Rain Forest Thematic Unit for 1st Grade

Rain Forest Theme Ideas:

Our rain forest theme is definitely a “fan favorite” every year with my students; they always LOVE it!  It really gets them excited about learning! Below are some ideas that I and some co-workers of mine use to decorate our rooms.

*For my birthday bulletin board, I changed it to say “Go Bananas on Your Birthday” or sometimes I change it to “Have a Banana-tastic Birthday!”  Then, I hang 12 bananas on the board, one for each month and have a little monkey up in the corner.  If you are able to make the bananas have their peels peeled down halfway, you can write students’ names on the banana peel of the banana representing their birthday month.  Otherwise, I have used other bananas before and put the students’ names on them and I have also found little monkey cutouts and put the students’ names on the monkeys and had them hanging below the bananas.

*Another bulletin board idea is to have a safari man or a tourist (whichever you prefer) looking through binoculars and the title is “Searching for Good Work” and created a jungle theme around it.

* As a class list sign, I have used a monkey themed paper and titled the list “Look Who’s Hanging Around Mrs. H’s Room” and I listed the students’ names on bananas below.  I have also used that same concept and wrote the students’ names on vines and had little monkeys hanging from the vines.  It takes up a little bit more space, but it looks really cute.

* I take either recycled brown bags from the grocery store or brown butcher paper and roll it up to make vines and I hang them from the ceiling -I poke holes in the paper and string fishing wire and attach that to paper clips then slide the paper clips through the plastic framing of the ceiling tiles.  If your school has motion detectors as part of their security system, you can avoid swinging vines  by simply attaching the vines close to the ceiling and not using so much fishing wire that they hang and are able to swing when the air conditioner kicks on.  I also use green construction paper and cut leaves out and attach those to the vines as well as silk flowers from the Dollar Store to make the vines look more realistic.  This really helps to transform the room and engages the students in anything rain forest related!

* I also use the same brown paper and staple it to a bulletin board to make the trunk of a tree.  First I ball it up to wrinkle it and cut it out in a long rectangular shape.  Then, I staple along one side all the way up- just one staple every few inches is perfect.  Then, to attach the other side, I “fluff” the paper to make it 3D and roll the edges under and try to hide the staple as best as possible.  Then, I cut out green butcher paper to make it look like leaves and attach that to the top.  I use brown paper grocery bags and roll them up to make small vines to attach to the tree and I label them “lianas.”  I also label the different layers of the rain forest.  Then, I have my students color some of the different animals of the rain forest and label the pictures with the animal names and in which layer(s) you can find them and I attach them to the appropriate layers of the tree.  This makes a great visual for the students to refer back to when learning about the layers of the rain forest and which animals live there.

* I have also changed my “Classroom Helpers” sign to say “Hopping Helpers” and I used the die-cut machine to cut out little frogs with the students names on them and have the frogs sitting on lily pads that say the job titles.

* You could change the class schedule sign to say “Get into the swing of things” or “Swinging through our schedule” and have a little monkey swinging on a vine as the graphic.