Classroom Transformation Tips

5 fun classroom transformation ideas for themed learning days

fun classroom transformation ideas

Transforming your classroom into a different scene or place can be an incredibly exciting experience for your students. As your students complete specialized challenges, they are immersed in an entirely new environment of learning. However, it can take a while to figure out all of the fun classroom transformation ideas by yourself. As someone who has completed many classroom transformations, I have discovered some exciting extras to include in your next transformation. Here are some fun classroom transformation ideas you may never have considered before!

Coloring Page

When your students walk into your newly-transformed room, they’re going to be blown away. All they’re going to want to do is talk to their friends and explore the new space. Keep your kids contained in their seats until the transformation starts with a morning work supplement: a coloring page. A coloring page that matches the theme of the transformation keeps students busy as they wait for everyone to arrive. It also heightens their excitement for the rest of the day.

If you already have morning work planned or decide not to bring out the coloring supplies first thing, you can use the coloring page as a fast finisher activity. Students who finish the challenges first can quietly color as they wait for others to wrap up. This prevents them from distracting friends and gives them a “reward’ for finishing early.

There are tons of coloring pages available for purchase online. However, if you’re looking to keep your expenses organized, I include coloring pages in all of my classroom transformations. If you don’t want to worry about looking all over the Internet for every piece of your transformation, my transformations include all the essentials (and extras) right for you.

Name Tags

Another fun “extra” is name tags. When kids walk into your classroom in the morning and see a name tag sitting on their desk, there’s no doubt they’ll be excited for the day. You can laminate and hole punch them with string for kids to wear over the course of the transformation, giving them a fun item to display. You could also put them in lanyards.

Want to save yourself some time? Print out some blank name tags and let kids write their own specalized names like Construction Worker Joe on Construction Day or Doctor Bob for Doctor Day. They can add a string to the name tag themselves in place of morning work so you don’t have to prep them ahead of time. Or you could print the nametags out with their names and paperclip one to each kid’s shirt. If you really want to go all out, you could even let students put the name tags on themed hats with tape.

There are so many different ways to pull off name tags, all of which kids adore. Because of their popularity, I decided to include customizable name tags in my room transformations on TPT. This extra is one of many other fun items offered in a purchase. There are so many different fun classroom transformation ideas you can incorporate into your themed days to make them even more exciting!

Posters

What better way to decorate for a classroom transformation than with posters? Themed posters are easy for print-and-go. Print messages on colored paper to make them pop. On Ocean Day, print out “Save the Whales” on blue paper. Use your red paper on the Floor is Lava Day to warn about the volcanic eruption. These “extras” are some of the best ways to bring out a theme into your classroom. Or, purchase them on TPT with any of my room transformations!

Posters can be placed practically anywhere. Stick them on desks, around the classroom, in the hallway–you can really get creative here. Posters are also easy to reuse if you laminate them. That way, you can save on paper and time in future years. With my transformations, I include lots of printable posters and banners for you. That way, you won’t have to format everything yourself. My posters include cute messages about the transformation that enhance the theme.

Admission Tickets

One of my favorite extras to add to a room transformation are admission tickets. These work to excite your students before the room transformation even begins. The day before your transformation, place the admission tickets on your kids’ desks to let them know what you’re doing the following day. These tickets “invite” them to participate in the upcoming transformation. This never fails to excite a class and also makes them excited to come to school the next day. 

Admission tickets are also a great talking point with parents. Instead of saying school was “fine” and leaving it at that, kids have something to talk to their parents about. They can bring the tickets home with them and show them off to their family. If they want, they can also use the tickets as bookmarks. When they come to school the next day and show you they have a ticket to enter your transformed classroom, their excitement is contagious.

These tickets are also included in my room transformations on TPT. I customize them to fit the theme of each transformation, and they’re ready for you to print out with zero prep. Every time I complete a transformation, they are a hit with my class AND my class’s parents!

Hats

A final “extra” idea for you is specialized hats. Hats that fit the theme of the room transformation can enhance the entire day. On Donut Shop Day, kids get to wear bakery hats. On Firefighter Day, they get to wear fire hats. Getting something special to wear throughout the transformation allows kids in a fun way to see what it’s like to work in a certain career.

Hats are usually cheap and easy to find in stores. You could also find free ones if you look in the right places. At Krispy Kreme, they sometimes offer free bakery hats to kids. The same goes for the fire station, where you can pick up firefighter hats for free for your entire class! I also have hats included in my room transformations. These hats are printable and match the theme of the day. If needed, you can also attach name tags to them. Students go wild over having something to hold or wear during the special day.

With so many ideas for fun classroom transformation ideas to include in your next transformation, I’m sure your mind is moving quickly! Even adding just a few special decorations to your classroom can bring your transformation to the next level. And if you want a bunch of extras to choose from without the stress of scouring the Internet, hop on over to my TPT shop and see if my transformations are a good match. I include everything you need (and more!) to create a fantastic room transformation.

Are you new to this idea and ready to try a classroom transformation? I’m here to help! Be sure to check out my additional posts with classroom transformation tips and follow me on Instagram where I share even more resources and tips for teachers.

Want to add some fun decorations to your next room transformation? I’ve got you covered right here with my Classroom Transformation Decoration Lists!

Looking for room transformations that are already made for you?

Cheap Classroom Transformation Decorations You Can Use Again And Again

cheap classroom transformation decorations

With so much that can go into every classroom transformation, it’s difficult to know where to start with purchasing. If you’re wondering how to buy cheap classroom transformation decorations, you’re in luck. In this post, we will go over some common items found in room transformations that you can reuse for years to come. While these ideas aren’t necessary for a fun room transformation, they can do wonders for setting the scene. Here are all the cheap classroom transformation decorations that can keep you on budget and your class loving those special days!

Tablecloths

Simple, cheap, and fun! Tablecloths are the perfect decoration for every transformation. The best places to buy them are Amazon, Dollar Tree, and Walmart. Pro tip: Walmart is the cheapest if you buy them in packs of three. What’s great about tablecloths is that you can reuse them year after year. After you complete a transformation, fold them up and store them until they’re needed again next year. This will save you both time and money on decorating.

Tablecloths come in just about every color. This means they can go with any theme. On Saint Patrick’s Day, Safari Day, or Zoo Day, whip out your green ones. If it’s Ocean Day, Hawaii Day, or Weather Day, you can use your ones in blue. Even just having two or three different colors of tablecloth can make your room transformation that much more special.

Not only can tablecloths go on desks, but they can be hung from the ceiling to set the day’s scene. For example, on Circus Day, you can hang up rainbow-colored tablecloths that bring a pop of color to your classroom. You can also place tablecloths on the ground. Blue tablecloths can transform your classroom into the ocean on Ocean Day, and red cloth can look like lava on The Floor is Lava Day. Of course, you can also place tablecloths across desks. With some black tablecloths, desks become spaceships, and a checkered tablecloth can make your room look like a farm.

When you’re done with your transformation, tablecloths are easy to remove. Have your kids help you round up all your cloth around the room and fold it up until the next transformation. This can be done in just a few minutes.

Crepe Paper or Streamers

Another useful decoration to have on hand is crepe paper. Crepe paper can serve a variety of purposes during a room transformation. By hanging up some on the door in place of streamers, your room will look that much more detailed. Kids loved to walk through it in the morning, making them feel like they’ve entered another world instead of the place they go to every day. With a little tape, crepe paper will stay up all day. Kids can go through it every time they exit and enter the classroom.

Crepe paper is also very easy to take down at the end of the day. Since you only have to use tape to hang it up, it’s easy to peel off and discard. You can even have your students help you remove it at the end of the transformation. They’ll be excited to be a part of the fun.

While crepe paper isn’t exactly reusable like tablecloths, you can buy one roll of it and use that roll for years to come. It will save you time shopping in the future and always be ready for use if needed. You can find it cheap at the Dollar Tree. Like the tablecloths, it comes in multiple colors that match whatever theme you’re doing. You can use pink and purple crepe paper for Donut Day, rainbow colors for Artist Day, and on. Overall, this paper is a great addition to a transformation. It’s perfect as a cheap classroom transformation decoration!

