Have you considered an classroom theme inspired by the books from Eric Carle, but you are having trouble figuring out how to put all of the pieces altogether?
Over the years, my classroom decor skills have definitely improved. I remember getting into my first classroom 9 years ago. The walls were bare, and I was sooo thrilled and overwhelmed. Each bulletin board had a different color (red, yellow, and blue) and it was like a primary art palette threw up all over the place! Granted, I was hired 2 weeks before the school year started and it was my first year, so I was way in over my head those first few weeks. Since then, I take a little more time to prepare and think about what I would like to do with my theme and beginning planning months in advance. Then, when it’s time to beginning getting ready for the following school year, I go in with a plan!
*This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.
Are you willing to get creative?
I’m not going to lie. This Eric Carle classroom theme was difficult to find things for, but it was so much fun to create! I definitely got to get some of my creativity flowing on this one. Hopefully this will save you some time looking for those one of a kind resources to make your classroom warm and inviting.
I purchased the graphics for these animals on the lockers online and printed them to the size I wanted (5×7). But, for the love of me I can’t find where. Perhaps the seller removed them…Anyway, there are some cut outs available in different sizes through Oriental Trading here that I considered, but I didn’t want to pay shipping for only one item. They also have other items and decorations if you’re interested in going more in the direction of a Very Hungry Caterpillar theme. But, if you’re looking to think outside the box, there are several websites if you type in “Eric Carle clip art” that provide images you can save and print to whatever size you’d like.
How to Paint your own Mr. Sun
This is one of the projects I’m most proud of. Above my classroom door is a digital clock. In second grade, we learn how to tell time down to the minute. We cover the clock to get used to telling time on an analog one. So, as a creative way to cover my digital clock, I painted this Mr. Sun. I found the tutorial on Pinterest from If You Give a Teacher a Blog, which you can find here.
Let’s talk about Math
For my Math Talk board, I printed labels for cardinal numbers (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, etc.), ordinal numbers (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, etc.), and base 10 blocks (hundreds, tens, ones) to record how many days we’ve been in school. Then I glued them onto the Eric Carle nameplates.
I bought 2 packs of Carson Dellosa Eric Carle Dots Nameplates (122026) to use for students names, of course. I also use them for labels around my classroom (i.e. library and folder tubs, grade basket, daily schedule, and center basket labels). You could order them through the Carson Dellosa website if you’re not a fan of Amazon. However, if you have Amazon Prime, it’s free shipping with an order over $25 (click on the link above). They’re an add-on item, but it’s not hard to spend that on Amazon, right?!
We currently use the Saxon Math curriculum and are looking into changing math programs. So who knows what my math board will look like next year.
The yellow posters are what come with the program. The other colored posters are ones I created by printing text onto a colored piece of paper. I put a smaller white rectangle in the middle and laminated them. There are posters for money, the number of the day with 10 more, 10 less, 100 more and 100 less, time, fractions, fact families, and to chart and graph temperature.
What are we learning today?
For the large letters on all of my boards, I created the letters myself in PowerPoint. Then, I printed them to fit the size of the board I was displaying them on. The objectives are from Learning in Wonderland. I love that she has lots of different options for colors to match any theme, not just for my Eric Carle classroom theme. So, you can use them year after year. I purchased the mega bundle, which comes with editable learning objectives, focus wall, parts of speech posters, classroom calendar set, and center signs.
Around the room I also have The Very Hungry Caterpillar 45th Anniversary Cut-Outs. They were fun little additions to tie the whole Eric Carle classroom theme altogether. I attached them to the bulletin board letters or other posters around the room to make it more fun and interesting.
This is my focus wall for reading, which is one of the things we are required to have by our district. We have Reading Street for our curriculum. A co-worker of mine found units on Teachers Pay Teachers to match all of our stories and printed them for us.
A Very Hungry Caterpillar
I created this very hungry caterpillar using tissue paper pom poms from Dollar Tree (see the bottom of the post). I hot glued the border and the caterpillar to the cinder block walls. It’s the only way I can get anything to stay up longer than a hot minute! The hot glue peels off without ruining the walls too. I would not recommend this technique for walls with drywall. But how cute is he, and how easy to do to make a big difference in the feel of your classroom!
I got the caterpillar border from the teacher store and the brown bordette here. One roll of the brown went around every bulletin board in my whole classroom, as well as the outside of my whiteboard for a finished look.
This writing display is for anchor charts, strategies to help students learn the writing process, and writing goals. The banner is from Somewhere in Second on TpT. This one is free and there are others. You can search “writing banners” and free to find them. I like that this one has student reminders on it.
You can find the red bordette border here. I layered the caterpillar and polka dot borders with two different colors of bordette. It adds a little more interest, and even though the bordette is relatively inexpensive, I reused it from last year’s theme. The great thing about the Eric Carle classroom theme is that is has nearly every color in it. So if you wanted to do blue and green border or mix and match other colors, you could for a unique design.
Eric Carle classroom theme calendar
For the calendar and focus board, I put some green paper on the background to look like hills. The background paper is all fade resistant paper. Black paper matches any color theme and allows you to place bright pops of color without it being too overwhelming. Plus, you can reuse it for a few years. What a time saver! The days of the week, months of the year, and other posters came from Learning in Wonderland, who I mentioned earlier. This is a great resource to use for years to come, no matter what theme you plan on doing!
Well, that completes my tour. Thank you for taking the time to join me!