Rock & roll makes a fun classroom theme, with some surprisingly serious lesson opportunities. It’s one of the easiest things to pull together, too.
There’s a School Rocks! Bulletin Board from Teacher’s Friend with a banner saying “Our Class Rocks!”
There are lots of pieces, and it can fit your door, across the top of the whiteboard, or on a bulletin board equally well.
Teacher Created Resources School Rocks Bulletin Board has a juke box and guitar cutouts.
What’s more, there are few subjects for which it’s so easy to find posters.
Ask around or search your own attic or garage, and you can probably find some old rock concert posters to decorate the walls. Some teachers like to go with a ’50s or ’60s look for rock music themes, but you can let this choice be dictated by how much vintage stuff you can find by scrounging around in your friends’ or your parents’ storage areas. After all, rock music has been around for over half a century, so there’s no need to limit yourself to one rock era.
Making rock band posters is a fun project, too — let students create posters of themselves or their imaginary bands at Canva or by hand to add to the look of the room.
Bulletin board slogans for a rock theme couldn’t be easier. Just put something in the blank: “______ Rocks!” School, math, our class, books, Grade 5 — anything.
Hang old CDs or vinyl records from the ceiling. A 12-Pack Inflatable Rock Star Electric Guitars is another 3-D option. Any space left? Borders, stickers, die cuts, and so on with musical notes and musical instruments are readily available to round out the look.
Get some books onto your library table:
- Pigs Rock “Pigs rock. Pigs Roll. Pigs sing with heart and soul,” begins this rollicking book. The same rhythmic pattern is preserved throughout the pigs’ zany adventure, so you can practice the whole book as a group chant. The pictures are very fun, and filled with simple shapes, especially circles, so you can get some shapes into the lesson for kindergartners.
- Arthur, It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll is a book from Marc Brown’s Arthur series. It’s about selling out, and the lure of riches and fame. So few children’s books really examine this topic… Arthur Rocks with BINKY, a chapter book from the same series, focuses on friendship.
- Rock ‘n’ Roll Dogs, companion volume to the award-winning Jazz Cats, is a brisk rhyming story about a place where dogs can get down.
- Rock ‘n Roll Camp for Girls: How to Start a Band, Write Songs, Record an Album, and Rock Out! is the book that grew out of the real-world Rock ‘n’ Roll Camp for Girls, a confidence-building camp that has done some amazing things.
- Hip Hop Speaks to Children with CD: A Celebration of Poetry with a Beat from Nikki Giovanni
- Pay the Piper: A Rock ‘n’ Roll Fairy Tale by Jane Yolen is a riff on The Pied Piper. Others in the series are Troll Bridge: A Rock’n’ Roll Fairy Tale and Boots and the Seven Leaguers: A Rock-and-Troll Novel.
- For secondary students, consider Sweet Nothings: An Anthology of Rock and Roll in American Poetry. It’s a common complaint that people no longer read poetry, but people do listen to, discuss, and think about the lyrics of contemporary music. Reach reluctant readers, too.
You’ll need some music, obviously. You may bring your own MP3s in, but you might prefer music specifically for kids. Here are some excellent choices:
- Rock & Roll Playground by Putamayo Kids
- Best of Schoolhouse Rock We’re amazed how many adults wax nostalgic over Schoolhouse Rock. These songs still teach kids important concepts in a fun way.
- I Got Shoes from a capella women’s group Sweet Honey in the Rock
- Car Tunes from kids’ rockers Sugar Beats. Another of theirs is Sugar Beats: How Sweet It Is – Fresh Versions of Retro Pop for Kids
- Kids In Action by Greg and Steve, designed to get kids up and moving
- Big Trouble, by Trout Fishing in America. Visit their website (click their name) to find lots of music, coloring pages, lesson plans, and more.
Here are some online resources:
- Use Poster My Wall’s online tools to make student photos into concert posters.
- The American Music History Institute has a lesson plan about the birth of rock ‘n’ roll that can start your classroom off right.
- The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has a collection of lesson plans.
Greet students with some choice music when they arrive, and enjoy your rock’n’roll theme.