Idea forming... sinking feeling vs. euphoria setting in....

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Jem, Jun 18, 2008.

  1. Jem

    Jem Aficionado

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    Ok. So as we've all been brainstorming themes for the classroom, some of you may have been following mine. Harry Potter reading area, frog writing area, old west job board, tropical morning meeting spot... a hodge podge of my favorite ideas.

    However. I have an idea that has started to ooze into my mind, taking over all previously conceived notions....

    I'm not into the whole classroom theme. I like my pockets, just like I need my food to be separated on my plate. But what if I did a book theme on the whole, like snickydog, only instead of focusing on characters, I focus on setting. My reading area is already Harry Potter. What if I make our morning meeting area Narnia? I could get an old-fashion street lamp out of the Stump's prom catalogue, and have a forest area that we sit in. I could make the writing center Pooh's Corner with classic pooh stuff. Those are the only books I've come up with, but I'm sure I could think of more if I decided to go with this. Our Super Sleuth area could be Sherlock Holmes.

    The only problem is.... all my Vista Print stuff goes with my current ideas! Waaaaaaah! I'd have to start over! Boo. But I do really, really like this idea. Thoughts?
     
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  3. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    Personally, for a younger grade, I'd avoid doing a Harry Potter theme. It isn't a book they can read independently anyway, and so many parents object to the Harry Potter books. There are just so many other possible themes, and if you have one parent who takes extreme offense to it, it could really start your year off on the wrong foot.
     
  4. Jem

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    Thanks for the advice, RainStorm. I talked it over with my principal and the previous teacher, and they both encouraged me to go for it. The previous teacher said several students were reading the series last year-one finished it. It's a private school, so I don't think I'll have as much trouble with parents as I might in a public school. With that issue, anyhow.
     
  5. ancientcivteach

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    Unfortunately, Jem - I love your idea too! It's super!

    Now, I don't see why you can't still do your "super sleuth" - it had nothing to do with your decor anyway. Also, if you really wanted to tie it in - you pick one area and make it a "mystery" or "agent" center.
     
  6. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    Jem-there's always next year!

    I did a theme around Gary Paulsen books once. Not an overwhelming, every where you turn theme, but just here and there. I had a model airplane hanging from the ceiling, and all the kids loved it so much, I just left it there!
     
  7. Matt633

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    Jem, I love the idea...you could pick a book that the kids are not so familiar with so it makes them wonder ohh...what is this? One idea is the Gordon Korman series called "Island" (easy to decorate)that could be your Science or exploration center?!?! He also has a series called "Dive." (My fourth graders loved the Island books...best motivator to get their work done and be well behaved all year...the better they were they more I read)
     
  8. Ghost

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    You could use the rainforest stuff you have with The Great Tupak Tree, or even the Magic Treehouse series....The Zach Files come to mind just because the kids love it. What about Judy Blume for writing and Encyclopedia Jones for investigations? I can see the Ramona series used for the Job board, or the Time Warp Trio... love the idea. Mind if I pirate it??
     
  9. Jem

    Jem Aficionado

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    Go for it, Trinda! This is kind of built off snickydog's theme... so we're all building off each other! I think I want to stick with fantasy, but then that's selfish of me because not all my kids will like fantasy. What about the Wrinkle in Time series? The only problem is they travel everywhere, so there is no set area I could have for them. I'm going to lunch, and I'll brainstorm. I'll be back with more ideas in a few.
     
  10. Jem

    Jem Aficionado

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    Oh man, I think have indigestion now-butterflies while eating is not a good mix.

    Ok. This is what I've come up. What about stories that have heavy forest/woods themes? That's the trend I'm seeing with HP, Narnia and Pooh Corner. So let's drag it out... Magic Treehouse for Social Studies, with just a bulletin board (I'm running out of room for large area themes), and what about a Magic Schoolbus board for science, with the bus traveling through a forest on the top. Then I was thinking... Wind in the Willows? I've never read it, but they live in nature/the forest, right? What other books deal with greenery?

    Then I was thinking about Narnia, and it hit me-I need a wardrobe! I have one of those garmet racks at home that I want to get rid of-what if I cover the edges with brown cardboar and make it look like a wardrobe from the front/sides, and hand coats on it? I could put it diagnal in the corner, and have the kids face it during morning meeting. It will be like we came through the wardrobe and are sitting in Narnia! I could get a streetlamp out of a prom catalogue, and get small plants to put around from a plant supply company (they give you their used ones for free). I could make larger trees for the wall.

    I already have my HP corner planned out.

