COVID changed everything for the teaching profession when it arrived in March 2020. Most of my teacher friends have commented that they feel like first-year teachers all over again. With everything online now, a lot of our favorite activities from in-person instruction have been lost in the shuffle. We’re all trying to “piece” our classroom communities back together again (virtually) while also throwing some fun in there too.
One of the things that I miss most about the classroom (in person) is classroom transformations. For years, I’ve loved surprising my students by transforming our classroom into a zoo, a circus, or a donut shop!
I mourned my classroom transformations for several months when this all began. I missed the routine of doing one each week and my students missed them too! Every Monday, we’d had “Monday Funday” in our classroom. The students knew they could expect a brand new themed room transformation each and every Monday. And when school went online, and we only had distance learning, they lost that beginning of the week excitement I got from them in person.
I quickly realized that I had to find a way to bring back that excitement to them no matter what. My students asked me if there was any way we could start doing our classroom transformations online. And to be honest, it stumped me at first! How do you decorate a virtual classroom? How do you make students feel like they’re visiting another place when you’re on a computer screen? How do you allow students to work collaboratively when they can’t sit next to each other?
So, I spent a lot of time over the last few months of the year testing different ideas to try and make this work. I figured out what worked and what didn’t. I was able to find a way how to set up a digital classroom transformation and do it successfully! So….let’s chat about how to do it in YOUR classroom!!
Digital Room Transformations: Step 1
Decide what theme you want to do! There are over 40 classroom transformation themes to choose from in my store for grades 1-5.
Digital Room Transformations: Step 2
Grab your digital activity. Each classroom transformation now comes with a digital version that is common core aligned and compatible with Google Slides.
Digital Room Transformations: Step 3
Meet with your students virtually before they start to set the stage! Whether your district uses Zoom, Google Meet, or another platform, make sure you hop on with your students so they can see you. Engage your students by telling them what they’ll be doing today/this week! The great thing about these digital classroom transformations is they’re flexible. You can use as little or as much of it as you want! The important thing to remember is to prepare students ahead of time what your expectations are.
Digital Room Transformations: Step 4
Want to make your virtual meeting with students even MORE exciting? Use SnapCam to transform your Google Meet with students! If you’re doing the grocery store day, why not show up to your Google Meet as a potato (check me out as a potato above, HA!). Or, if you’re doing Zoo Day, show up to the Google Meet as a tiger! SnapCam has so many options to choose from and can cover any classroom transformation theme you are doing!
Digital Room Transformations: Step 5
Make sure you’re assigning a reasonable amount of work. Remember, students are able to complete a lot LESS work online than they are able to do in person. Each classroom transformation comes with 10 challenges. That may be too much for your students to do online. Delete the challenges you don’t think are needed or spread the classroom transformation out throughout the whole week. You know best how to set up a digital classroom transformation in your virtual classroom!
Digital Room Transformations: Step 6
Reward and celebrate with your students at the end! I like to send them a digital certificate of completion when they finish each digital classroom transformation. This lets them know they are done and they have a small keepsake to remember our special time together. I love for the kids to take a selfie with the certificate at their house and post it in our Google Classroom community where everyone can see it and congratulate one another.
I hope this info helps with your next digital classroom transformation!
You may also like to read Collaborating During Digital Classroom Transformations, Top Ten Easiest Classroom Transformation Ideas, 5 Reasons to Do a Digital Room Transformation, or download my freebie on Classroom Transformation Tips and Tricks.