Paper Plates and Cups

A recurring item needed in classroom transformation would be plates and cups for food. Food is often a reward at the end of a transformation, whether it be a cup of ice cream at the end of Ice Cream Shop Day or a cup of hot chocolate after Coffee Shop Day. Kids love food rewards, and by buying cheap disposable plates and cups, you can have an easy way to serve treats after the transformation ends.

Plates are a great way for students to have a place to collect their rewards as they work. For example, on Haunted House Day, kids get a piece of candy after each challenge. With a plate ready on their desk, they can easily deposit their treats without having to worry about where to put it. Additionally, this allows students to save food for later instead of eating it immediately and leading to a sugar high.

Referring back to Coffee Shop Day, students get a cup of hot chocolate after they finish the transformation. Having that disposable cup on their desk throughout the day is a visual reminder of the treat they are working for, motivating them to finish their work. Plates can also serve this role, while simultaneously helping to keep your classroom clean. On transformation days with messy food prizes, plates can be a life-saver. The popcorn given out on Circus Day can get everywhere without somewhere to put it all.

Not only are plates and cups used with food, but also with the activities included in some transformations. On Artist Day, students may be painting. The paint could go into cups, and kids could pour some of it onto their plates as they work to complete their masterpiece. All in all, having some disposable cups and plates handy can be more useful than you’d imagine.

Hats

Although not strictly essential to a room transformation, themed hats can make the day truly amazing for your students. You can buy special hats on Amazon for cheap, or you can purchase a room transformation of mine on TPT. Printable hats are included in each of my classroom transformations.

With every transformation, your students learn about a new environment or career. Getting to wear a hat that fits the theme truly immerses them into the experience. For a transformation like Donut Day, you can buy donut hats for cheap on Amazon or print out the provided ones in the TPT product. Construction hats can be as low as $6 on Amazon so they’re very affordable.

Looking to save money? Reach out to parents. If a parent works in a certain specialized industry, they may be able to score you some free hats for your kids to wear that fit the transformation theme. Construction workers might have construction helmets to borrow, and doctors could give you surgical gowns and masks. Keep in mind that some places give away hats for free in the first place. The fire station always gives fire hats to kids, as well as Krispy Kreme with donut hats. 

You can also easily add a name tag onto hats. In my room transformations, I include free name tags. These can be edited to personalize your students’ names on them and used in your classroom. Kids can color their nametags and configure their hats in place of morning work, keeping them on task while giving them something fun to do.

Pencils

The final cheap classroom transformation decorations I would recommend having on hand for room transformation is new pencils. Pencils are cheap and fun to implement as prizes in the room transformation. You can hand out star pencils to students on Space Day, donut pencils on Donut Day, ice cream pencils on Ice Cream Day, and so on. Pencils can be used long after the transformation ends but are a fun reminder of the day.

The same goes for mini erasers. Erasers are cheap in bulk, come in many different designs, and are adored by students. Animal erasers are perfect for transformations like Veterinarian Day, Farm Day, and Dinosaur Day. There are plenty of other eraser ideas for other classroom transformations.

In summary, some helpful items to include in each room transformation would be colorful tablecloths, decorative crepe paper, disposable cups and plates, themed hats, and new pencils or erasers. These items can be varied to fit the needs of your classroom, but are a great starting point in a transformation. I hope you feel more prepared after reading about cheap classroom transformation decorations and that your future transformations go successfully!

Are you new to this idea and ready to try a classroom transformation? I’m here to help! Be sure to check out my additional posts with classroom transformation tips and follow me on Instagram where I share even more resources and tips for teachers.

Want to add some fun decorations to your next room transformation? I’ve got you covered right here with my Classroom Transformation Decoration Lists!

Looking for room transformations that are already made for you?

How to do a Mini Classroom Transformation

how to do a mini classroom transformation

Scrolling through pictures of elaborate classroom transformations, you might worry about the time and money it takes to pull off one successfully. These concerns are common but unneeded! There are many ways to adjust a transformation to fit the needs of your classroom. Why not try a mini classroom transformation? A mini transformation does the trick of incorporating fun into academics while not taking up your entire day. In this post, we’re going to go over the steps to completing an engaging mini transformation.

artist day classroom transformation aprons on desks

Delegating your time appropriately during school can be exhausting when you have so much to do. It is during these instances you may think you don’t possibly have enough time to set up an entire classroom transformation. However, a mini classroom transformation only takes up half of your day and still leaves you time to complete your other duties. You can set it up just for the morning or the afternoon and leave the rest of the day for your lessons. Your kids will be ecstatic about any extra fun they receive. You don’t have to go “all out” to make the day special for your students.

Planning Your MINI CLASSROOM TRANSFORMATION

The first step in completing a mini classroom transformation is planning. Scheduling out your day ahead of time can lead to a much smoother day. Before you start transforming your room, give yourself a set time in which you decorate. If you’re doing your mini transformation in the morning, will you set up your room before school starts? Or will you set up during lunchtime and have your kids complete the transformation in the afternoon? Maybe you’ll decorate your room during your planning period or while the kids are out at recess. Deciding when and how you’ll set up your room ahead of time can make everything a lot less stressful.

realtor classroom transformation set up

Keep in mind that once the transformation is over, you’ll need to strip everything down. As you’re planning out the timeframe of your transformation, decide when you’ll take down the decorations. If your mini transformation takes place in the morning, will you take it down while the kids are at lunch? During your planning? Early preparation is key to a smooth transformation for both you and your students.

Have Students Help

Here’s a helpful tip: use your kids! When you complete your mini transformation, have everyone help you take the decorations down. This can be a very simple process when you let your class help you. Your room can look completely normal again in less than five minutes! To ensure efficiency, assign different tables to different tasks. One table can collect all the tablecloths, another can look for trash, and another can clean up all miscellaneous papers. Kids are happy to help out after such a fun day, and you’ll be able to return to your lessons minutes after the transformation ends. Wrapping up a mini room transformation with 20 helpers goes a lot faster than doing it by yourself.

pirate classroom transformation in action

Focus On One Subject

While completing a mini classroom transformation, it helps to not plan to do too much. Focus on just one subject. Pick between a math or reading transformation. You don’t need to do both. The transformation can easily replace your math or reading block one day, smoothly fitting into your pacing guide while offering extra fun for your students. Mini transformations are great for taking up little time and still getting your students to practice their academic skills.

kids during a mini classroom transformation

Don’t Overdecorate

Another tip that helps is to put up minimal decorations. You don’t have to go all out to create an engaging mini classroom transformation. Think from a student’s perspective–anything different from the norm is exciting. Simply put up a few posters, some colorful tablecloths, or some crepe paper on the doorframe, and you’re reading to learn (in a fun way)! There are decorations such as signs, hats, and banners included in my room transformations that can do the trick in pulling off a transformation.

classroom door with party decorations

Set Your Expectations

When you’ve finally set up your mini transformation, there’s one last step before you begin. Set your behavior and academic expectations. Clearly stating what you expect from your students from the beginning can make the day a lot less chaotic. Classroom transformations work efficiently when students are aware of what is expected of them ahead of time. That way, you will not have to continuously stop and re-explain behavior guidelines throughout the day. Transformations are supposed to be a “fun” class period. Constant interruptions can put a damper on the excitement, and it’s extremely helpful to connect with your students from the start.

That’s a wrap on how to complete a mini classroom transformation! I hope these tips were helpful for your next transformation. It is easy to become overwhelmed by the idea of transforming your classroom. But with a mini transformation, only a small part of your day is taken up while students undergo the same learning as a typical day at school.

Are you new to this idea and ready to try a classroom transformation? I’m here to help! Be sure to check out my additional posts with classroom transformation tips and follow me on Instagram where I share even more resources and tips for teachers.

Want to add some fun decorations to your next room transformation? I’ve got you covered right here with my Classroom Transformation Decoration Lists!

4 Myths About Classroom Transformations

Room Transformations: Why They're Not as Hard As You Think

You may have looked at a picture of a classroom transformation and thought that it was expensive to put together, took a lot of time to set-up, or was too distracting during math lessons. However, none of this is true! Room transformations are engaging, easy to construct, and exciting for both you and your students. Let’s clarify 4 myths about classroom transformations.

(This post contains affiliate links. By purchasing through this link, we get a small commission–at no additional cost to you. Rest assured – we only share links to products that we use and love!)

myth 1: They’re Too Expensive

“That must’ve cost a fortune to set up!” was probably your first thought upon seeing the detective classroom transformation. However, there’s no right or wrong way to do a transformation. YOU get to decide how much effort you put into it. From the time you spend setting it up to how much you spend on decorations, it’s your choice. If you don’t want to spend a lot of money, there is no need to! There are many low-cost and even free choices when pursuing a classroom transformation. Myths about classroom transformations like “this is going to cost me so much money” just aren’t true!

low-cost decorations to add to your classroom transformation

Go to the Dollar Store. There are so many cheap decorations there (any of which your students would appreciate). A perfect example of this would be the Hawaii Classroom Transformation. There’s always beach stuff at the Dollar Store, from leis to sunglasses. I’ve completed Hawaii Day spending less than $10 total and my students loved it!

Another idea is to buy from Amazon in bulk. There are lots of deals out there and buying a bunch of little trinkets can be cheaper than you’d expect. And the great thing is, you can reuse the decorations you buy for years to come! Future classes will adore the decorations just as much as the class you originally did the transformation with. Just make sure to tell your students to return all the transformation items at the end of the day. On Safari Day, my kids are given hats to wear through the transformation. But before the day ends, I remember to collect and store the hats until the following year.

With any transformation, tablecloths can be a lifesaver. They quickly set the scene, and are an exciting change of environment for students. Buy a few different colors from the Dollar Store or Walmart, put them on your tables or the floor, and you’re all set. Or, if you’re looking to transform your classroom to the fullest but can’t afford the decorations you need, apply for a grant to get more expensive items.

Free Options for Classroom Transformations

If you’re looking to spend no money, don’t be afraid to shoot out an email asking parents for donations. Most are happy to help be a part of their kid’s learning, or even just looking to get rid of some old decorations in their garage. On that note, check around your house for items that would fit the transformation.

For Firefighter Day, I brought in my garden hose to use as a prop. And for Realtor Day, I brought in old “For Sale” sign I had in my garage. If you’re doing a Halloween Classroom Transformation, you can bring your own Halloween decorations straight to your classroom for the day!

myth 2: They’re Too Much Work to Set Up

You might be worried about how long classroom transformations take to set up. You have a busy day, after all, and not much time leftover. However, there are many ways to manage your time so you’re not staying at school till 7 PM setting up your room.

My favorite method is to set a time limit for setting up my classroom and not go over it. You can allow yourself 30 minutes before school begins to decorate your classroom, and if you end up not finishing in time, don’t worry! Your kids won’t notice what you didn’t finish. They’ll only notice what you did put up. You can also invite parent volunteers into your classroom to help you decorate your room–they’ll be glad to see how much effort you put into teaching their kids.

No matter how much time you spend setting your classroom up, your students will love it. A transformation changes the normal environment of the classroom, which is always exciting. It helps to think about needs versus wants when planning out a transformation. Do you need to buy that extra decoration to make it a fun day, or do you just want it?

Don’t Go Overboard

Let’s think about the Donut Shop Classroom Transformation. It may be fun to buy each of your students a donut hat, or buy a bunch of blow-up donuts. But, that’s not necessary to complete the transformation. What’s the only TRUE decoration you need for Donut Day? A donut as a prize for each student upon completion. Your students will LOVE IT even if there are no decorations anywhere around the room.

Again, during Bowling Day, you don’t need to buy 10 bowling sets so each student team has a bowling set. Just buy one and have students take turns! Your students will never know the difference, and they’ll have a great time either way. This thought process has really helped me figure out which areas to spend money on when doing any room transformation.

Think About Clean-Up Ahead of Time

To lessen your workload, have your students help you clean up the transformation at the end of the day! Take five minutes and assign different tasks to groups of students. Maybe Table One’s job is to take down the tablecloths, while Table Two picks up trash, and Table Three stacks your posters into a pile. Having twenty helpers on your side makes transformations a lot less stressful to complete. Myths about classroom transformations like “they’re too much work” cease to exist when you have your class help you!

Bonus Tip! Laminate, laminate, laminate. If you want to save time for future years of classroom transformations, laminate the posters and challenges for a quicker set-up next time. Not only does it save time, but also money for printing paper.

myth 3: Kids Won’t Listen

With so much excitement throughout the day, you may be worried about your kids listening to you. However, as long as you make your behavior expectations clear at the beginning of the transformation, things will run just as smoothly as a normal day.

Set Behavior Expectations At the Beginning

Plan things out ahead of time. Tell students how they’ll be working–will they be working individually? If they’re working with partners, do they get to choose their partner or are you deciding for them? 

Next, warn students of the consequences of misbehaving. If they don’t listen or finish their work, tell them that they won’t be able to participate in the fun end-of-day activity or receive a prize. For the students who finish their work early, be prepared to engage them so they won’t distract other students. Have a worksheet or separate activity ready for them after they finish their regular work. This also works for students who get off task easily, which allows you not to have to deal with their behavior during the room transformation.

Be Clear and Plan Ahead

Once you’ve laid out all your rules, host a Q&A session with your students. Make sure they understand their expectations and know what to do throughout the day. Once they figure out how exciting the transformation is going to be, let them get their energy out by allowing them to talk with friends.

It also helps to select a few kids who can be leaders or helpers throughout the transformation. If you are busy helping another student, have a student leader assist their classmate. Friends listen to friends, and student leaders can be a helpful voice in explaining a difficult math concept.

Parent volunteers can also help out a lot during room transformations. Not only can they keep kids on task, but check their work for you while you’re helping other students. Myths about classroom transformations like “kids won’t listen” don’t apply when you plan your day out and have clear expectations.

myth 4: Kids Won’t Learn Anything

A classroom transformation seems like so much fun, it can be difficult to be assured that students are actually learning academic skills. Don’t worry, they are!

Decide What skills you will focus on

Room transformations are always content-based, meaning students learn plenty throughout the day. They are perfect for review days before tests. Instead of boring test prep, a room transformation brings your students to life and gets them excited to learn. Hands-on activities have been shown to make learning more concrete and help students remember more. A room transformation makes that possible.

As long as you have behavior expectations in place, students will do their work. Make sure to layout your rules for the day before the transformation begins–your kids will listen if they know the consequences of misbehaving or what rewards are waiting for them once they finish the transformation.

Incentives are amazing for encouraging students to learn! Any small trinket, like an eraser or a certificate, is a great way to motivate your students to finish their work. In the process, they’re learning what you want them to do and staying on task.

Check-In With Students Throughout the Day

A way to make sure students are absorbing the content is to check each paper they finish. This allows you to see where kids might be struggling, or what you need to review later on. You can also call out your expectation points after a certain period of time–after 10 minutes, you tell your students that they should have 1/10 of the challenges completed, and on. Having a running timer keeps students engaged in the activity instead of getting distracted by the excitement.

It’s important you tell your students that you expect them to be working and not playing. To ensure they follow this rule, have a meeting at the end of the room transformation and ask what they learned. What was the goal of the lesson? Students are often excited to share the fun they had throughout the day. Myths about classroom transformations like “kids won’t learn anything” just aren’t true!

Hopefully, this post on 4 myths about classroom transformations cleared up any misconceptions for you! They are so worth the effort, and much simpler than you would expect to set up. Whether you’re looking for a fun review activity or a hands-on math game, room transformations are for you.

Are you new to this idea and ready to try a classroom transformation? I’m here to help! Be sure to check out my additional posts with classroom transformation tips and follow me on Instagram where I share even more resources and tips for teachers.

Want to add some fun decorations to your next room transformation? I’ve got you covered right here with my Classroom Transformation Decoration Lists!

5 Benefits of Classroom Transformations You Didn’t Know

5 Classroom Transformation Benefits

It’s in the name–with classroom transformations, your room transforms into a different place, whether it be the zoo, a donut shop, or even outer space. But with so much fun, can students actually learn at the same time? The answer is YES, along with many other benefits! Between motivation, communication skills, and more, classroom transformations are perfect for learning enrichment. Let’s take a look at the top five benefits of classroom transformations.