    I'm stuck on the Pooh Corner writing center, because I really loved my frog idea, The Writing Pad. But I can't think of any famous frogs that lived in forests-anyone know of any? I do have some classic pooh stuff, and Target has a ton in their baby aisle.

    I don't know what I would do for my job board, either. Maybe I could do that as Pooh Corner, and do the Wind in the Willows for the writing center-that crazy Toad is in WitW, right? So then I could do frogs in the writing center.

    Hmmm... this seems like it could work. I'm on the verge of feeling comfortable. But I really would have to start over with Vista Print. Oh, darn.... :whistle:
     
  11. Jem

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    Oh my gosh! Brilliant! I was just reading snickydog's thread about book characters and saw this! It's PERFECT for my Writing Pad! Frog and Toad! Hooooooray!

     
  12. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Love it, Jem! Your class will be incredible - I want pictures!
     
  13. Jem

    Jem Aficionado

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    Oh my gosh. The ideas just keep coming. I have a door that leads to an outdoor stage-I'm going to make that the gate to the Secret Garden. I'll do the Sisters Grimm for our Super Sleuth board, as they are detectives that find their mysteries in the German woods. I can do a door sign that invites the kids 'Into the Woods'......

    If anyone is purging their home of silk plants this summer, please let me know.:woot:
     
  14. Ghost

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    You could do Frog and Toad for your writing center...how about the Boxcar Children? Ooo, My Side of the Mountain would fit the foresty theme. Little House in the Big Woods comes to mind too.
     
  15. GD2BQN

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    Jem, what will you do with you the stuff you ordered from VP? And what about that partner you were working with to come up with ideas? Maybe you could.............. oh.....no............
     
  16. Jem

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    Hahah! Yeah, give it to her. We'll see. I can keep the frog stuff if I do Frog and Toad, so that's great. My job stuff is pretty much useless. Bummer. That was so cute. I'll hold on to it, I guess.
     
  17. DreamToTeach

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    Jem, I was going to suggest The Secret Garden, and then you thought of it! :p

    I was having a total deja vu moment when you were talking about the wardrobe. Then I remembered I have actually read something about that. A teacher who had a wardrobe and then used it for something special. I CANNOT remember!!! Uggh. Something about visiting at the beginning of the year and always having the kids wonder if someone was coming through from the other side, or something. It was so cool. I will rack my brain and pour through my notes and see if I can find it - although, I know you will think of your own unique and cleaver way to incorporate it into your wonderful classroom!
     
  18. ZoomZoomZOOM

    ZoomZoomZOOM Devotee

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    I agree. I'm totally anxious for pics, Jem. Meanwhile, good for you. I think more of us need to make the classroom a more exciting place. A lot of folks have said, "Oh I just don't have time," or "I'm just not that creative." In that case, I'm thinking "Enlist the help of your friends." I would have LOVED a theme classroom when I was younger. And I see so few of them these days. Like I said in another post, I've student-taught at 5 different schools and have yet to see a themed classroom. :(

    I'll be teaching kiddos with autism so their preferences will be different than typical kiddos. But I still plan on making a huge Kapok Tree outside my front door and have a rain forest themed classroom library. If my students are okay with that much, I'll branch out. Get it? BRANCH OUT. :toofunny:
     
  19. Jem

    Jem Aficionado

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    I love you guys. When I thinking of these ideas, I just couldn't get over the fact that I now have people to share them with, instead of just calling my mom and gushing to her. She's great and all.... but you guys are much better.

    Dream To Teach-I LOVE the idea of people coming through the wardrobe. Like our mystery readers. How cool!

    ZoomZoom- You crack me up.
     
  20. ancientcivteach

    ancientcivteach Habitué

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    Jun 18, 2008

     
  21. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    What about the muppets and Kermit the Frog, for a famous frog, if you're not already set on frog and toad.
     
  22. Jem

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    I would do Kermit, but I'm trying to go for classic literature. I do really like that Frog and Toad idea.

    New idea while riding the bus: I'm going to contact carpet stores and try to get a bunch of random green carpet squares to 'carpet' our Narnia morning meeting area. We have tile, so we'll need something soft anyhow. This will give us a grass effect, but will break up a solid green look. I think I'll overlap them, instead of just putting them down in neat rows. This will also give it an uneven feel, like real grass and hills.
     
  23. Teachling

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    Wow, Jem I'm still trying to catch up on these thread & read all about your ideas for your room. Sounds amazing! Would love to see pics when you are done.
     
  24. Jem

    Jem Aficionado

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    Yeah, so would I. I'm starting to get a bit overwhelmed by it all. I sent a list out to freecycle last night, but didn't hear anything back. I'm still intrigued by this trading idea. I'm sure some of you guys have stuff I need, and I have a whole storage unit of stuff I could trade you all for.... I wish I knew a better way to go about it. Any ideas? I'll start a new post.
     
