Rock climbing is growing in popularity as a sport. Have you thought of it for a classroom theme?
Trend’s Give Someone a Hand poster can set the mood for a theme focusing on cooperation and collaboration — important 21st century skills — as well as excellence and achievement, which are timeless.
There are lots of motivational posters using images of rock climbing, or you can make your own at Big Huge Labs Motivator. You can upload pictures and write your own motivational sayings.Why not fake some mountain climbing or rock-climbing pictures with students, make motivational posters, and print them out for your bulletin board? Coming up with the slogans can be a good writing assignment for the class.
Some ideas for sayings for your bulletin board:
- “Our Class Rocks”
- “Climbing Toward Knowledge”
- “On Our Way Up!”
- “Climbing Higher”
- “Climbing Toward Our Goals”
- “Knowledge is Power”
- “Reaching for the Zenith”
A new game from Mind360 uses a climbing theme: Climbing Right involves quick perception and decision making, as well as use of the keyboard. Set it up in your computer center for a great way to start out the year and make sure everyone is comfortable with the computer. Take time to check out all their offerings!
Now, Climbing Right is based on quick (but not too quick) recognition of and response to visual input. It has fun graphics — when you win, the climber dances on the mountain top. If you happen to have some bouldering experts, though, consider Gunther’s Big Day, a climbing game which can be played either by actually knowing the best choices for Gunther to make, or by remembering the precise order of moves from previous attempts. Never made it past the free demo, myself, but climbers tell me it’s a great game.
A PDF file from Eagle Bluff includes rock climbing vocabulary. .
Alphabet Climbing Holds would be a lot of fun for a kindergarten classroom. The first link gives you the rounded holds shown above, which are probably better from the point of view of actual climbing, but you can also get letter-shaped climbing holds. Bolt them to your wall or to a sheet of plywood to create a low, angled climbing wall for the classroom or playground. If you get the school behind you, recruit some parent volunteers and build a real climbing wall.
Students who can already read would still enjoy using the wall, of course, but we’d make an alphabetical wall for emergent readers and encourage them to climb it using the holds in alphabetical order, reciting the alphabet while they climb, and then as they progress, to recognize and name letters as they use them for climbing.
Less hard core? Start instead with a writing activity a colleague shared with me.
Give each student a piece of candy. Go with non-identical ones, and for a rock climbing theme Chocolate Rocks are perfect. Have students take time to experience their candies and have them write about them, using as many senses as possible.
Geography and geology are natural connections with a rock-climbing theme, as are ideas about goals and character. Perseverance and the satisfaction of working hard to achieve a goal are lessons that work well with rock climbing. Since climbers have a spotter, this is also a good time for lessons on encouraging one another, and on safety.
Whether your lesson includes any actual climbing or not, it’s an opportunity to remind students of the importance of physical exercise, too.