(This post contains affiliate links. By purchasing through this link, we get a small commission–at no additional cost to you. Rest assured – we only share links to products that we use and love!)

Engaging to Students

There are many classroom transformation benefits and student engagement is a HUGE ONE! Every student has a passion or a hobby. Student passions get incorporated into math and reading lessons during a classroom transformation! With over 40 different classroom transformation themes, your students’ interests are bound to overlap with one of the themes to make them even more engaged in the lesson. Maybe you have a student who loves art. But, there aren’t many opportunities for that during centers. However, with the Art Classroom Transformation, your students get to draw and paint all the while building their academic skills. The benefits of classroom transformations are endless with so many different themes to choose from!

For all students, walking into the classroom and seeing it transformed is incredibly exciting. That excitement carries over to learning throughout the rest of the day. Thus, keeping them invested in the transformation while they practice their math and reading skills. Another way to get your students enthusiastic about the transformation is to hand them an admission ticket the day before the transformation. This ticket, included in the transformation, grants them access to the transformed classroom. Students come to school the next day much more ready to learn.

Bring your theme alive to the fullest! You can include tons of additional content throughout the day of your classroom transformation. For example, with the Pilot Classroom Transformation, show a video of a plane taking off to set the scene. Or during social studies, have your students learn about the theme of the day. If you’re completing the Firefighter Classroom Transformation, teach your kids about the history of firefighters or even invite a firefighter to speak to your class.

Motivation to Learn

Another benefit of classroom transformations is that students become much more motivated to learn. The room is different. Their learning environment is enhanced and allows them to see content-based learning in a new way. Transforming a classroom can make a huge difference with students who are hesitant to learn. If you incorporate a fun concept into your lesson, like donuts, it makes academic challenges a lot more manageable.

In addition, room transformations can be useful for students who usually show signs of work refusal. A student who typically refuses to complete a worksheet may be more inclined to participate. When the room looks like a literal zoo, it’s hard to refuse to have fun!

Preparing for a test? Forget boring multiple-choice worksheets–try out a room transformation! They are great for test prep and review days. Kids are much more likely to remember how they solved a problem about candy than circling the letter A on paper. It can also lessen the stress of testing and remind your students that making mistakes is alright as long as they learn something. The benefits of classroom transformations are limitless.

You can further motivate your students to learn by offering a small prize at the end of the transformation. Even an eraser, a certificate, or a homework pass can make a world of difference in your students’ attitudes towards learning. It helps to make the prize relate to the theme. For example, I give my kids donuts at the end of the Donut Classroom Transformation. Another idea is stuffed monkey at the end of Safari Day or a zoo eraser at end of Zoo Day. One of my personal favorite is an ice cream cup at end of Ice Cream Shop Day.

Build Communication and Collaboration Skills

Teamwork is important in every aspect of life. Teach your kids that through room transformations! Communication and collaboration are additional benefits of classroom transformations. During the transformations, students get to work together as they solve academic challenges. Whether they are trying to solve an equation together or finish all the challenges, they learn essential communication skills throughout the day.

There are many different ways to complete classroom transformations. You can have your students complete challenges individually, in partners, or in groups. With partners, you can decide whether students choose their own partners or randomly assign kids together. With groups, your kids get to socialize with others they may not already be close to. This can form some meaningful friendships, or teach students how to get along with different people as they solve problems.

Make sure to communicate with your students throughout the day. In the morning, set your expectations for your classroom so everyone stays on task. Directly telling your students how you want them to work is a simple but effective way to manage your classroom. It also heightens your students’ listening skills for other days.

Students make real-world connections

Looking to make real-world connections to math or reading skills? One of the benefits of classroom transformations is the connections students make to the world around them. Students are able to see how these skills will be valuable to them in the future. Each theme relates academic skills to the real world. Whether planets or baseballs are being used in the equation, your students are able to better understand how academics work in real life. They even show students how they may use skills in different careers when they are older.

Every activity that students complete relates to the real world. For example, the challenges in the Donut Classroom Transformation are all about graphing types of donuts. In Pilot Day, students get to fly around the world to different countries, all the while practicing elapsed time. And on Realtor Day, your students find the area and perimeter of the rooms inside houses. All of these real-world examples are customized to fit the theme of the transformation, making learning both fun and easier for your students.

Enhance your room transformation by bringing in a person who works the job of your theme! For Pet Shop Day, bring in a veterinarian. Or for Scientist Day, invite a scientist to speak to your class. In addition, you can watch videos about the theme of your day. You may not be able to find an astronaut to come to your class for Space Day, but you can watch a video of astronauts inside the space station. Whatever real-world connection you give your students helps to make the math or reading concept stick to them.

Hands-On Learning

Next, let’s talk about a benefit of classroom transformations that is very important: hands-on learning. The best way to learn is by doing. That is exactly is what classroom transformations are made for. Students are not confined to their seats during a room transformation. They are able to travel around the classroom as they solve challenges, exercising their body as well as their mind.

Classroom transformations come with a variety of hands-on activities. For example, the Donut Classroom Transformation comes with two hands-on challenges. In the first one, your students pick up different donuts, count their sprinkles, and graph their data in a chart. During the second one, kids count how many donuts there are in each donut box and graph the data again.

Meanwhile, on Circus Day, students use popcorn to solve math problems. My third-grade students used popcorn to make equal groups while solving multiplication problems, but you can use a myriad of things to give your students a hands-on math example. In any transformation, you can use erasers or manipulatives for each activity. This offers a visual example for students who struggle with mental math.

Hands-on activities aren’t strictly limited to the challenges. Let your students complete fun activities as a reward for finishing challenges. On Artist Day, students get to paint a picture after they finish each challenge. This motivates kids to keep working through the transformation. On Bowling Day, students actually get to bowl after each activity is completed. There is even a bowling recording sheet included for students to record their scores.

From making real-world connections to engaging students in learning, you can’t go wrong with a classroom transformation. A bit of fun can make a world of difference in the attitude of your classroom towards learning. I hope you learned more about the benefits of classroom transformations and try one out in your classroom soon!

Are you new to this idea and ready to try a classroom transformation? I’m here to help! Be sure to check out my additional posts with classroom transformation tips and follow me on Instagram where I share even more resources and tips for teachers.

Want to add some fun decorations to your next room transformation? I’ve got you covered right here with my Classroom Transformation Decoration Lists!

How to Do a Cheap Classroom Transformation

budget-friendly tips for classroom transformations

Have you ever wanted to do a cheap classroom transformation, but were scared off because you thought it would be too much money? I have!! When I first heard about room transformations, I thought to myself…

  • This is going to take me hours to set up.
  • This is going to cost me so much money.
  • This looks so overwhelming.
  • I could never do this!

But I was wrong! Classroom transformations aren’t just for teachers who have an unlimited budget. Classroom transformations can be easy and budget-friendly. These are 10 tips to help you set up your first cheap classroom transformation!

(This post contains affiliate links. By purchasing through this link, we get a small commission–at no additional cost to you. Rest assured – we only share links to products that we use and love!)

Tip #1: Use What’s Around Your House

A lot of teachers don’t realize they don’t need to spend any money on a room transformation if they don’t want to. Look around your house and see what you can find! It’s amazing what ideas you can get for a budget-friendly classroom transformation just by going through your attic or kids’ toy chests.

halloween classroom set up

For example, at Halloween, I grab some decorations out of my attic and use them in my classroom. The students love looking at the new classroom decor and I don’t have to spend a penny on providing this fun for them. The same concept works with any holiday decorations you have around your home. If it’s Christmas, Easter, New Year’s, or Thanksgiving, you probably have some decorations you can bring to school to implement a cheap classroom transformation for that theme.

Tip #2: Ask Parents

classroom set up like a pet hospital

Ask for parent donations! The first few times that I did room transformations, I bought all of the supplies myself. Students would go home and tell their parents all about the fun day they had as doctors or donut shop owners or zookeepers. Several parents emailed me and told me how much they appreciated me doing these fun activities for their children. They said they would be happy to donate any supplies I needed if I did room transformations in the future.

That definitely sparked my creativity and I was able to do a lot more room transformations due to Amazon wishlists and sign-up genius lists thanks to parents’ generosity. The picture above is actually thanks to parent donations! I requested some animal balloons from Amazon and parents sent them in for me. Students got to take a pet balloon home at the end of our veterinarian day! This made it very easy to do a cheap classroom transformation.

