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April 26, 2021

Backdrops of My Life

My name is Emily.  I have realized I can't say no to a good deal, or a good sale, or a good backdrop. I also have a very supportive family that goes along with my crazy ideas.  

I wanted to share the backdrops that have made their appearance into my corner cabinet... you know the one in the classroom where things go to hide...  And by hide, I mean put away until I decorate for a mini room transformation.  

Oh no, you say, this is all about Room Transformations?  Why yes, I say... 

A couple of years ago I read The Wild Card by Wade and Hope King and it totally opened my eyes to the impact of the little things.  How it's so easy to throw a backdrop/banner up and create a new-ish environment and transport my class to somewhere new. I want to be known as Miss Frizzle, and take my kids on crazy field trips, without having to pay the bus fee.  So that's been my purpose over the last 3ish years.  To add to my menu of different ideas to spice up my teaching. 

Disclaimer - these are not ads, I don't get anything for sharing.  I just like to share.

The first backdrop that kids see during the year is this slide from Head Over Heels for Teaching.  I project this slide for our Book Tasting that Friday of the first week of school.  It's a way to celebrate the 5th day of 5th grade.  Projecting images onto the screen is so easy. We've also used the Olympic Medals and the NASA logo as well over the years.  

The next one is my global travel banner.  I use this when we go galavanting around the world on a Context Clues adventure by Teaching with a Mountain View. I also have the different flags of the world in a bunting that hangs around the classroom, and each country station also has some pictures of the location that I have printed for kids to feel like they are there.  I use this at the end of August/beginning of September when we are wrapping up our unit.

Another banner is the ocean/deserted beach one.  In October for Talk like a Pirate Day, we are also knee deep in our Explorer unit.  I use this for both. Pirate day and our Explorer Simulation.  

Then I have some other pirate, sailing, explorer items that I put on tables to decorate, and we listen to the theme song of Pirates of the Caribbean Disneyland ride over and over as background music.  

For reviewing roots, I have decorated the room as a hospital.  I hung plastic tablecloths on our hanging lights for the different operation rooms.  Kids wore masks (before they were cool), gloves, and I picked up syringe pens for them to use. They had paper people that they had to operate on to attach the roots to the prefixes and suffixes. I use this Affixes resource by Your Thrify Co-teacher. I play a heart beat over our sound to start us out.  It was so fun.  

Another one is a Minecraft one that I use for Volume.  Teaching volume makes me think of building blocks, and since the kids are Minecraft obsessed, it totally works.  We make a gallery of our volume designs.

I have a Game On banner that I use as the center of a bulletin board.  When the kids come back from winter break, we always have a talk about New Years resolutions and what they can do to step it up a notch.  This year I put it up when we moved from distance learning to hybrid. It's the final push for the new trimester.  Our goals usually hang around it as a reminder of what we want to accomplish. And yes, I know it says Leve Up, instead of Level Up.  It might be why it was such a good deal. :) The kids get a kick of telling me, as if I don't know, but it's so much fun that I don't really care.  

For review I love to make special days to spice it up a bit.  I have all the materials for a Glow Day.  I was gifted it from Donors Choose.  I use a banner to help cover my big window.  It blocks out a lot of light. I also was given black lights, reflective tape, glow sticks, and some cool pens that glow. This year my skylights have decided not to completely close, so it doesn't get dark enough to use it.  I'm super bummed... at least my neighbor can use them though.  :)  

My newest addition is a concert themed one for our Rock the Test review.  I picked up some inflatable instruments as well (that can easily be sprayed down). My son had a music inspired birthday a while back, and I kept his record decorations to hang on the lights.  It just makes it fun.  

I'm sure by now you are thinking that I have issues.  But it's fun and it's memorable. :)  Kids remember what they were doing and learning on these special days.  You know, when something is a little different than the ordinary. We have plenty of ordinary days too. Right now I have a bunch of these banners hanging back up in the classroom, to cover my boards for state testing.  All banners are found over on Amazon.  

Do you do theme days too? Hope you had a great day!

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