Unicorns make us think of specialness, so they can make a great classroom theme.
Scholastic makes a unicorn bulletin board:
This set uses the slogan, “We are all stars,” but you might choose another approach:
- We are unique!
- We are all special!
- Just be yourself!
- Don’t be afraid to stand out from the herd
- Unique as a Unicorn
Connecting stars and rainbows with unicorns makes it easy to find classroom decorations ready-made.
Add some unicorn books to your reading corner.
We found a preschool or kindergarten picture book, I’m a Unicorn by Mallory Loehr. This is a self-description by a little unicorn, including traditions like the fierce yet gentle nature of the unicorn and the ability of unicorn horns to heal illness. There’s not much of a plot, but the book ends with the unicorn asking, “Do you believe in me? I believe in you!” This makes the book a good choice for the “We are all special” message of a unicorn theme.
These are classics of fantasy:
- The Last Unicorn by Peter Beagle
- The Neverending Story by Michael Ende
- The Princess Bride by William Goldman
Fantasy is the right genre for unicorns, because they are imaginary beasts.
Pliny, an ancient Roman writer, described unicorns like this:
The unicorn is the fiercest animal, and it is said that it is impossible to capture one alive. It has the body of a horse, the head of a stag, the feet of an elephant, the tail of a boar, and a single black horn three feet long in the middle of its forehead. Its cry is a deep bellow.
Have students draw a creature based on this description, without telling them that it is a unicorn. Their drawings might look more like a rhinoceros than a unicorn, and that might be what Pliny had heard about.
From the Middle Ages on, unicorns have been imagined as white horses with one horn.
Narwhals, sea creatures with a single horn, might also have been the inspiration for the story of the unicorn. Certainly, narwhal horns were often sold as unicorn horns.
If you decide to bring some unicorn study into your classroom, here are some ideas:
- Challenge students to name something special or unique about themselves. Add their special qualities to the bulletin board.
- Use a unicorn headband for class pictures.
- Unicorns have been showing up in fine art since the Middle Ages. See some examples at ArtNews.
- Use the story of the unicorn as a starting point for a discussion of real and imaginary stories. How do we know that rhinoceri and narwhals are real but unicorns are not?
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