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Hello!  I apologize for the delay in posting this hit.  It's filled with
great ideas for a nautical theme.  Thanks to everyone who shared ideas (and
hints on things to avoid)!  I hope others can use them as well.


After a few years working with older students, I am getting ready to begin
at a K-9 school.  The previous LMS retired this spring, and the
administration is looking for this to be a time of change, so I want to
have some ideas ready to start the year off on the right foot.

As I've met people at this new school, several have told me "Welcome
Aboard!"  This made enough of an impact on me that I'm considering using
this as a theme in the Media Center for at least the beginning of the year.
 First I'll list what I've thought of, and if you can add any ideas, please
send them to me.  I'll compile a list and post it back to the group--the
best ideas are those that are shared!

Here's what I've thought of so far:

--WELCOME ABOARD THE GOOD SHIP ... (ideas for names?) bulletin board--use a
cruise ship shape
--Name classes by "decks"-1A, 2B, etc.
--If the school has an Ellison or similar machine with some kind of
nautical shape, cut shapes for each student to help with learning names.
What is a good way to manage this?
--Things we will do while on our "ship":
        Sail to new places and learn new things (Nonfiction)
        Have recreational time (free reading, stories, games, activities)
        "Surf" on the Internet

That's my start--not too much yet but I think it's workable.  What else
would work with this theme?  How long can I carry it through before it
becomes quirky?  Any ideas you have would be wonderful!

Thanks for your help!



It's a great idea!  How about fishing for good books?  Pelicans for
taking notes.  Pelicans filter out the water - what they don't want -
leaving the fish what they do want or the morsel of important
information for notes.  All passengers on board for a great story.  For
the little ones they will love stories like Fish is Fish.   You can have
an aquarium and you can talk about the life cycle.  You can use the real
fish and non-fiction books and picture books.  You can use ocean themes
with older students for research projects.  All the mates will have to
work together to sail the ship - a great way to introduce group work.
With older students those in grades 7-9 you can feature books like the
Voyage of the Frog,  Hostage, and the Adventures of Charlotte Conan
Doyle.  Moonshine would be great for fourth and fifth grades.

Linda, you could go to an Army Surplus Store and get a sailors cap to wear!
Maybe even get some for kids to give away as prizes through the year.  Check
with Oriental Trading Post for great (and cheap) prizes and decorations.  If
you're not familiar with them or don't have a catalog, call 1-800-228-0475
and request one.  I just looked in one and I found the following things you
might be able to use:

cotton WHITE sailor hats ($18/dz)
cotton Captain's Cap ($3.95 each)
inflatable dolphins ($15/dz)
25" inflate fish ($1.95 each)
27" inflate fish ($1.95 each)
14 ft. plastic fish lights ($6/each)
They alsohave fish nets, glass starfish, plastic sea life decorations,
tropical sticker fish stick, sun 'n fun stickers (has a sailboat mixed with
other stickers)

One neat activity would be to either use the Ellison blank bookmark dye...or
just cut some out using a posterboard cutter.  Get some ocean or ship related
stickers.  Let kids select a sticker to place on a book mark and decorate it
themselves...and write their name/grade/teacher on them.  Laminate if

Also, our kids (Pre-3) love stamps.  Find ocean/ship related stamps, colored
(and even the kind of ink that smells) stamp pad and give that as a treat
when they come to library and are well-behaved.  It's amazing the number who
want to get a stamp.

Also, if you can find someone with one...a canoe or one of those plastic
boat-shaped sandboxes or little pool.  My niece has one in the shape of a
tugboat.  The top is removable and the "boat" shaped bottom is still fine.  I
had thought about using it....but don't want to lug that thing down to the

One thing I can share (but have trouble doing myself...until aftewards) is
start small.

Maybe you could squeeze in Emily Dickinson's poem - "There is no frigate
like a book"!

Oh, isn't it fun to think of new ideas? I got so caught up in
reading scores and scheduled classes last year that I forgot the fun parts
of our job.

Over the years I have had many themes (but not a nautical one,
unfortunately). However, one of my trademarks has been the fact that I love
to make pins for our teachers. Teachers like to wear pins, especially with
their names. I have made crayons for COLOR (Celebrating Our Love Of
Reading), snowmen for a winter theme, bears for Be Excited About Reading,
etc. I have my own scroll saw so I can cut and then paint my own wooden pins
but you can also buy wooden shapes already cut out at craft stores. Would
cruise ship personnel have pins of some sort that they would wear? You could
print up some sort of job offer or contract or something like that that
would say that a teacher has been selected to be an officer on THe Good Ship
Gaylord. Include their pin and give them names like First Mate Jones, etc.

You could carry on the cruise ship theme all year or at least for a
semester, I would think. You could make it different every month by choosing
a new place or topic to visit. You could kind of be like The Magic Schoolbus
and go wherever you want!

I've always thought a train theme would be fun, too. All Aboard!

Who knows, I might copy your idea!

Nautical flags would be fun. They probably don't use them anymore but didn't
they use to send messages with different kinds and colors of flags?

Linda Kramer
Elementary-Jr. High Media Specialist
Sibley East Schools-Gaylord Campus
Gaylord, MN

Linda Kramer
Elementary-Jr. High Media Specialist
Sibley East Schools-Gaylord Campus
Gaylord, MN

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