Do all elementary teachers have classroom themes?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by ZoomZoomZOOM, Aug 6, 2011.

  1. ZoomZoomZOOM

    ZoomZoomZOOM Devotee

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    I'm moving from middle school to elementary K-2 this year. The previous teacher designed her classroom like a town. Do you guys all have themes like that or is it not necessary? Reason I'm asking is that I don't want to be the odd man out at my new school. If most of them have themes then I'll just come up with one too. And it's near impossible to find this out, btw. I won't be able to get in my room until the week before school! :dizzy:
     
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  3. VANewbie

    VANewbie Devotee

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    I just did this same post a few weeks ago. I was asking the same question. I do not have a theme and do not know many teachers who have a theme. I only see themes in the online world.
     
  4. jcar03

    jcar03 Companion

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    Not all do but it seems to become more common. Obviously, those who have post classroom pictures have a real classroom that exists somewhere.
     
  5. soleil00

    soleil00 Comrade

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    Almost all the teachers at my school (PreK-1st) have a theme in their room. Some of the "close to retirement" teachers do not have themes only because they are getting more "stingy" with their money and aren't buying anything the school doesn't make them. Other than those teachers, everyone else has a theme.
     
  6. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    No one in my K-4 school has a whole class theme. It's a lot of work if you have only a very limited time to get your room done. Nice, but not necessary.
     
  7. Joy

    Joy Cohort

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    I think that it is completely up to you. I have also seen some teachers who keep their theme very simple. It's your classroom. You should get to do whatever you like!
     
  8. ZoomZoomZOOM

    ZoomZoomZOOM Devotee

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    Oops, sorry about that. I guess I should have looked more before posting. I'm new to this forum. I'm typically on the special ed forum. :eek:

    But thanks to everyone for their input. You're right - - it IS a lot of work for the short time frame I have. Maybe I'll consider a theme for next year once I have the general hang of things. :)
     
  9. VANewbie

    VANewbie Devotee

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    Oh its okay. I just wanted you to know in case you did not get a lot of responses here.
     
  10. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    Last year my theme was "District Mandated Curriculum." The kids loved it!

    This year my theme is "Choosing the Right Answer."

    The teacher next to me has a surefire winner called "Avoiding Everything Except Reading and Math."
     
  11. TXowl

    TXowl Companion

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    I didn't have a theme last year because I was hired after school started and just used what I had or could easily get. I had a hodge lodge of things (frogs, owls, jungle, stars). Only one teacher on my team had a theme and she was a first year teacher, too. Some had certain patterns they used, but it wasn't really a theme.

    I am doing a theme this year because I actually have time to plan and set up. I also plan on using the same things for many years since I'm investing quite a bit of money (however, when I do change themes I can use a lot of these things at home (owls for my alma mater).
     
  12. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    This is my first year I plan to do a theme. I have one week to get the room set up, so it will be a work in progress. There's no way I will have it ready on time.
     
  13. karebear76

    karebear76 Habitué

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    Zoom ~
    I didn't have a theme for several years. Never even thought about it until I joined here. Suddenly I realized that I had a collection sitting in a box in my basement, unappreciated. I now use the same theme each year, and add to it as I can. I collected ladybugs for several years so I have a lot of decor for my room. It doesn't really tie into my academic instruction, but it makes my room a lot more fun for me, and hopefully for my students.

    Don't stress it...go with the flow, and then choose a theme later if you want.

    Not many teachers in my building have themes. One of my grade level team has a different theme each year, another one sometimes has a little bit of a theme. Otherwise I don't know of anyone else who has one.
     
  14. WaterfallLady

    WaterfallLady Enthusiast

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    None of the elementary teachers at my school have themes.

    Zoom, I really miss you on the Special Ed. board.
     
  15. ShanaNicole

    ShanaNicole Rookie

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    I have a theme, its "under the sea" with a stronger focus on fish. Then again, in a first year teacher so I've spent a lot of money and time on preparing and I am totally excited to set my room up. I did have a classroom for 3 months at the end of the year and I made my room monkey themed.
     
  16. lilmisses1014

    lilmisses1014 Comrade

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    That's my theme, too! Our school mascot is a dolphin, which is why I went with that theme.

    Sarge-- excellent themes!! :lol:
     
  17. IEDUK8

    IEDUK8 Rookie

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    I don't have a theme, per se, but at the start of my career, I created a fictional world...each table group is a region in that world and so when I tell stories (each region has a character in the story), the region helps their character get through the story.

    It's like "Choose Your Own Adventure" but with storytelling instead of book-form. ;)

    The kids (even the 4th graders) LOVE IT. And they don't know I'm assessing them as they have to solve problems or check for understanding to get their character farther in the story.

    This was probably more information that you sought, eh? ;) Sorry!
     
  18. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    I taught 2nd grade for six years and not once did I see a classroom at my school (K-5) that had a theme. Many rooms were colorful, inviting, neat, and organized; however, none had an actual "theme."

