Classroom transformations can be really overwhelming. I know I sometimes wondered before trying one if they’re worth all the effort involved. Now that I’ve done over FORTY of them in my classroom, I’m hooked (but I’ve learned a LOT along the way!!). These ten classroom transformation tips will help make your classroom transformation fun and stress-free!!
Classroom Transformation Tip #1
Decide beforehand what time frame you’ll give your kids to complete the event. Tell your class before they begin so they know how to handle their time wisely.
Each of my Career Day Math Activities (classroom transformations that I make on TPT) come with 10 challenges. From experience, I know that my kids will take about 1-2 hours to complete all challenges. I tell my kids before we begin that they will have an hour and fifteen minutes to work. They also can work on it during our remediation block at the end of the day if they need extra time. While we are working, I also call out time reminders. I will say “We’ve been working for 15 minutes, you should have at least 2 challenges done by now.” Or I will say, “We have been working for an hour, you need to be at least half done by this point.” These reminders help students stay on task and work to catch up if they are behind.
I’ve seen some teachers split up classroom transformations into multiple days as well. They will do a classroom transformation just during their math block for 3 days in a row to allow time for everyone to finish. This works just as well!
Classroom Transformation Tip #2
Figure out ahead of time how your students will complete the activities.
Will your students work individually? In partners? Groups? Do they get to choose their own partners or will you choose them? Make sure you have a plan to tell your students before they get started. Any of these ways will work as long as you set your expectations up ahead of time.
I have done this a variety of ways but my favorite is to set a limit on how much they have to do themselves and how much they may complete together. There are 10 challenges in each of my classroom transformations. I tell my students they may work with a partner on 5 challenges and have to complete 5 by themselves. If they prefer to do all 10 alone, this is fine too. I also tell my class if they decide to work with a partner, they may only work on 1 challenge with that partner. That way, they aren’t completing 5 challenges with the same person. This eliminates any silliness, playtime, fooling around, and allows them to work with a variety of their peers.
Classroom Transformation Tip #3
Set an expectation for how much of the classroom transformation you’d like your class to complete.
If you’re doing one of my classroom transformations, you know that they have 10 challenges. Will your class be expected to do all 10 challenges or just 7 out of 10? Will they have to complete it for homework if it isn’t done in school or will they continue the next day? Setting up these expectations before you begin makes things run much more smoothly.
Classroom Transformation Tip #4
Make showing your work a requirement.
It’s very easy for students to copy off each other, make mistakes, or not truly understand the concept if they aren’t showing their work. I tell my class at the beginning of our classroom transformation that I will not check papers that only have an answer and no work on it. This really helps cut down on silly mistakes when I am checking their answers.
Classroom Transformation Tip #5
Writing your name on their paper is required.
During my classroom transformations, there is a LOT of paper lying around! Each of my kids has a recording sheet to keep track of which challenges they have completed and they also have the challenge papers too. They know that if they don’t have their name on both when they come to be checked, I won’t look at their papers. This really helps me not have to call out “whose paper is this?!” 50 times when I find one on the floor.
Classroom Transformation Tip #6
Sign their recording sheet to ensure completion.
Just because a student says their done with a challenge doesn’t mean that it’s true. My class knows that after they complete each part of the classroom transformation, they have to have it checked by me. This allows me to check in with them and correct any misconceptions I’m seeing. It also helps me see who’s truly understanding it, who’s relying on their friends for help, and who I’ll need to pull in my small groups later on this week.
Classroom Transformation Tip #7
Set up ahead of time–but not too long!
Classroom transformations don’t have to be stressful if you’re prepared ahead of time. I give myself a short amount of time to get the room ready. When the time is over, whatever is put up is what my class gets. Don’t spend 5903 hours after school setting up your classroom for something that your class is going to enjoy for one day.
I tell myself that I only have the 45 minutes before school that day to set up or the 30 minute block when my students are at lunch. I set up as much as I can and then let go of whatever I didn’t get to. Kids are at school to learn and putting an extra 5 palm trees on your walls isn’t going to make or break their education in the long run. Don’t waste your precious time doing things that are going to stress you out in the long run. As long as you have the basics ready for your classroom transformation, your students will LOVE it and so will you!
Classroom Transformation Tip #8
List your behavior expectations before you start the fun.
Classroom transformations are a LOT of fun and the kids are always excited when they first see the room! Before jumping right in, sit them down and go over your expectations for how they should act during the event and what will happen if they do not follow your expectations. This helps remind them that learning is the ultimate goal and just because the room has changed, your expectations of them haven’t changed.
Classroom Transformation Tip #9
Have an easy clean up system!
The first few classroom transformations I did burnt me out because of the clean up! Peeling 32 palm trees off the walls and cleaning up a room full of confetti can be exhausting!! But I quickly learned that having 25 helpers is REALLY helpful when a classroom transformation is over.
In my class, we take the last 5 minutes of the day to clean up whatever I put up that morning. I’ll tell them:
-what needs to be thrown away
-items to be brought to me so I can save it to use again
-what needs to be moved back into position
And then I let them go! In about 5 minutes, our room is back to normal! The kids LOVE helping and I LOVE having my room back with no effort on my part!
Classroom Transformation Tip #10
Cut corners where you can.
I like to save on supplies and classroom transformations can use a lot of them! I print my challenges 2 to a page to save on paper. Instead of printing the colored versions, I’ll print on colored paper to save my ink. When my class is doing the QR Code writing activities in my classroom transformations, they write on notebook paper instead of printing the pages provided. Do what you can to make it work for you!
I’ve even laminated the papers before to save them the following year. I’ll print 5 copies of each challenge paper, laminate them all, and now I have them to reuse again next year so I won’t have to print anything at all. Win!
I hope you try a classroom transformation soon! They aren’t as scary as they appear to be when you look on Pinterest or Instagram!
Classroom transformations happen every Monday in my classroom and they are now known as “Monday Fundays”! You can check them out on my Instagram if you’d like to see them up close. You can also find my classroom transformations in my TPT store here.