I always like to go “all out” during the holidays for my students. Transforming your classroom is the easiest way to create a magical day for your students to remember forever. In the past, I used the Polar Express theme for the holidays, but this year I looped up with several of my students from kindergarten to first grade, so I wanted to change my theme to provide a different experience. I thought about Frozen or Winter Wonder Land, but when I thought about making my classroom into a Movie Theater, it felt perfect! I could incorporate any movie with the props that I would design or get donated this year and save for future years. The first thing I did was have my students brainstorm ideas for a holiday movie they
would like to watch. They decided on classic holiday movies, like Rudolph, Frosty and The Muppets. The Muppet’s Christmas Carol was a great fit for the day. I then found a version of the story on YouTube to show the students the day before of movie day. I use the story to compare and contrast the story to the movie.
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I asked parents to for donations by sending a letter home. They donated boxes of various large boxed candies, water bottles wrapped in movie themed labels, and plastic popcorn holders for the movie theater concession stand. Our PTA let us borrow the popcorn maker they use at their events, and donated the popcorn.
I called the local movie theater, a local beverage distributor and several sign companies to donate props for the inside and outside of the room for the day. They all easily said yes. Just a phone call sometimes will work. I had one parent agree to help decorate the day prior to the PJs at the Movies Day. Students always like to wear their pajamas to school, so I wanted to incorporate it. Decorating took about 4 hours. Of course you can skip several decoration ideas to make it less time consuming. We used red bulletin board paper around the movie screen to look like a curtain, but then found cheap red plastic table clothes worked better. We tied fishing line from the ceiling to hold them up. The sign companies donated static window clings to stick to the windows which looked like movie posters, banners to hang in the classroom and Hollywood movie starts for the ground. We used clear contact paper to write student’s names on and stuck the names on the stars in order to be able to peel them off and reuse them next year.
A parent donated PVC pipes they painted black with a base on the bottom to use and make an aisle. The students loved waiting in line at the window (Ticket Booth) to get their ticket. You can make tickets or just buy them from Oriental Trading. I bought a huge roll and use them all the time for other activities. I also found a backdrop, camera center piece, gold starts to hang and a red carpet to roll out on-line for minimal cost. At the “ticket booth” students are asked how they are going to pay for the ticket. I quickly suggest something I see in their hands, like a backpack, folder or their shoe. This takes about 10 minutes and provides photo opportunities for the parents.
A couple weeks prior to the PJs at the Movies Day, I had students work to create Bios for our Movie Star Bulletin Board. It made a nice addition to the theme, and we could leave the bulletin up for January also. You can find the free Bio Sheet at my TPT store.
Students wore pajamas, brought a stuffed animal, blanket and enjoyed the movie with a concession/bathroom break. After the movie we did a Venn diagram of the book and the movie to compare them. One student said, “This is the best day of my life!” at the end of the day. It made all the hard work worth it!