Tip #3: Ask the Community

It might seem crazy, but it works! When you reach out to your community for supplies, they deliver! The great thing about classroom transformations is that most classroom transformations focus on a certain job or career (example: veterinarian, doctor, firefighter, etc). When you reach out to the profession you are doing your room transformation theme around, they are highly likely to want to help you make it come to life in your classroom! Here are some examples of things that have been donated to my classroom through my local community.

kids dressed as firefighters

The local fire station donated plastic firefighter hats for us to wear during our room transformation on Firefighter Day.

kid dressed up like a veterinarian

A few years ago, a local doctor’s office donated gloves and masks for us to wear during our Surgery Day. These also work for veterinarian day.

classroom set up like a donut shop

Another example would be when Krispy Kreme donated donut hats and donuts to my class when we became donut shop owners. 

Tip #4: Go to the Dollar Store for Supplies

The dollar store is a teacher’s best friend when it comes to classroom transformations! There are so many budget-friendly items available that are easy to implement in a cheap room transformation.

hawaii beach classroom transformation

On our Hawaiian beach day, I decorated our classroom with a few tablecloths, leis, and blow up floats for under $10.

christmas classroom transformation wrapped desks

For Christmas, I bought some fun decorations from the Dollar Store to set the stage for our Santa’s Workshop Room Transformation where we became elves. My favorite decoration was the cheap wrapping paper I used to wrap each student’s desk.

farm classroom transformation decorations

For farmer day, I found lots of cute tablecloths and farm animal-themed pencils/erasers to use to engage students in their learning.

Tip #5: Go to 5 Below for Cheap Classroom Transformation Floats

Five Below is my go-to for blow-up decorations during room transformations because they’re cheap! Five Below sells most floats for $5. And if you look for floats after the season is over, you can normally get floats for even cheaper!

lots of blow up donuts

For Donut Day, I got a bunch of blow-up donuts you would normally use in the pool to set the stage in my classroom. When the room transformation is over, simply tell students how to deflate the donuts so you don’t have to do any of the work. Students in my class loved deflating the donuts and storing them away for me to use again next year.

ice cream blow up floats

On Ice Cream Shop Day, these floats from 5 Below came in handy! I believe I bought them after the summer season too so they were only $3 each instead of $5.

rainbow blow up float

Some more examples include a shark float for Under the Sea Day, a rainbow float for weather day, a tiger float for zoo day, and a space ship float for space day! A quick search of their website can easily help you plan any room transformation you’d like to do throughout the year.

Tip #6: Ask Students to Bring in Decorations

Don’t be afraid to get your students involved! Students love to help and they have pretty cool things at their houses too! Mention to students that you’re doing a dinosaur classroom transformation and you’d be surprised how many boys will be willing to bring in their dinosaur stuffed animals.

dinosaur balloons

Are you doing a royal classroom transformation? Lots of kids have royal decor in their bedrooms featuring unicorns, princes, and princesses. They’re happy to share it with the class for the day and bring it into your room. Ask and you shall receive!

royal classroom door decor

Tip #7: Use Music in the Background for a Cheap Classroom Transformation

There are many websites that offer music for you to use for free. Utilize those websites in your classroom! I like to go onto YouTube and pull up instrumental music for whatever theme we are doing that day.

circus classroom transformation with kids working

During our Circus Day, I put on the Greatest Showman soundtrack. On Dinosaur Day, I had the Jurassic Park soundtrack going in the background. There are thousands of ideas out there for you to choose from!

Tip #8: Put up Free Background Slides

When students walk into the room during a classroom transformation, their eyes love to take it all in. Having a background slide up on your TV or projected on your whiteboard helps them focus on something instantly and know what they need to do to get to work. You can easily create your own themed background in Canva, Google Slides, or PowerPoint for students to read.

zoo classroom transformation slides for TV

Or, if you don’t want to create your own slides, you may like to use one of these 40 free classroom transformation slides for free!

Tip #9: Buying in Bulk Can Ease Costs

Amazon is also a great go-to for cheap classroom transformations. Especially when you buy in bulk! For example, let’s say I want to give each child a space-themed eraser at the end of my Outer Space Classroom Transformation. When I went to the dollar store to look for erasers, each eraser would have cost me $1. That means buying 25 erasers would cost me $25 total.

outer space erasers

If you go on Amazon, you can get cute space erasers for much cheaper because you’re buying in bulk (large quantities). Amazon has great deals when you look around the site.

Tip #10: Reuse Decorations from Past Years

My last tip for you is to save what you do buy! If you buy tablecloths for a St. Patrick’s Day classroom transformation this March, save them for next year too! It’s easy to teach kids how to refold the tablecloths so you can use them year after year.

leprechaun classroom transformation

The same concept applies to hats and other decor items. Students don’t need to take home the fire hat they got from the local fire station. Have each student clean their hat with a sanitizing wipe at the end of the day and restack it for you in a pile. Now you have hats for next year’s Firefighter Day!

I hope you found these tips helpful and are planning to try your own cheap classroom transformation! If you are interested in pre-made room transformations for grades K-5, check these out below!

What Grade Level Are You Looking For?

Kindergarten Classroom Transformations

1st Grade Classroom Transformations

2nd Grade Classroom Transformations

3rd Grade Classroom Transformations

4th Grade Classroom Transformations

5th Grade Classroom Transformations

Reading Classroom Transformations

Reading Classroom Transformation Add-On Packs

You may also enjoy this article called “10 Tips for Easy Classroom Transformations”.

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Want to add some fun decorations to your next room transformation? I’ve got you covered right here with my Classroom Transformation Decoration Lists!

How to do a Digital Classroom Transformation

how to do a digital classroom transformation

I have always loved doing classroom transformations with my students. But when the pandemic hit, I wondered if there was a way to turn them into a digital format. I worked on the idea for several months and figured out how to do a digital classroom transformation. This guide will walk you step by step through how to do a digital classroom transformation.

(This post contains affiliate links. By purchasing through this link, we get a small commission–at no additional cost to you. Rest assured – we only share links to products that we use and love!)

Why Try a Digital Classroom Transformation?

There are many benefits to completing a classroom transformation on the computer rather than on paper. First, you are able to save yourself energy, money, and time printing out all of the components. You don’t have to run to the copy machine to make sure you have enough copies. Simply hop on Google Classroom and assign the slides digitally to your class. Watch them all work in real-time right in front of your eyes all at the same time. No more worrying about going over your copy limit or if the printer will run out of ink.

Another benefit of completing a room transformation digitally is no-name papers don’t exist! You may be thinking that type of scenario doesn’t exist! This alternate reality actually exists when you use Google Classroom. When you use Google Slides to do a digital classroom transformation, everyone’s name is automatically on every page. Students can’t lose their papers around the room and don’t need to redo a challenge if they lose their paper halfway through. Google Slides also automatically saves your work every few seconds so no work is ever lost.

digital classroom transformation backgrounds

Digital classroom transformations can also cut down on decorations (if that’s what you prefer). Not every teacher enjoys decorating their classroom and that’s okay! You don’t have to decorate your room at all if you don’t want to with virtual background sites like SnapCam. Simply choose a virtual background that you’d like your students to see you in (like the beach or a coffee shop) and you’re ready to begin your digital classroom transformation (watch me use SnapCam for digital classroom transformations HERE!).

student looking at computer

Using digital classroom transformations can also benefit multiple learning styles. If a student is struggling to write with a pencil, they may do better with typing and interactive pieces they can drag and drop. You can print copies for the few students who need hands-on practice and assign everyone else’s assignments via Google Classroom. Students can work together online as well. If they’re in the same room, they can put their computers next to each other. If they’re working from separate spaces, you can assign them the assignment together so they both have access or put them in a digital break-out room. That way, they aren’t missing out on any of the collaboration they would receive in the classroom.

Additionally, students aren’t distracted by other groups around the room when they are in digital break-out rooms. They aren’t waiting in a line for you to help and chatting with peers while they wait their turn. When a classroom transformation is in a digital format, those distractions are no longer a problem.

How to Start a Digital Classroom Transformation

Step One: Choose a Theme

The first thing you need to do is decide what theme you want your digital classroom transformation to be. You can find pre-made classroom transformations for grades K-5 right here. 

For this example, I’m going to use Surgery Day! The first thing to do is make a slide to project when your students first enter the classroom. Whether they are entering your Zoom Call, Google Meet, or coming into the classroom in person, you need to have instructions ready for students to see. I like to make a slide that excites students and gets them prepped for the day ahead.

If you’re struggling to come up with an idea or theme for your room transformation, you may find these 40 free Room Transformation Slides beneficial!

Step Two: Decide what Academic Content to Include

doctor digital classroom transformation activities

Once you’ve decided on a theme, it’s time to start making your content! I like to make each digital activity line up with our theme of the day. So, on Doctor Day, students in my class typically have ten slides to complete that relate to surgery! Or, if you don’t want to make up your own content, you can always use pre-made classroom transformations that are ready for you.

Step Three: Set-Up Classroom Behavior Expectations

Just like you would in a “in-person room transformation”, you want to set up behavior expectations for students when they are completing a digital classroom transformation. If you expect students to complete tasks individually, let them know that. If they can work together in break-out rooms, tell them that information up front. Make students aware of how many academic challenges they need to complete to finish for the day and hold students accountable if they get off-task.

Another important piece to remember is that students may not be able to complete the amount of work online that they could be doing in person. Working on a computer is tiring, especially in the younger grades. If I’m doing a classroom transformation with printable materials, I may have my students complete ten challenges. However, if they are working on the computer, I may assign 6 challenges instead. Be flexible and assign what you think would work best for your class. It may take a few digital classroom transformations before you find that “sweet-spot” that works well for your students.

Step Four: Have a Reward in Place at the End

I have found that students are highly motivated during digital classroom transformations when there is a small prize in place at the end. This doesn’t need to be anything fancy and can be something simple like a coupon or certificate.

digital classroom transformation certificate

For Doctor Day, I award my students with a digital doctor certificate when they finish all of their challenges. They may redeem this certificate anytime during the rest of the year for a homework pass. My class loves earning these certificates!

Step Five: Think About Fast Finishers

No matter what theme you decide upon, you will have students that finish earlier than the rest of your class. Having an activity in place for those students is crucial for a number of reasons. First, you don’t want them to become bored or distract others. Second, you will have to worry about those students in the middle of helping other students if you do not have a plan in place. Finally, having an activity in place for fast finishers can provide enrichment or extension activities that high-ability students really enjoy.

doctor fast finisher activity

I like to have my students learn more about the theme of the day with a Google Slides “Mystery Find” Activity I assign them in Google Classroom (this also comes in printable posters or QR codes). Students who finish early are assigned the slides where they click on each slide to try and find the fun fact hiding on each page.

digital classroom transformation game

On the slide, students click around the room to find the fun fact. If they click on the wrong spot, this message will appear.

digital classroom transformation game

But, if they click on the right spot in the picture, a fun fact will appear. I have them copy down the fun fact on a piece of notebook paper or type up the fun facts they learn in a Google doc.

digital classroom transformation game

It’s a great way to keep fast-finisher students engaged while giving students who work at a slower pace time to finish the main set of activities.

digital classroom transformations

Classroom Transformations By Grade Level

Want to try out a classroom transformation in your classroom? I have pre-made, ready to go room transformations in both print and digital formats for grades K-5.

Kindergarten Classroom Transformations

1st Grade Classroom Transformations

2nd Grade Classroom Transformations

3rd Grade Classroom Transformations

4th Grade Classroom Transformations

5th Grade Classroom Transformations

Reading Classroom Transformations

Reading Classroom Transformation Add-On Packs

You may also like to read more about Doctor Day in detail right here. 

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Want to add some fun decorations to your next room transformation? I’ve got you covered right here with my Classroom Transformation Decoration Lists!

How to do Easy Classroom Transformations

10 tips for easy classroom transformations

Classroom transformations can be a LOT of fun, but they can also be overwhelming if you don’t have a plan in place. I am so excited to share 10 Tips for Easy Classroom Transformations! These will make your next room transformation go smoothly and efficiently.

(This post contains affiliate links. By purchasing through this link, we get a small commission–at no additional cost to you. Rest assured – we only share links to products that we use and love!)

Tip #1: Decide on a Time Frame

tip #1 decide what time frame your students need to complete the room transformation in

Are they going to have an hour to get this done? A whole afternoon? Or maybe even a whole week? It’s really up to you and what works best for your classroom.

And…do you want to focus on just math? Reading? Integrate all subjects into your room transformation? I personally like to choose one subject so I’m not overwhelmed having to do activity after activity after activity throughout the whole day.

classroom transformation coffee shop day

Also, I like to keep my room transformation to a “half day” period of time so we have some “normal school time” to fit in other things we need to accomplish while also having that “fun room transformation” time too.

If you’re having trouble deciding how long you’re going to set up your classroom transformation, these are some things to consider:

circus classroom transformation

Let’s say you’re trying to decide between a circus and a coffee shop theme. If you set up your room like a circus, you may want to keep that up longer than if you were doing a coffee shop day. When I set up coffee shop day, my students get a cup of hot chocolate at the end. That is not something that I can keep up for a whole week. A cup of hot chocolate isn’t going to stay fresh in my crockpot for more than a few hours.

coffee shop with crockpot hot chocolate

But the circus classroom transformation may do really well staying set up for a whole day (or even a few days) in the classroom. A circus classroom transformation is probably going to have a lot more decorations and you may want to keep them up for a weeklong unit or longer based on the time you spent putting them all up.

circus classroom transformation

Just make sure to try and balance your theme with the work you’re doing.

Tip #2: decide how students will work

tip #2 decide how students will work during the transformation ahead of time

This is very important because it’s going to affect the environment of your classroom transformation. Are your students going to work independently, in groups, in partners, in table groups? Are you going to the classroom transformation as a whole class?

students working on a classroom transformation

This is something you need to decide ahead of time so your classroom transformation runs smoothly. I like to have my students work in partners or independently depending on the class I have. Sometimes, students will be able to work in partners, and sometimes, you have a class that you know needs to complete everything independently. So do what’s right for your classroom.

student measuring a hammer with a ruler

Another thing to consider is will your students be walking around the room to complete each activity? Or, will they grab an academic challenge and bring it back to their desk to complete? Make sure you know these answers ahead of time so your day runs smoothly!

tip #3: decide on a work load

tip #3 how much work will students be expected to complete

Are they going to do worksheets, center activities, hands-on activities? That’s something that needs to be decided on ahead of time because students need to know exactly what’s expected of them.

worksheet with chocolate bar

I also like to give students a recording sheet when they come in the classroom so they’re able to see precisely what they need to get done and what they still have left while they are working. This shows what a recording sheet looks like for each student during restaurant chef day.

an example of a recording sheet

As the teacher, I have students bring their recording sheets over to me after each challenge or activity. This allows me to check their work frequently to ensure they are not making mistakes and holds them accountable for what they need to do.

kids holding up recording sheets during scientist day

Students can get feedback quickly from me on how they are doing and I can change who is working together if I see the work is not being completed in a timely manner.

tip #4: limit how long you set-up for

tip #4 give yourself a time limit for setting up your room

I promise you that if you give yourself an unlimited amount of time to set up your “easy” classroom transformation, you are going to stress yourself out! If you give yourself a limited amount of time, you’re going to have a wonderful day that is stress-free!

I set up my easy classroom transformation one of two ways. If I do it before school, I’ll come in 30 minutes before the bell rings to set up my decorations. And then when the bell rings, that’s what kids will see and get to enjoy. The bell is a perfect “stopper” for me because it prevents me from going past the goal I set for myself. If I didn’t manage to put up every single poster and tablecloth that I wanted to, that’s okay! The students are still going to enjoy the day! Do you think they’ll know that there are two tablecloths missing on your small group table? No!

classroom set up for rock star day

And, if I set up my classroom after school, I will simply stay a little late when the day is over. But I won’t stay there for hours and hours. I’ll work on it for 30 minutes after school. I may say to myself, “Okay, it’s 4:00 now. I’m going to stay here till 4:30 and get whatever I can set up for my classroom transformation.” And then whatever is set up in that time period, that’s what the kids get to enjoy. I like to stay after school when I definitely have to be at a certain place at a certain time (example: have to pick up a child from band practice at 4:30). This forces me to leave at the original time I set for myself.

classroom transformation for camping

Let’s pretend you’re setting up for a camping classroom transformation. If you set a time limit, you may run out of time 30 minutes later before you’re completely done decorating. It’s okay if you didn’t have time to set up the tent, and the lanterns, and the bonfires, and the chairs. Your students will be perfectly fine with one or two extra elements that they don’t see on a daily basis.

lots of blow up donuts

As teachers, we feel we need to do it all. We don’t! You’re already going above and beyond by doing a room transformation! Don’t stress yourself out. One year, I bought 12 donuts from Five Below because they were on sale for a dollar each. And yes, they looked cute during my room transformation. But the following year, I only put two out. Guess what? The room looked just as cute!

classroom set up like a donut shop

Here’s another example. The first time I did a bowling classroom transformation, I saw bowling sets on sale at Target for $5 each. I thought to myself, “I’m going to do a room transformation with 10 challenges so I need 10 bowling sets!” I got all 10 and was so excited.

bowling sets

But, when I set that time limit, I only got 3 of the bowling sets blown up in that time frame. My students did all ten academic challenges and walked over to one of the 3 bowling sets each time they finished to take their turn bowling. Did my students know that 7 bowling sets were missing? No! Did they need those 7 extra bowling sets to have fun? No!  It turned out that I didn’t actually need all of the bowling sets to make my vision work the way I wanted.

tip #5: use what you already have

tip #5 use what you already have when setting up your room

You would not believe the amount of items you can use for a classroom transformation around your house. Look in your garage, your kids’ rooms, the spare bedroom, the attic, in holiday decorations, and more. You don’t need to spend extra money to do a fun and easy classroom transformation.

For example, for a Halloween classroom transformation, I let my students wear their Halloween costumes to school. That didn’t cost me anything. Also, I took some Halloween decorations out of my attic and set them up in my classroom.

halloween classroom set up

The idea of reusing household materials will work for a lot of different classroom transformation themes. Any holiday classroom transformation usually lets you bring in decorations you can find in your attic. Doing a coffee shop classroom transformation? Bring in your coffee pot and give the kids some hot chocolate. Doing a firefighter classroom transformation? Bring in your garden hose to set the scene! Are you setting up a camping day? Bring in your beach chairs and a lantern. Walk around your house and see what ideas you come up with.

hawaii beach classroom transformation

And if you do want to spend money? Go to the Dollar Tree! You wouldn’t believe some of the great decorations I’ve found for cheap. For example, during the summer, the dollar store has lots of beach decorations. I do a Hawaiian Classroom Transformation that students love for less than $10 total. Students bring in their beach towels. I buy a few blue tablecloths that look like ocean water and leis. Then, we’re ready for a great day!

tip #6: have an activity ready for students when they enter

tip #6 have something for students to look at or complete as they come in the room

When students first see your classroom on room transformation days, they will show you how much they love it. They may even go a little crazy at first with their excitement. How do you avoid the chaos? Have something ready for them to complete so they can focus that excitement on something themed.

If your school is anything like mine, there is an arrival period where students slowly trickle into the room over the course of 30 minutes. Instead of explaining why the room is decorated over and over again, I give my students an activity to complete so we can go over directions together as a class when everyone has arrived.

race car classroom transformation

Some examples of ways to keep students engaged while they wait for everyone to arrive:

  • put directions on the board that have a theme on them
  • make a themed hat
  • color a coloring page
  • talk quietly with their table group about what they think will happen today
  • have them read a book
beach coloring page

There are so many options to choose from. Just make sure you have an activity in place so students are on task and not creating chaos around your classroom before the classroom transformation even begins.

tip #7: set your behavior expectations early

tip #7 set expectations before starting an activity

When students come in the morning, and they’re all excited, make sure you have a meeting to set up behavior expectations. This will set students up for a successful day right from the start. You want them to follow your behavior expectations that they follow every day during your classroom transformation too!

Make sure students know that they’re not allowed to get off task, they are not allowed to fool around. Tell them that you expect them to be engaged in the material and what the objective of the assignment is so there are no misunderstandings. This will curb a lot of problems down the road if you have this meeting right at the beginning.

student filling in a worksheet

You can also have a small prize in place at the end of your classroom transformation if you’d like. This is a great motivator for my students to work hard the entire time and dissuades students from engaging in poor behavior choices. It might be something as simple as a homework pass, a coloring page, or a certificate of completion.

clue using an invisible ink pen

For example, on detective day, students get to use an invisible ink pen to solve clues. If they solve the entire mystery, they get to keep that invisible ink pen. But, they may only keep it if they’ve met my expectations throughout the entire day.

the floor is lava classroom transformation set-up

Or, if you’re doing a classroom transformation like “The Floor is Lava”, you don’t want students o be dangerously jumping from chair to chair screaming at the top of their lungs. They can jump from chair to chair to escape the lava, but only in a safe way that you have shown them beforehand.

Students should know the expectations for the items you provide them to use or wear during a classroom transformation. They should know that those items aren’t meant to be broken, misused, or thrown around. The items are a privilege and will be taken away if the students cannot handle the responsibility.

tip #8: check in with students frequently

tip #8 check in with students as they complete work

Make sure that students know that you are going to be circling the room as they complete their activities. Sometimes, I’ll sit at a central location to check activities, and sometimes I’ll roam the room. It depends on what the room transformation is that day and what works for my particular set of students that year.

students sorting geometric shapes

All students have a recording sheet that I check each time that they complete a challenge. I’ll either sit at that central location and check each challenge they bring me. Or, I’ll circle the room and check challenges as I visit each group that is working. My class knows that they may not move onto another challenge until their current challenge has been checked. This helps ensure their understanding and lets me give them quick, effective feedback on each concept.

detective worksheets teacher checking

Classroom transformations are also a great time to get informal assessment data. You’re able to see which students are taking on a leadership role, which students are high-achievers, which students are struggling, which students are looking for others for guidance, and so much more. The informal data I receive from room transformations frequently tells me which students will need remediation on a concept the following week and which students will need enrichment activities.

tip #9: prepare for fast-finishers

tip #9 be prepared for fast finishers

No matter what class you have, and what room transformation you’re doing, there will be fast finishers. You want to make sure you have an activity pre-planned for those students so that they are not distracting others that are still working. This is also important so you don’t have to stop what you’re doing to assist them and they can enjoy some enrichment.

fast finisher activity ideas

Here are some ideas of what you could do if they finish early:

  • coloring page
  • make a themed hat
  • fun facts around the room (students copy down fun facts about the theme you’re studying on posters around the room, QR codes, or Google Slides)
  • read a book
  • work on unfinished work
  • help a student of your choosing who needs additional support
students completing fast finisher activity

It’s really easy to implement a fast-finisher activity for students as long as you plan ahead of time. The few times I have not had an activity ready to go, I’ve regretted it! It’s very hard to come up with something in the middle of a classroom transformation for early finishers to do when you still have 20 other students working. Plan ahead of time and have something ready for them. That way, you can hand out that fast finisher activity and keep working with students who are not done yet.

tip #10: have students help you

tip #10 have students help clean up at the end

Help students help you! It is not fun to have students leave school at the end of the day and you’re stuck taking down your entire room. Sometimes there are tablecloths and door decorations and posters and trash and worksheets everywhere. Classroom transformations can become messy when 30 kids are working all day long. Don’t let students leave you with the mess!

Take 5 or 10 minutes at the end of the day and let your class help you clean up. And guess what? Students LOVE  to help! If you have tablecloths up all over your room, show students how to fold them for you and put them away. Have you inflated a donut pool float to set the scene? Show students how to deflate it and put it back in its original box.

circus classroom transformation with kids working

I happen to have a bucket for each room transformation that everything goes into. That way, the following year I can grab the room transformation themed bucket that I need without any additional thought. When cleaning up each room transformation, I’ll say, “Table 1, you’re responsible for cleaning up the tablecloths and putting them in the box. Table 2, you’re responsible for taking all of the decor posters off the door and neatly putting them in the box. Table 3, please check for trash around the room and put it in the waste bin.” Every table group has a different task to complete so when the 5 minutes is over, you have your classroom back. And, you get to go home at a reasonable time when school’s over!

