My quick tip is one that worked very well for my class last year. Classroom themes can be easy. Classroom themes can be one simple but powerful word. I wanted our theme to be more than a decorating style. I wanted it to mean something. So instead, I took my "theme" from the one little word I thought was most important for us to have a successful year, and such an important life skill for the future - my classroom theme was (and will be again this year) "collaborate".
"One Little Word" classroom themes can be taken from anywhere. They can be from a novel you are starting with (if reading Wonder at the beginning of the year, "Choose Kind" would be a fabulous classroom theme), they can be a character trait you want your students to display, or a verb meant to motivate like Think, Encourage, Lead, Persevere, etc., or a growth mindset word or phrase you want to keep reminding your students of. It just has to be something you remind your students of daily, and keep reflecting on throughout the year.
For me, collaborate is what I wanted my students to start right from day one. It was something I knew was necessary for all of us to have a successful year. So, we got started right away. I had each student trace their hand and arm, and decorate the inside with the names, and other words and pictures that were important to them. Then, we posted our hands reaching up to our goal - and used my big bulletin board letters to spell out COLLABORATE. This was placed over our main board, so it was in front of us every day, all year long. A great reminder throughout the year as I knew I'd be having them working together and learning from each other every single day.
I can't wait to share pics from my classroom set-up this year - full of reminders to collaborate, space to collaborate in, and resources to collaborate with. The two-week countdown is on!
Check out some more ideas below from some of my fabulous blogging friends, and get ready to grab some inspiration to make this the Best.Year.Ever!