    As far as my 2nd classroom was concerned, I had colorful bulletin boards throughout the room (lots of artwork and student writing were displayed). Never thought of focusing on a theme, though. Not my style.

    Don't worry about what anyone else is doing. Do what YOU feel is right for your kids and what fits YOUR personality! :thumb:
     
  19. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    :lol::lol::lol:

    My favorite is "Avoiding Everything Except Reading and Math."

    I can't think of anyone at my elementary that has a theme. It would be cute, but not necessary. I feel like I'd end up spending a ton of money on cute little decorations to go with my theme, which IMO is not really what I should be focusing my budget on.
     
  20. ZoomZoomZOOM

    ZoomZoomZOOM Devotee

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    :woot: Ha - point taken.

    And WaterfallLady - I still look at sped forum first. I just feel like I'm a lot closer to typical curriculum with the K-2ers than I was with my 6-8th life skills kiddos. I'm sure you'll see more of me though after I meed my kiddos and find out their needs.

    Regarding a theme - - I've decided to have a "mini" outer space theme. I'll use a lot of stars and incorporate them with my teaching. "Shining Star of the Week," "The REAL stars of Room 204," etc. Now I just need to get my hands on some foil board!
     
  21. LiveNLearn

    LiveNLearn Comrade

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    :lol:

    That's what really counts! I try to have a nice, clean, well designed classroom, but I don't have a theme. The kids could care less if you have frogs on the tags in the cubbies.

    Just don't slap up a bunch of random posters and call it good. Plan it out, make it good, and forget about the theme. The theme of any classroom should be LEARNING!

    p.s. Only 1 out of 32 teachers has a theme.
     
  22. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    I do have a theme of sorts. I have actually bought very little. I've been fortunate enough to attend a few NASA trainings and we were given wonderful resources. But, it's more than decorations. Our country's race for space is waht lit a fire in education. Now we are faltering and I think that race may need to return. I'm using my theme to spark kids' interest in school.
     
  23. karebear76

    karebear76 Habitué

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    I saw some really cute things at Dollar Tree that would work with the space theme. Space shuttles, stars, etc. Worth a look for anyone using that theme.
     
  24. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    Thanks! I found a few things there. I'll have to go back and check, though! :)
     
  25. Lynn K.

    Lynn K. Habitué

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    I have a theme each year, and I have changed it every year the past few years. I've done frogs, fish, construction and this year - owls.

    I just do it because it gives me a place to start decorating and an idea to make a cover for the back to school packet.

    I really like the owls, though, and I think I might stick with them for a while.
     
  26. hawkteacher

    hawkteacher Comrade

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    I can't think of a single teacher that has a theme to their room in my building.

    I personally think my time is better spent on something that has a direct impact on my students and their learning.
     
  27. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    I don't think a teacher choosing to use a theme in their room means that they aren't concerned with teaching. I know lots of teachers with themes and the themes don't take away from their teaching at all. I think it's a personal preference. I would never think less of a teacher because of how they chose to decorate their room, whether it was with a theme or not.
     
  28. karebear76

    karebear76 Habitué

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    As for me, my theme is all worked out during my physical room arrangement. That does not take anything away from my teaching. I'm able to do what basic planning I need to do as well as lovingly decorate my space in the same amount of time. My planning doesn't occur until after I meet my students and assess them because I must individualize my instruction.

    To imply that I'm less of a teacher because I choose to decorate my room with red and black and ladybugs, is quite offensive. My placing ladybugs around takes no more time than it takes a non-theme teacher to decorate a bulletin board. My :2cents:
     
  29. ShanaNicole

    ShanaNicole Rookie

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    I have to agree with karebear. I work very hard at being an excellent teacher and I plan my heart out to give my students the best education I can. However, I have an AWESOME fish/under the sea theme that I spent a ton of time on because I know my students enjoy being in that environment. I spent a lot of money and time but none of it is wasted. Additionally, I am in my classroom the majority of my time. If I decorate it nicely in a way I enjoy, I will enjoy being in my classroom which will aid in a positive mood. Its very offensive, especially coming from another teacher, to incinuate I don't care about teaching just because I enjoy decorating my classroom in a theme.
     
  30. ZoomZoomZOOM

    ZoomZoomZOOM Devotee

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    There will always be folks that choose not to decorate their rooms. "The kids don't need it," "The kids don't care," "...waste of time/money," etc. But I agree with ShanaNicole about being in the classroom the majority of the time and if it makes US happy, it's worth the effort/time/money. Kind of like decorating your house.

    And I'm sorry - - I know I'm going to tick some people off here - but you can't tell me there's a kid alive K-12 that doesn't appreciate a well designed and thought-out classroom that's FUN. I'm not talking duckies and bunnies on the walls here. I'm talking design as a whole - - the use of space, the use of color, the homey feel. Isn't it part of our jobs to inspire kids any way we can? I think fun, well thought out rooms are very inspiring and make everyone that walks into them happier people.

