Ocean Classroom Theme

New School Year, New Room Theme!

While I still love Harry Potter, I also love to decorate and I couldn't wait to start planning out a new theme! While this room isn't as over the top as my previous Hogwarts classroom. I like it even more and I have the Lilly Pulitzer wardrobe of octopus and jellyfish dresses to match. 
Enjoy the tour!

 I copied this wall from a picture I saw on pinterest. The blue pieces are strips of plastic table cloths. The seaweed is made from stringing fishing line through paper cone cups that I spray painted lime green.
 My students made the "coral" from paper cone cups and from a mixture of tissue paper and dyed coffee filters. 
 I used glue dots to stick everything up on the wall and to add the fish onto the tablecloths. 
 
       The kelp forest is also made from plastic tablecloths. I added some silver cupcake liners randomly to look like barnacles. The sunken ship is just cut out from black bulletin board paper. 
I don't have teams and points this year. Instead students earn gold coins. When they collect enough they can open the treasure chest. I change out the number of coins it takes to open the chest and what is inside each time it is opened.


Most of the decorations I got this year came from Party City and Dollar Tree. I brought back a whole suitcase full of stuff I bought when I was in the US this summer. I have to admit it was nice to not have to make everything by hand this year! 
 I did still make a few things myself. I made this whale out of cardboard and used the cone paper cups to make barnacles. It's hanging from the ceiling using fishing line. I got the idea from something I saw in an Anthropologie store window display. I also added blue paper behind the cabinets to give them a pop of color.

 I still have a few leftover bottles and miscellaneous stuff around from my Harry Potter room, but most of it I gave away to my students last year.

 I left that wall mostly blank because it doubles as my projector screen. Whenever I need it, I just hook the ceiling decorations on each other to move them out of the way.


 The streamer ceiling took the longest to complete, but turned out beautiful so it was worth it!




















22 comments:

  1. Your ocean themed classroom look adorable and beautiful!!!! But what did you do with you HP stuff?

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    1. I gave it all away to my students at the end of the year and they used it to decorate their bedrooms. I know that sounds crazy, but by the time I'm ready to do another Harry Potter themed classroom, I'll probably be teaching in a different country. I can't take decorations with me, so when I'm done with something I just give it away.

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  2. Hi Ashley,

    How did you do everything in the last few pictures? The shadows of the turtles?

    Thanks!
    Sophie

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    1. Hi Sophie,
      I hung up blue plastic table cloths from the ceiling tiles with paperclips. For the turtles, I used my projector to trace pictures of turtles onto black bulletin board paper (google images "sea turtle silhouette"). To make your life easier, just layer a couple pieces of black paper, so you can cut out a few turtles at a time. Then I cut them out and put them in the loops I had hung from the ceiling (they stayed in place without tape or anything). Some of the loops had ceiling lights behind them so it created that nice halo effect. I even printed out a few little Squirt pictures from "Finding Nemo" onto dark colored printer paper and cut them out. I bought the shiny hanging spirals from Party City and put them up for some added color.

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  3. The decorations are beautiful and I like how you use everyday, inexpensive items. How did you cut the plastic table clothes to make the kelp? I like the dimension of it.

    Thanks,
    Julie

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    1. Hi Julie, For the kelp I cut the tablecloths into wide strips and then cut diagonal notches into one side and then on the other side also did diagonal notches going the same direction, but spaced then in between the notches on the other side. You want to get a zip zag effect, instead of a V. If you look up google images of "plastic tablecloth vines" you will get some nice pictures that show what I'm trying to explain. Thank you for such nice feedback!

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  4. Thanks for this answer & google search - LOVE your inexpensive materials - I was able to set up a coupe of rooms at our church for under $15 (with leftovers for others) and just a couple of hours!

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  5. I love your ideas! And the whale is sooo neat! I often use an ocean theme so it will be great to freshen it up. Your room looks so neat and organized too. You must be an organized and clutter free!

