Theme Theater – A Classroom Transformation (with COVID friendly ideas)

What better way to practice determining theme in the classroom, than by transforming your room into a movie theater?!

This transformation is a simple, cheap, and highly engaging learning experience!

The Theme Theater lesson starts with a whole group viewing of “La Luna.” You’ll watch the video together and discuss identifying the theme with evidence as a class.

Next, students view five more Pixar shorts on their own. The first time I did this, I used table cloths to divide half of my classroom into five different theaters. I had a computer set up in each “room” with the paper I needed them to fill out for that video on the table. Students rotated to each “theater” in small groups and worked together to determine the implied theme of the Pixar Shorts.

The second part of this activity takes place in the “theater lobby”. While in the theater lobby, students brainstorm a movie story line, based on a chosen theme, and then create a movie poster to advertise and illustrate their story and theme. While in the lobby, students also had a chance to visit the concession stand, in which I offered popcorn, m&ms, and a small bottle of water/juice.

You could also use this theater plan to have students plot and analyze story elements. Get the lesson plan and Google Slides I used to run this transformation lesson in my store.

Covid-Friendly Ideas

This activity can easily be done as a whole group learning experience. This year, I’ve set up the room so that it’s one big theater. My students will sit in the floor beside their desks, six feet apart, and the videos will be projected on the board.

Here are pictures from my room this year.

You could also do this as a virtual activity since the lesson is in a Google Slide.


Most of the theater was set up with red and black table cloths purchased from the Dollar Tree, hung from the ceiling and draped across the tables. I also purchased a few movie theater party decorations from Amazon. These could probably also be found at a party store, but are not mandatory for this transformation to work. Here’s an image of the decorations I used. They are linked above.

I also purchased clapboards on Amazon as theater movie labels for each station. Again, these are not mandatory.

As I stated, these decorations are in no way necessary for a successful transformation or theme activity. They could also easily be created using clip art in a powerpoint or Google Slide.

If you try this room transformation in your own classroom, I’d love to hear about it and see pictures! Happy teaching!

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