    All that being said, to each his own. If hawkteacher doesn't want to decorate/have a theme, that's his/her choice. I didn't take offense to the post at all. I just thought, there's another one of those teachers that has a boring room. heh ;) j/k (kinda)
     
  31. Joyful!

    Joyful! Habitué

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    Sarge, Thanks for posting your theme. I like it. Just not sure what color it is, :lol:, but I'm sure the district lets you know.:lol:


    Themes can be decor driven or they can be content driven. It depends upon what you like to do. I have stated several times that my theme always encompasses my decor, my classroom management plan and my incentives. I also use it as something that correlates with curriculum. However, I have taught without themes. It truly is preference. I like a theme because it forces me to keep the incentives at the forefront of my students' minds. It challenges me to keep content in every thing I do. I like it. I don't think it makes me a better/worse educator though.:)
     
  32. CFClassroom

    CFClassroom Connoisseur

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    I love classroom themes and have a site dedicated to them.
    (CLASSROOM THEMES )

    With that being said though, I think it's completely a personal choice. For me it started as a way to make things flow and the kids love the creative environment. We have lots of themed classrooms at my school and they are all excellent teachers and the theme is more or less the background. I also don't see the theme taking away from learning. I can see how it could though so again it really comes down to the specific teacher.

    To answer the OP specifically though, I don't think I would do a theme as a first year teacher or new to a school if I wasn't sure about it. I would focus on a color scheme and build my room around that. Good luck and have fun this year.
     
  33. Pisces_Fish

    Pisces_Fish Fanatic

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    I don't have a theme and I don't feel the need for one. However, if I had money to blow (and time!) I'd probably have a space theme. I tend to think it's a waste of effort but I don't judge the teachers that have one.
     
  34. Pisces_Fish

    Pisces_Fish Fanatic

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    Last year Staples had cute Owl name plates. I think I will use them again this year.
     
  35. hawkteacher

    hawkteacher Comrade

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    I never meant to imply that a teacher with a theme room is a bad teacher - that's taking things a little bit to the extreme. I'm sure there are lots of phenomenal teachers who choose to use a theme to decorate their room.

    At the same time, I'm sure there are teachers who spend so much time and energy on theme, that they miss out on the opportunity to grow as a teacher over the summer through reading professional books and thoughtful discussions with other teachers.

    And no, my room isn't boring because I don't have a theme.
     
  36. mb_teacher

    mb_teacher Companion

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    I have my room in Polka Dots (just enough to give it some fun). I have round paper lanterns scattered across the ceiling just for some color.
    My mom is using my monkey theme from last year. When I used this theme, I had a jungle hut as a reading area.
    The students LOVED my room. They were proud of the room and loved showing it off.

    I've had people say that it is too distracting, that students don't learn when there's a theme, etc. I think that's just ridiculous. I had enough in my room to make it fun and homey, but not so much as to make it unbearable to enter.
    I figure, I am in this room more than I am home. The same goes with the students. Why not decorate it in a way that I will appreciate and in a way that will make the kids enjoy the room?

    A person certainly doesn't have to have a theme, but adding splashes of color, pillows in a reading corner, curtains, etc make for a homey, enjoyable room.
     
  37. mb_teacher

    mb_teacher Companion

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    I completely agree!!
     
  38. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    I have seen many themes - frogs, tigers, etc. I have never had one until this year, if you call it that. I call it more of just a decor thing. My class is going to be decorated in black and gold and fleur-de-lis - because I am a huge Saints fan! I am not going to the extent some other teachers do, with cute phrases, etc. I have a few nice fleur-de-lis that I am placing around the classroom, my bb backgrounds and borders will be black with gold border and gold with black border, with contrasting fleur-de-lis in the corners. I have a Saints banner, and the lockers will be black with gold fleur-de-lis stenciled at the top. I like the black lockers, because it will make the students' artwork pop, and I use the lockers to hold the student work because I don't have enough BBs or wall space. I know some teachers who would paint the desks and murals on the walls, etc. I use black backgrounds on things like posters and add fleur-de-lis to them, and call it a day!
     
  39. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Most of my stuff has been free (we have a phenomenal Teacher Resource Center) or very low cost (can you say VistaPrint?). I don't judge anyone either, with or without a theme. For me, my goal has always been to make my classroom a place that I and my students want and like to be. This year, it just happens to be sort of theme-y! LOL
     
  40. sjnkate

    sjnkate Rookie

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    I don't. Only one of the teachers at our school has a theme that I know of.
     
  41. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    No one in my school does this, I never even heard of it before I came to this website, I guess its a regional thing. I guess part of the problem for me is I have a feeling I might not end up in the grade/classroom I expected so I can't really prepare too much before school and that would be a lot to put together at the last minute.
     

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