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Why I Choose Year-Long Classroom Themes

By Beth Newingham on August 17, 2012
  • Grades: 3–5

One of the most important goals for me as a teacher is to build community in my classroom. Making my diverse students feel like a united group of individuals who care for each other and work together is what I strive for as each new school year begins. I also work hard to make my classroom a place where learning is fun and where students feel excited to be each day. Implementing a class theme each year is the perfect way for me to combine these two important goals.

At the end of summer, I look for a great back-to-school theme to kick off a new school year with my students. My yearlong themes create a sense of unity as soon as students enter the door. Depending on the theme, students are immediately part of a team (sports theme or racing theme), a crew (space theme or nautical theme), or even a band (rock 'n' roll theme). Whatever the theme may be, all students are an important part of the classroom community, and the theme itself determines our class identity for the school year.

The theme also determines how I decorate my classroom and hallway, and the names I designate for certain activities in the classroom, as well as the title of my weekly newsletter, the money in our classroom economy, and group names for word study centers. The theme does not determine what I teach academically. I still follow the same units of study in each subject every year regardless of the theme. My themes are simply a creative way to make my classroom come alive and make my students feel excited to be part of a shared experience during the school year.

View my past back-to-school themes and download materials here.

Comments (6)

Oh no!! I can't get to her website. Anyone found out how to get there?

Oh no!! I can't get to her website. Anyone found out how to get there?

Hi there!

My class website is at a new location, so you will need to visit the Teacher Resource section of my class website to find the links. Here is the new address: http://hil.troy.k12.mi.us/staff/bnewingham/myweb3/

Sorry for the confusion!

-Beth Newingham

I can't access it either!! Help!!

the same is so for me :-( This is a sad moment! I was just about to purchase printshop to be able to use some of the amazing creations made by Ms. Newingham and cant get into them. Can something be done? !!?!

I am unable to view classroom websit it says it's been moved or no longer available....say it isn't so you've been my mentor

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