Using back to school themes is a great way to get kids excited about learning and going back to school. A theme can incorporate any variety of elements including class work, extra curricular activities, pep rallies or even community service. The point is to bring the students together for a common focus.
Back to School Themes
In the list below, there are a variety of ideas and means by which you can incorporate your back to school theme planning. Use as many of the ideas as you want. The most important thing to think about is what will get students and teachers excited about being back at school again?
Pay It Forward/Helping Hands
Focusing on the greater good is an excellent way to give the student body something to focus on and to take pride in. Aside from that, encouraging teens to think outside of their realm is never a bad thing!
- Pay It Forward Rally--Challenge the student body towards random acts of kindness to not only each other but to the community at large. Feature "pay it forward" stories in a student published newsletter right before Thanksgiving.
- Outreach--Have the student council or each class organize a food drive or park clean up day or something similar that benefits the community at large.
- Fundraising--If a project involves fundraising, organize a wheelchair basketball game or inter tube water polo tournament. The players and spectators will have a blast and you can sell raffle tickets to raise the needed dough!
- Take some time to reward students for their effort by watching the movie "Pay It Forward" at a school lock in or movie night.
100 Days Countdown
The 100 days celebration originally began in elementary school to help kids grasp the concept of the number 100. However, looking forward to a big celebration is never a bad thing! Since teens understand the idea of 100, why not set some goals to accomplish in 100 days?
- Literature/Reading: Kids who are avid readers do better in high school. Why not challenge your classroom to read a certain amount of pages in 100 days in order to receive a pizza party?
- Math: How about challenging your students to a battle of the minds to see how many "mind bender" problems they can solve in 100 days. Every time they solve one, put a scoop of popcorn in a jar. If they reach the line before 100 days, then they can have a movie day or other type of party.
- 100 Things Scavenger Hunt: Challenge your students to find or spot 100 things around the school. It can either be trivia that they need to find the answers to, or specific things within the school. This is a great way to help new students get to know the campus as well.
Blast from the Past
Undoubtedly, your students have wondered what it was like in the 50's, 60's and 70's. Why not set the stage for learning in an exciting way and show them what it was like?
- The 70's--Start out in the 70's by talking about famous people, events and history. Studies show that students are sadly ignorant of more current history. If it's appropriate, talk about Vietnam and Korea and show how that influences our current policy.
- The 60's--Moving back into time, show students how powerful music was during the 60's as a mouthpiece for social change. Challenge them to a battle of the bands or similar in class to help them explore how the arts can be used as an expression.
- The 50's--End your blast from the past with a 50's style dance complete with music, egg creams and sliders.
Setting the Stage for Learning Fun
There is an old proverb that says that a wise teacher makes learning fun. Using a theme to communicate a message and/or let your students know that your class is going to be fun this year can go a long ways towards inspiring them!