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    1. Thank you Susannah, I got the whale idea from an Anthropologie display I saw. I do love a neat and open classroom!

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  6. How many table cloths did you purchase for the strips on the back wall and how many for the kelp strands?

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    1. Hi Molly, I bought 6 aqua/ 6 dark blue for the back wall and for the ceiling in the hallways. I also got 5 dark green and 5 light green for the kelp forest. More is always better with the kelp so that it looks nice and thick like a forest!

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  7. How did you make the turtles and the thing holding it over your light? What did you use?

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    1. I just used blue plastic table cloths that I cut into squares. For the turtles, I traced an outline of them onto bulletin board paper using a projector. I hung them up using paperclips. Super easy and cheap project, but really looked cool! I even printed out an outline of Squirt from the movie "Finding Nemo" and included him up there too.

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  8. Hi Ashley! I absolutely love the way you decorated your classroom for the ocean theme. I'll actually be doing a unit on ocean as well with my group of kindergarten students and started doing research and came across your blog! I'm so glad I did. :)

    I was wondering how did you keep the table cloth in place? From the images it looks like you cut strips into the tablecloth, but not all the way. And did you have issues with table cloth being so close to the ceiling lights? I have this fear that the paper/tablecloth will catch on fire! And if you could elaborate on how you hung the tablecloths using paperclips, that would be greatly appreciated. I'm having a hard time understanding how you did it!

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    1. Hi Sajia,
      I'm glad you liked my blog. I used paperclips to attach the plastic tablecloths to the ceiling tiles. I open the clips so that the two hooks are at a 90 degree right angle and then stick one of the hooks under the ceiling tile and use the other hook to attach the tablecloth. Also, if your school has a tile ceiling, you can also buy strong magnetic hooks that you can attach to the metal frame of the drop ceiling. I used those and fishing line to attach the streamers in my classroom.

      The tablecloths were dipped down where the lights were so that they weren't too close. Our hallway lights were LED, so they didn't generate much heat and there was plenty of ventilation. I had the decorations up in the hallway for four months with no problems, but if you're concerned, just check on the decorations throughout the first day to see if they are getting hot.

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  9. Thank-you so much Ashley! I look forward to keeping up with your posts. You have great ideas :).

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  10. How did you hang the streamers?

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    1. I used fishing line and heavy duty magnetic ceiling hooks. I had three rows of fishing line on the ceiling if you look. I used half opened paperclips to hold up the fishing line where it sagged and ran the fishing line tight between two hooks. The easiest way to get the streamers done is to first place two student chairs as far apart as you want the streamers on the ceiling and tape one end of streamer to a chair then just wind the streamer around the chairs walking back and forth in a big circle around them. When you get to the end of the streamer, just attach the next one to the end and keep going till you have all the streamers wrapped like a necklace between the chairs. Then you just thread the fishing line through the middle of the streamer necklace and separate the layers and add paperclips where needed to hold up the fishing line where it gets weighed down so it doesn't all bunch together. Hopefully I explained that okay. It's easier to set the streamers up on the ground and then lift the whole thing up than it is to try to thread them back and forth when they are on the ceiling.

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  11. This is so charming!!! Thank you very much for posting. I am going to do something like that with my small children. I am really interested in your treasure chest. What kind of treasure was hidden there and how often? How does it work? Thank you for your answer.

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  12. I put all kinds of treats like candy, gel pens, animal erasers, unopened McDonald's toys, and other little party favor inside. I had fake gold plastic pirate coins that I would give out to the kids for doing well on test, or for helping out around the classroom. It cost them 5 coins to open the chest and choose a prize. So they had to save up. Normally I'd give the students at least one opportunity to earn a coin a day, so that by Friday they would be able to open the chest if they had a good week.

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  13. hi i loved your decor.

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  14. This is awesome, our final unit for the school year is Ocean. I am using some of your amazing ideas, what an inspiration for the children to feel their classroom have become the ocean. Thank you for sharing all your creativity.

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