I love teaching and planning with themes. It can bring a focus and motivation to the students learning and result in great cross-curricular integration.
As a new special needs teacher working with students with Moderate and Severe General Learning Disabilities, I suddenly found my previous classroom themes no longer useful and relevant to my students. For example, my students would not be able to engage with more abstract concepts like pirates, outer space, Olympics and dinosaurs. However, each class is different with unique students with a range of interests, and you may find some students who can engage with those more abstract themes. I kept my classroom themes and topics very basic and tangible, and if a student had a special interest I would work it into the theme (Pigs – if they enjoy Peppa Pig, Transport – if they enjoy Thomas the Tank Engine).
I also tend to arrange my themes around the calendar and work with seasons and important dates. Below are month by month themes for a special needs classroom, arranged in the Northern hemisphere school year: Sep – August (Ireland, UK) and then the Southern hemisphere school year: Jan – Dec (Australia).