A dragon theme for the classroom can be a lot of fun, but it also requires some creativity. There are not many dragon themed items available ready-made.
Trend’s dragon banner is one of the few. Its message — “No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted” — is a good starting point for a character lesson or an introduction to classroom rules. This quote from Aesop can also kick off a study of fables, an author study of Aesop, or a look at world literature.
Dragons: A Book of Designs is a collection of dragon pictures that you might like to use for your bulletin boards. You can also find a lot of great dragons in the Dover Dragons Coloring Book . If you teach middle school, you may have someone in your class who loves to draw dragons. You will also find plenty of pictures of dragons in your library. The book Dragonology: The Complete Book of Dragons by Ernest Drake and Dugald Steer is a favorite of mine.
Fire up the old overhead projector, tape some bulletin board paper to the wall, project the image onto the paper, and trace around it. Color, cut out, laminate, and store your creation in a safe place.
Alternatively, have students mark off a grid on an image and then measure and mark off a larger grid on paper. If they carefully copy the contents of each small square into the corresponding large square, they will get a fine big dragon. This classic method of copying allows you to make some math points, and the kids will enjoy making the dragons.
Once you have your dragons, you can fill in with general medieval decorations.
Teacher’s Friend does fancy crowns that can make every kid in the room feel like a member of the royal family.
Fleur de Lis will give you the basic information you need to help students make shields and banners to jazz up your dragon-themed room. At Owl and Mouse you will find free software and instructions for using it, perfect for your computer center.
A table of dragon books will set the mood. Here are just a few to consider:
- Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher, by Bruce Coville
- The Knight and the Dragon, by Tomie de Paola
- Dealing with Dragons, by Patricia Wrede. This is part of a series.
- Saint George and the Dragon, by Margaret Hodges
- My Father’s Dragon, by Ruth Stiles Gannet. This one has a TCR lit unit to go along with it.
- The Dragon Slayers’ Academy series by Kate McMullan
- How to Train Your Dragon Book 1 by Cressida Cowell
- Dragon’s Gate, by Lawrence Yep
- Dragon Rider, by Cornelia Funke
- Eragon, by Christopher Paolini
Whether you set your room up to look like a dragon’s lair or have students join you in doing so, you might want to have a dragon lesson or two in mind.
- Since dragons are found in mythology around the world and throughout history, this is a great topic for a study of continents or for starting your classroom Timeline . A Venn diagram comparing the traditional Chinese dragon with the English one (as in the story of St. George and the Dragon) can be a very interesting lesson.
- Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi is an excellent picture book, part of a series of books on geometry featuring Sir Cumference and his friends and family. This is a great introduction to the concept of pi for young students, or an attention-grabbing intro to a more complex lesson for the older ones.
- Science in School offers instructions for making an ancient Chinese dragon seismograph.
- Here is a brief and fanciful introduction to draconology that suggests some chemical explanations for dragons. This could be a fun way to start chemistry class!
- Incredible Art has directions for a Chinese dragon puppet. I’ve made similar ones for Western dragons as well. I like to cut segments for the parts of the dragon’s body and connect them with brads for movement.
- Activity Village has a bunch of fun dragon ideas, plus printable coloring pages and puzzles.
- Here is a very thorough collection of lessons for Bruce Coville’s book The Dragonslayers.
Bring some dragons in to play with, too: