Testing season is the best time to put together all of the skills taught throughout the year to create meaningful review lessons and activities. For the past two years, I’ve hosted a boot camp classroom transformation the week right before state testing. Y’all, IT IS A HIT. The best part? You can prepare your room for state testing at the same time.
boot camp Supplies and materials
Classroom transformations are a great way to prepare the room for state testing, since we need to cover the walls anyway! For this boot camp classroom transformation, I cover the walls with “military-themed” paper— AKA butcher paper.
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–Army Drawstring Bag (Pack of 12)
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*Buckets are from Walmart & Dollar Tree
I provide each student with a boot camp “Mission Folder” and badge for the week. They place any completed assignments inside their folder.
Preparing the Missions
I create “missions” for each week. Each mission focuses on a specific skill or strategy that we have already learned throughout the school year.
Included in each mission is some kind of hands-on activity. For example, Mission One might be a text structure short while Mission Two might be answering sequencing task cards scattered across the room.
I divide each day of the week into four missions, so my final preparation is to divide the students into four groups.
How It Works
When looking at the rotations above, you can see that this boot camp classroom transformation is essentially literacy centers with a fun twist.
Each group has an assigned mission as a starting point. Once they have completed that mission and I’ve checked their work, they each earn a star for their individual badges and are able to move on to the next mission.
(The “star” is really just a star sticker, but oh man do they get excited about that sticker! Yes, even fourth graders get excited about stickers.)
You might also notice in the image above that day two was focused on whole-group missions. Some days might not consist of four missions or groups, but students can still be rewarded for whole-group mission completion.
You do NOT have to go out of your way to create something extremely over-the-top for each mission. Remember, you will be prepping a lot of activities ahead of time so you don’t want to overwhelm yourself. I just tried to add a little “flair” to each activity so that it was a bit more hands-on than a worksheet.
For example, I used these text structure task cards from Rachel Lynett on TPT and created these charts with the text structures written on them. Instead of just having the students choose the multiple choice answer, they used tape to sort the passages based on their text structure.
Testing boot camp is definitely a fun and easy way to review with your students right before state testing!
If you’re looking for additional classroom transformation ideas, check out my posts all about writing construction week or text feature surgery. Your students will love them!