  25. Teachling

    Teachling Groupie

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    Jem, funny you should mention that [trading idea] because last weekend I had the opportunity to pick up free workbooks/textbooks from a teacher at one of the garage sales I went to & didn't because they were for 1st & 2nd grade. Later I felt guilty that I hadn't any way.
     
  26. Jem

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    Grrrr. This is so frustrating. There has to be a way to trade stuff.
     
  27. SportsFanTr

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    Jem, I have used a yahoo group called "teachersbargainbasement" before, and its pretty good. Teachers post what they want to sell, with the price and you can sell things on there too. I've bought a few books, and its always been a great process for me. PM me if you want the exact website.
     
  28. Jem

    Jem Aficionado

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    I belong to that! Thanks, MrsHodge. I have an e-store, but I want to wait until I get everything out of storage and on the store before I start sending e-mails out to that group, so they can see everything at once. Hopefully I'll get to work on that this weekend.
     
  29. MissFroggy

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    Good luck with all your plans Jem! It sounds like it will be a really fun room to be a student in! I know you are an amazing teacher because you have so many great ideas.

    I have one note- as a teacher of third graders, I have never had any who were still reading frog and toad. They may think it is babyish. I think I mentioned before that some of the other books will be too hard for many of them (Narnia and HP) so you should do them as a read aloud so they are familiar with them, otherwise the theme may not make sense because they will just connect it to the movie. Also, most kids see Winnie the Pooh as only a TV character or movie character, so again, reading the stories will be important.
     
  30. Jem

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    Good thoughts, MissFroggy. I keep thinking of your room while planning for this, because you can see trees outside of your windows. I have windows similar to that, with an outdoor stage and trees on the other side.

    Hmmm... maybe I'll do the Wind in the Willows for the writing center instead of Frog and Toad, because they still have that crazy Mr. Toad. I think I will read the first few chapters out loud from each book in the room, and the kids can check it out and finish it if they'd like. My principal and the 2nd grade teacher both liked the HP idea, and said these kids are reading at that level, so I guess it will work, although I don't expect them to get higher than the third or fourth book. I have the Narnia books on audio cd, so that will help them with those books as well.
     
  31. MissFroggy

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    It's a good idea to read a bit to them. Make sure you have multiple copies of the books too!

    I plan on reading a bit from different books each day to wet their palette and introduce them to books in the library. Maybe you could make it a game, and if a child reads or listens to a book that represents each center, they get to do something special. That way, if you have kids who really can't read at that level, then they can listen to the book on tape or have their parents read them at home.
     
  32. Jem

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    That's an excellent idea! I have tons of HP copies, Narnia copies and Secret Gardens. I'm going to have to work on Wind in the Willow and Sisters Grimm. I have the whole Magic Treehouse series, so that should be fine. I need to brainstorm more books. This is very difficult with everything in storage and me stuck in an office all day. I love the ideas, though. Thanks for the help, everyone.
     
  33. Jem

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    Jun 21, 2008

    Guys, I hate to say this, but I think I'm going to nix the woods idea.

    I've been wrestling with this all week, and I just don't think it's going to work. I would need SO MUCH to pull this off right, and I don't have the time or support from DH to do it. I already have most of the stuff I would need for my other ideas. Maybe I'll work on this for next year. It's already going to be tough to just do my Harry Potter corner. To throw in Narnia, Wind in the Willows, the Secret Garden-all the bulletin board stuff I would have to create, etc., it's just not going to happen.

    I will, however, read them the Magician's Nephew as a read-aloud. I already ordered those postcards with the map on the front, so I have to do something with those. So I'm back to my little pockets of themes around the room. I think this will work out just fine.
     
  34. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

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    Wow, Jem. You sure do have a lot of ideas LOL! Is your house this colorful?? I bet your classroom will be lots of fun. Do you have to pay for all of these theme decorations yourself? Or do you get money from the school. It seems like an expensive venture! :eek:hmy:
     
  35. Jem

    Jem Aficionado

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    Yeah, I pay for them. Hence the no-go on this woods idea. I would just need too much stuff for it.

    My house, at the moment, is terrible. We just moved into a new condo about three weeks ago, and the whole place is gray, brown and blah. My husband is super modern (think IKEA on crack) and I'm super whimsical. It's a battle I don't have the energy to fight anymore, so I put my energy into the classroom. He's always after me to put those ideas into the house, but then he hates them-why try? I AM going to have to do something about in here, though. This is getting depressing.
     

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