If you teach elementary, you probably feel the pressure to have a classroom theme every year, even if it’s coordinating the colors in your space. These are some fresh and fun classroom themes if you’re due for a change!
Check out some posts related to classroom themes here:
- 15 Organized Classroom Hacks
- 13 Ways to Build a Literacy Rich Environment in Your Classroom
- 9 Practical Rewards of Teaching That Make the Drama Worth It
Why is it important to have a theme for your classroom?
Classroom themes can give students a sense of shared identity. It’s also helpful when you’re trying to decorate your classroom to have a predictable color scheme or thematic elements.
Even in the upper grades, it can be fun to have a classroom theme, even if no one else does on your team or campus.
However, it’s certainly not necessary. Don’t let the social pressure in elementary schools to have a classroom theme overwhelm you.
Classroom Themes to Try
Without further adieu, here are some of the fun themes I saw as I walked around classrooms at the start of the year.
Camping Classroom Themes
This teacher chose camping and did a fabulous job integrating the theme throughout her room. Because she keeps a very tidy, minimal classroom, updating her theme each year is easy. A few simple swaps can change the entire appearance of the classroom.
The “Write Stuff” Pencil Classroom Theme
This teacher had fun with a pencil and paper theme this year. She loves colorful brights, but adding in this rocking and reading chair facelift was a fun addition to her space.
Happiness Blooms Classroom Theme
This second grade teacher made a colorful door, but kept the interior of her room very calming with neutral colors. Still, a select few of those oversized flowers added a pop of color in the corners of her room.
Our campus is dual language, and 35% of our students are enrolled in dual language classes. For that reason, we all went a little nuts over both Encanto and Coco in recent years. I love the butterflies and beautiful flowers in this class.
This teacher matches her classroom to her personal style. It’s not unusual for her to wear thrifted clothes from the 1960s and 1970s, and she pulls it off well!
Her room theme matches, and it’s so fun! Check out these borders that you can add.
Farmhouse and Buffalo Check
This teacher prefers a more subdued look, and since we’re in west Texas, the country farmhouse vibe absolutely works. She has lots of dark graphite paint throughout her room, and most of the space feels very quiet and comfortable.
This is a kindergarten classroom, and many of our kids are in school for the first time. Everything feels happy, happy, happy!
Notice below how this teacher took the edge off her fluorescent lights by adding a fabric with clouds on it. If you look closely, you can even see homemade clouds hanging from her ceiling.
Grow Your Own Way
These mushrooms and flowers also have a groovy appeal.
I love this teacher’s take on a secret garden. She has fabulous windows all around her door, but she keeps them covered for safety reasons. By creating a hedge and flowers around her door, it feels much less scary and instead gives off a sweetly mysterious vibe.
Mountains Growth Mindset Theme
Mountains remind us of reaching upward and growing. This teacher used some simple washi tape to create visual interest in the corner of her room.
This is a dual language classroom where almost every student is Hispanic. I love the way this teacher leaned into her students’ culture, and everyone loves Coco!
If you want to make your space look super fun, add dots! See that dotty space behind her SmartBoard? Believe it or not, that was an old fashioned green chalkboard that was NOT gelling with the rest of her classroom. This dotty paper is available at Target.
The No Classroom Theme Balloon Room
Well, here’s my old classroom. I never really had a theme, but most of our organization revolved around those fun balloons. Kids were grouped from the start of the year not by table numbers (since I didn’t have tables), but instead by their balloon.
I would say things like, “Clovers, please line up first. Unicorns, can you please quickly pick up trash? Rainbows, you’re in charge of sanitizing desks.” It worked great! No matter where kids sat in the classroom, their group remained the same.
I wanted to show you my old room because I think it’s a good example of a thoughtfully designed classroom without a theme.
How do I choose a theme for my classroom?
I think the most important factors to consider when you’re choosing a classroom theme are budget, longevity, uniqueness, campus culture, and how stimulating it will be for you and your students.
If you’ve got a really cool idea for a classroom theme that you’ve seen on Pinterest, but it’s going to require your family to make meaningful sacrifices, that’s not a great idea. If your classroom theme is going to require you to toss everything you own and start over, consider smaller changes over time.
The last thing you need is to be changing out every single border, background, and all the signage in your room every single year. When you choose a new theme, consider how long you’ll want to keep it, and how much you’ll have to change in year 1. Ideally, you’d choose a classroom theme that you can enjoy for several years. You can keep adding and making smaller changes each year without feeling the pressure of a complete overhaul each July and August.
For a while, every classroom in elementary schools was bright and bold colors everywhere you turned. While that’s still popular, it’s now more common to have a palette of neutral colors that are a bit more calming. It’s really up to you!
Most of the examples below are pretty stimulating, but if you’re looking for something calmer, check out the following zen classroom themes.
It can be fun to show off to your teammates and fellow teachers a truly unique classroom, but it shouldn’t be the driving force behind your decision. Just decide for yourself whether or not that’s important. If you’d like to choose something totally different from your peers, cruise around your campus building and see what ideas are already being used. Plus, it’s fun to gather inspiration from friends.
At our own school, we have a ton of classrooms themes featuring plants, flowers, and other things that GROW.
That’s because we are so proud as a campus to have recently grown from a D-rated school to a B rated school. Our rating wasn’t because our kids had spectacular achievement relative to their peers in wealthier neighborhoods; we still have a lot of room to improve. Rather, our B rating was due to how much we GREW.
Campus growth, growth mindset, and setting goals are so important to our culture, so teachers naturally reflected that attitude in their classroom decor this year.
Need more ideas? These are just the ones I found in my own school. For more themes, check out the clutter-free classroom.