When summer is over and school begins, lesson plans and classroom themes tend to turn toward autumn. Keep summer alive at the beginning of the school year or warm up the middle of winter with sunny beach decorations and classroom displays that tie into informative thematic units. Incorporate the warm decor into lessons in history, science and social studies.
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Summer Beach Fun
Re-create beach vacations with textural notice boards and classroom decorations that recall the lazy days of summer. Create a beach notice board with blue cellophane for ocean water and stretched-out cotton balls for the foam as it crests on the seashore. Add texture to the beach on the board by sprinkling real sand on yellow strips of construction paper that have been painted with a thin coat of glue. Store playground balls in an actual hammock tacked up in a corner of the classroom. Create faux palm trees as a reading corner shelter with textured brown material for the trunks and silk palm tree or fern leaves. Include exhibits depicting beach sports and activities.
Discover Tropical Cultures
Instead of sticking to the standard palm trees and beach balls, consider a sandy decor that focuses on the rich history and culture of an exotic destination. Explore the traditions of Hawaii with beach decorations depicting seaside luaus and hula dancers. Include images of Hawaii's distinctive black and red sand beaches. Use photographs and posters of scientifically significant beaches, such as the salty, fishless Dead Sea.
Shift the focus from oceans to lakes with a classroom decor that focuses on freshwater beaches. Create lake beach notice boards with green cellophane and pale sandpaper beaches. Surround the two-dimensional shoreline with elm, oak and fir trees rather than tropical vegetation. Create displays that discuss the differences between the marine life found in saltwater and freshwater. Incorporate exhibits that depict typically-freshwater activities, such as water skiing and canoeing, to inspire discussions on waves and how they impact beaches.
Devise a classroom theme to educate children on the benefits and drawbacks faced by countries with beaches. Create displays depicting the economical benefits to communities that groom their beaches to encourage tourism. Include diagrams that weigh the economic benefit with the ecological damage done to beaches because of tourism. Put up a notice board that covers a variety of jobs where people work on beaches. Include careers such as clam diggers and lifeguards.
Discuss ecology with classroom displays depicting beaches polluted by trash and oil spills. Study units on where ocean debris and pollution come from and their effects on marine ecology and human health. Spend time focusing on how water pollutants contribute to beach closures. Mention clean up efforts under way by volunteer groups, corporations and governments, as well as who funds the efforts and how students can get involved.
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