myself. I usually make it look killer over the summer but I don't do many changes to it over the year (a little seasonal, student work going up and down, etc.) I just like the spice it up every year. I get bored looking at the same things.
     
  17. tgim

    tgim Habitué

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    Jun 28, 2010

    Do you do "passports" for them or is that too "young?"
     
  18. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jun 28, 2010

  19. Joyful!

    Joyful! Habitué

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    Jun 29, 2010

    I did not use themes when I first began teaching.
    One year, I intertwined my decor, my discipline, my awards, even some curriculum to one theme. I found it very successful and repeated it.
    It can be expensive to change themes depending upon how you do it. It can also be cheap if you learn to repurpose what you already have.
    I have been the head of NASA, a city, the NBA, MLB, a corporation and other things that were my themes those years. This year, I am going for a spy/FBI theme. It will integrate subject areas and discipline and awards. In fact, I will be starting a thread asking for some help shortly :)
    I have found it successful for generating enthusiasm during the dull months, for creating a class unity in the beginning and for developing a sense of fun and discovery. If I didn't use a theme, could I achieve the same things within my room? Sure. It is a preference. Do the kids like it better with a theme? According to the response I have received, yes. Is it essential? No.
     

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