A Step-By-Step Guide to Planning Your First Classroom Transformation!
Classroom transformations are a fun and creative way to get students engaged in their learning. You can set an exciting learning environment for your students with the use of fun props and themed-decorations. Your kiddos feel like they are walking into a magical new place the morning of a transformation. They’re eager to find out what activities are planned for the day!
You might have seen a beautiful classroom transformation on Pinterest and thought to yourself, “Wow, that looks AMAZING, but it also looks like a ton of work to set up!”. Well, i’m here to tell you that classroom transformations don’t have to be elaborate, expensive, and a ton of work to prep for.
How to Plan a Classroom Transformation:
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Decide What Content Your Students Would Benefit From:
Classroom transformations are most beneficial when they target rigorous content. Since room transformations do require some prep and extra effort, I like to make sure that my efforts are going to benefit my learners. The goal is to be intentional and think of which experiences will truly foster academic growth. If I see my students are struggling with a skill or need extra motivation with a specific topic, then that’s how I know a classroom transformation might be a good idea!
When teaching third grade, I noticed that fractions was always the most challenging topic. An ice cream-themed fraction classroom transformation was the perfect way to review third grade fraction standards.
Choose a Classroom Transformation Theme and Activities:
Then, decide how you can incorporate a theme with the content you are planning to review. Do you have a class full of sports lovers? A football-themed transformation might be a good idea! Are you working on building tricky grammar skills? A construction site transformation is a fun way to ‘rebuild’ grammar.
How to Choose a Classroom Transformation Theme:
-Events currently going on (Super Bowl, Olympics, World Series, etc.)
-Movies / Books / Games your students love
Find Items to Use for the Transformation (without spending a ton money!):
Teachers are very underpaid. (I think we can all agree with that) The last thing we need is to spend $100 setting up a themed day for our students. Although we love our kiddos, we also love having money in the bank. haha
Use Butcher Paper: Butcher paper goes a looooong way. I use butcher paper for everything! It can be used to cover tables, walls, and create paper decorations (like the ice cream cones in my Fraction Ice Cream Transformation).
Create a Wish List: Let classroom parents know about your classroom transformation plans and send home a link to your Amazon wishlist. You’ll be surprised to see how many parents would love to contribute to an exciting educational day for their child.
Invest in Items You can Reuse: If you are going to spend money on items for your transformation (or add to your wishlist), make sure they are items that can be used over and over again. For example, you might plan out a glow day and purchase a blacklight. This is a great tool that can be used for countless other activities and transformations. Quality table cloths are also a great investment because they can be reused for every single transformation for years to come.
Use your Parent Volunteers: Parent volunteers will also come in handy! This is the perfect time to make use of that room mom or dad. They can cut out activities for you, create decorations, or help you set up your classroom the day before the big transformation.
Use your creativity and the resources you already have to create magic in your classroom.
Classroom Transformation Ideas:
Over the last few years, i’ve done a couple of classroom transformations that my students have really loved and benefited from.
Ice Cream Classroom Transformation
This third grade math classroom transformation targeted all of the fraction standards and skills. We worked on comparing fractions, fraction word problems, fractions on a number line, and much more. I decorated my classroom as an ice cream parlor using lots of butcher paper! I also added some ice-cream themed props I found at the Target Dollar Section. These fraction math centers could be used for an ice-cream or bakery classroom transformation.
Writing Construction Classroom Transformation
This fourth grade construction classroom transformation focused on the writing skills my students were struggling with. Our state writing test was approaching, and I wanted a fun way to get them excited about writing! They worked on identifying parts of an essay, using transition words correctly, and touching up on their grammar skills. The writing center resources used for this transformation target 4th-6th grade writing standards.
Surgery Classroom Transformation
This hands-on text feature classroom transformation is probably one of the easiest i’ve ever done! Students worked collaboratively by doing ‘surgery’ on the text and extracting all of the important text features. This hospital-themed day is perfect for 2nd-5th grade students working on nonfiction text features.
Bootcamp Classroom Transformation
This bootcamp-themed transformation was the perfect way to review all of the important skills before our state test. I did not target one skill in specific in this transformation. Each station (or mission) focused on a different reading standard.
Classroom Transformation Resources & Activities:
Benefits of a Classroom Transformation:
Over the years, views on education have evolved to a more ‘active learning’ approach. Students are now placed at the center of instruction while being exposed more interactive and meaningful learning experiences. Here are some ways a classroom transformation can positively impact your elementary students:
Increased engagement amongst students.
Exposure to real-world scenarios and problem solving.
Encourages independence and leadership in the classroom.
Makes challenging content fun and exciting for students.
Targets different learning styles to accommodate all learners.
I hope this post inspires you to do a simple classroom transformation this year. I can assure you that your students will be jumping with joy when they walk into your room. You’ll be searching for ways to incorporate that kind of high-engagement in every lesson after that!
If you have any questions about classroom transformations, please feel free to reach out.
Check out this post with 10 Strategies to Engage Your Students through Movement.