When I say themes I mean all kinds. I mean the universal themes of life, but I also mean themes as in birthday party themes. Anything that ties together the lesson and goals, I consider a possible theme for the day or unit or week. They can be extreme, but sometimes they are as simple as playing a song before the bell rings that inconspicuously ties into your objective. If you're still wondering what I mean by themes, see my classroom post on The McGordon Games. That's the theme we're currently using in class.
Besides our McGordon Games theme, another one of my favorites is when we're studying clauses in grammar. Nathan Garvin had a great presentation that used a good looking Santa Claus and a really depressed looking Santa to help explain the different types of clauses in grammar. The lesson used these Santas to represent independent and dependent clauses. I loved it, so we've continued to use the Santa theme over the years, adding to it as we go. We'll play music as they enter for the day, we'll dress up, we'll watch a dumb YouTube video, we'll practice with an activity I call "Ho! Ho! Ho! or No! No! No!", etc.
This post is titled "Spotify Your Classroom" because I believe Spotify can really help add to your classroom atmosphere and themes. If you've never heard of Spotify, check it out here. I use Spotify every day. Again, my partner in crime, Nathan, introduced it to me and said that he allowed each class to submit songs for a class playlist. Highly recommend that! They love it. I usually have students submit mellow (clean!) songs through Google Classroom for a writing playlist. As we're writing during the year, we can listen to songs they enjoy.
Once I started using it for a class playlist, like Nathan suggested, the ideas just started rolling. I have tons of playlists now for whatever the theme of the day or week or lesson is. The playlist might just have one song, or it might be a slew of songs. Either way I can easily click on the playlist at anytime during the class. Here are just a few of my playlists:
7th Grade ELAR
*This post is the author's sole opinion and is in no way affiliated with Spotify.