What’s Your Theme?

Posted: August 12, 2016 in Uncategorized
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I read a couple of blog posts earlier today about themes teachers are using to decorate their classrooms for the new school year. This got me to thinking. As a high school teacher, I don’t use themes in my room. I have lots of math posters and language all over the walls, but no real theme. Don’t get me wrong. I love to look at all the ideas on Pinterest as much as anyone, but I have never even been tempted to coordinate my entire room with something, say like owls. So now I am wondering. Is it me? Are there high school teachers out there that use themes in their classrooms? Or is this primarily an elementary school thing? Do you use themes?

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Comments
  1. To tell you the truth, I think it’s more of an elementary thing anything. However, I’m sure that the high school students wouldn’t mind having a theme over the topics they are studying.

    As for elementary, it is something we do to encourage the students and get them excited about being the classroom or learning the content. Not to mention it creates an environment that isn’t so boring to the students and make them feel like their trapped.

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    • lisakmcleod says:

      I think your points about why elementary teachers use themes are interesting. Taking it a step further, those same points could absolutely apply to high school level students. So now I wonder why we tend not to use them, and at what grade levels do they start to disappear…. So many questions!

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  2. druinok says:

    I don’t use a “theme”, but I do like it to be color coordinated. I tend to go for black & white as my base colors and add pops of color from there. My classes are color coordinated as well, from 1st hour as red to 6th hour as purple. 🙂

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    • lisakmcleod says:

      I do that too!! My school colors are black and red so I use a lot of those, plus white and then bits of color. Each class is color coded as well, starting with the crate I keep their folders in. It helps me keep things straight. If the floors ever let me get to my room, I will post pics. Starting to think about getting a ladder and going in through my windows!

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  3. agilin says:

    I agree that it is more of an elementary thing. I do have a bulletin board that I put the DECA state and national “themes” for the year, but it doesn’t consume my whole classroom!

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    • lisakmcleod says:

      I have the Common Core Shifts on my wall, among a ton of other mathy type things, like number lines, directionality signs, and quotes that resounded with me. I’m not sure I have it in me to do a theme and be that organized and “cutesy”. It’s just not my personality.

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  4. Derek says:

    It is more of an elementary thing I believe. I have seen it done well at that level such as fall being taught through counting leaves and other math activities, artwork with leaves, and science projects done in identifying different kinds. I don’t use themes, but I suppose it could work.

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    • lisakmcleod says:

      That was my thought too, but many of the reasons behind doing things at the elementary level still make sense at the middle or high school level. Similar to the concept of using manipulatives. They are very prominent in elementary school, but rarely seen at the high school level. My students learn concepts more quickly and deeply when I use hands-on materials.

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  5. I teach 7th grade (10th grade in the past) currently. I really like to decorate my classroom with color and witty posters but I don’t choose a theme per say. I just think it is important for my students to be able to quickly understand me and my class from the color and fun on the walls.

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    • lisakmcleod says:

      Your classroom sounds much like mine. Lots of bright, colorful items on the walls but no real theme per se. Nice to hear from a middle school teacher. I’m curious as to what grade we stop decorating with themes.

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  6. I have seen so much research on how physical space and wall decorations motivate students. However, I think that it can overwhelm students and distract them, especially at the middle school age. I stick with simplicity and don’t use a theme. But I have heard of elementary teachers who were required to create a bulletin board as a part of their college coursework.

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    • lisakmcleod says:

      I’ve heard arguments in support of both. I don’t like blank walls but I don’t like them cluttered either so I guess I try to stay in the middle. My initial certification was in elementary education and yes, I had to build bulletin boards for several classes!

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