I love a little sprinkle of Disney to follow me wherever I go–but keep it subtle. Here are some fun ways to bring Disney magic into your classroom without having a “Disney themed” classroom.
1. Inspiration Wall featuring Disney characters.
I am a Special Education teacher. I see my students make connections with their environment when information is built upon things that are familiar, and things they prefer. And really, isn’t this true for all students? For all of us? I use a lot of environmental print in my classroom and I don’t consider Disney characters to be any different! My kiddos likely won’t notice or connect with a cute poster of grade level standards, or an inspirational quote, but they will notice their favorite character on the wall! When students (especially students with severe disabilities) take notice of things in their classroom it creates a tie that signals belonging and ownership of their place of learning. It also serves as a foundation for building new knowledge.
2. Hidden Disney in Daily Slides.
This is fun for me and my kids. I love to hide things like Sleeping Beauty’s Castle in Disneyland or a Mickey firework burst in the window of my bitmoji classroom. It isn’t even something I mention to my students, but I have a lot of fun putting it together and I love it when my students (or even my staff) take notice!
3. Disney-themed Token Boards
As I said before, I’m a Special Ed teacher. In my classroom, we live the token board life. I love the little boost in student engagement I see when I customize their token board to have their favorite characters. This presents an opportunity to build communication skills too! Students can verbalize, choose, or use a communication device to specify which character they are earning next, or even tell you something to describe that character. You could even work in WH questions with each token without making it seem like work: “Who is this?” “Who are his friends?” “What movie is he in?” “Where does he live”?” etc.
4. Disney Instrumentals Playlist
This is definitely my favorite way to use Disney in the classroom. I love all of the musical scores from classic Disney animated films and as it turns out, they make excellent background music for the classroom. I have a playlist on Spotify that I’ve added to through the years. I only choose songs without lyrics so they aren’t too distracting, just enough to add to the ambience without being distracting or inciting an all-out dance party. I usually use this playlist when students are at their seats working on a Friday art project, or having quiet free-play time in the afternoon. Playing music in the classroom is soothing, stimulates the brain, and can be used for a variety of functional purposes such as training students to regulate their volume. My students love this playlist, it makes working fun and it makes your classroom feel like Disneyland. That’s a win-win.