Another benefit of having your students help is that it makes the process very quick. This means that if you do your room transformation first thing in the morning, and want to switch to another activity after lunch, you can! Have students take 5 minutes before lunch to clean up the room and you’re ready for normal activities after lunch.

students working dinosaur classroom transformation

I hope you enjoyed these 10 tips for an easy classroom transformation that are just for you! To help make your next classroom transformation easier on you, I have made 40 free slides that can choose from! Choose any themed slide you’d like for your classroom and display it on your TV or smartboard.

If you have any questions, I’m always happy to chat about room transformations! Feel free to reach out at lindsaythelifetimelearner@gmail.com. You may also want a pre-made room transformation where all the work has been done for you. Check out my classroom transformations for grades K-5 below.

What Grade Level Are You Looking For?

Kindergarten Classroom Transformations

1st Grade Classroom Transformations

2nd Grade Classroom Transformations

3rd Grade Classroom Transformations

4th Grade Classroom Transformations

5th Grade Classroom Transformations

Reading Classroom Transformations

Reading Classroom Transformation Add-On Packs

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Want to add some fun decorations to your next room transformation? I’ve got you covered right here with my Classroom Transformation Decoration Lists!

How to Set Up a Classroom Transformation

How to do a Weekly Classroom Transformation

Have you heard of room transformations, but aren’t sure where to start? Believe it or not, I do a classroom transformation EVERY WEEK in my classroom. Let me show you step-by-step how to set up a classroom transformation. It’s a lot easier than you think!

(This post contains affiliate links. By purchasing through this link, we get a small commission–at no additional cost to you. Rest assured – we only share links to products that we use and love!)

classroom set up like a pet hospital

Classroom transformations can look like so much fun when you walk in the door with all of the decorations set up. But that doesn’t mean that students aren’t working hard! Don’t forget that the objective of a room transformation is to engage students in their learning–NOT seeing how many decorations you can pack inside one room.

How to Set up a Classroom Transformation: The Basics

I like to use a familiar format that my students are used to when we complete our classroom transformation each week. Because my classroom transformations all follow the same format, I do not have to go over directions week after week. This saves us a lot of time and my students are able to get to work quickly once they understand my initial expectations. For my classroom, it looks like this:

  • stations around the room
  • a recording sheet for each student to get marked off each time they complete an academic challenge
  • a small prize at the end for students who finish
  • some decorations around the room to excite students
  • clear expectations to keep students on task

Let’s chat about each of these items.

How to Set Up Decorations Around the Classroom

Students really enjoy classroom transformation days because it’s something different from the norm. But, that doesn’t mean you need to spend 5 hours after school getting ready for your classroom transformation the next day. Grab a few decorations, set a time limit for yourself, and decorate!

dinosaur classroom transformation with few decorations

There is no right or wrong way to set up your classroom. Here’s when I gave myself an hour to decorate for dinosaur day. I got some cheap green tablecloths from Dollar Tree, some leaves from Amazon, and gave each student a safari hat to wear too. It came out super cute!

Here’s my classroom for dinosaur day last year. I was stressed out, we were preparing for end-of-grade testing, and I only had about 15 minutes to set-up because I had a meeting that morning. I put a few dinosaur balloons out with a banner. My kiddos oohed and aahed over that set-up when they came in because it was something new and different. 

dinosaur door decor

Do you think one class had more fun than the other? NOPE! Don’t set unrealistic expectations for yourself! If you love decorating, set a timer for an hour and when that timer goes off, go home! I’m sure your room looks GREAT! And if you’re all about saving time, give yourself 15 minutes to add a few decorations and your class will be thrilled!

Decide What Skills You Want to Focus On

Since I do a classroom transformation every week, it’s pretty easy for me to decide which skill we’re going to focus on. I focus on whatever skill we learned that week! I like to do a classroom transformation the day before our assessment. I’ll introduce a new skill on Monday, we’ll practice it Tuesday/Wednesday, do a classroom transformation on Thursday, and take our unit assessment on Fridays.

students working dinosaur classroom transformation

Classroom transformations are really great at letting you see which students are excelling with a certain skill and which students need more practice. Completing a room transformation tells me which students I need to remediate with the following week and which students will need enrichment activities.

Think About How Students Will Complete Activities

Another benefit of a classroom transformation can be letting you group students together the best way you see fit. Do you know certain students are struggling with multiplication strategies? Pair them up during the room transformation with students who are doing well with that skill. Or, let your higher ability students work independently and pull your students who need extra help to the back table to work with you during the room transformation. Classroom transformations are meant to be flexible so you can group students however you need.

student working

Give each Student a Recording Sheet

A recording sheet really helps keep students accountable for their work. Each week, I choose how to set up a classroom transformation the same way. I have ten academic challenges around the room that students need to complete by the end of the day. After students complete each challenge, they come see me to be checked before moving on to another challenge.

students holding recording sheets

This picture shows students with a dinosaur recording sheet. They got to cut out a dinosaur fossil and glue it on their recording sheet each time they finished an academic challenge paper. The picture below shows an example of an academic challenge paper and the recording sheet being signed by me after each challenge.

dinosaur worksheets

I like using a recording sheet for each child because it’s a visual reminder for each student how much work they still have left. I will call out reminders during the class period like “You should have 2/10 challenges done by now. Use your time wisely!” or “You should be halfway done at this point. If you do not have half of your challenges completed by this point, you may no longer work with a partner. Please return to your seat and work individually until you have caught up.”

By using this familiar format each week, students know exactly what’s expected of them and learn time management skills as the year progresses.

Set Behavior Expectations and Stick To Them

The first few times I do a classroom transformation, we spend a good chunk of time going over behavior expectations so that students understand that the activity is not just about having fun. Our objective is to learn and anyone who isn’t doing that will not participate.

student safari hats with recording sheets

I let my students decide if they would like to work in partners or independently (whatever suits their learning style best). However, I warn them that if they do get off-task, they will not participate and will do the activities independently at their desk without the ability to earn a small prize at the end. This way, I do not have to plan an alternative activity for students who are misbehaving and they are motivated to stay on task (because they do not want to lose the privileges of moving around the room, working with friends, and the ability to earn a prize).

Let Your Class Help You

When our classroom transformation is over for the day, I let students help clean up the mess. I will assign each table group a different task. Because of this, we are able to clean-up the entire room transformation in about 5 minutes. I may have one group collect all of the tablecloths and fold them neatly so we can re-use them. Another table will go around and clean up scraps. There may also be a table going around collecting extra worksheets on the floor that haven’t been completed.

worksheets and leaves on the floor

For the dinosaur day classroom transformation, I had groups:

  • folding up green tablecloths and putting them in a reusable bin for next year
  •  taking decorations off the door
  • collecting leaves and putting them in a zip-loc bag for next year
  • picking up the dinosaur posters I laminated so we can use them next year
  • organizing the blank worksheets that weren’t completed in my copy bin so next year’s class can use them

I promise that classroom transformations can be easy and fun to do! You don’t have to save them for once or twice a year if you find a routine that works for your class. In summary, my best tips for how to set up a classroom transformation are to save what you print/buy so you can re-use it for the next year, use a familiar format so students know what to do, set clear expectations for student behavior, and let students help you put-up/take-down decorations.

kid dressed up for dinosaur day

Do you have questions about how to set up a classroom transformation? I’m always happy to chat about classroom transformations! Email me at lindsaythelifetimelearner@gmail.com if you have any questions!

Are you looking for pre-made classroom transformations you can simply print-and-go? Check these out!

What Grade Level Are You Looking For?

Kindergarten Classroom Transformations

1st Grade Classroom Transformations

2nd Grade Classroom Transformations

3rd Grade Classroom Transformations

4th Grade Classroom Transformations

5th Grade Classroom Transformations

Reading Classroom Transformations

Reading Classroom Transformation Add-On Packs

You may also enjoy this article called “10 Tips for Easy Classroom Transformations”.

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Want to add some fun decorations to your next room transformation? I’ve got you covered right here with my Classroom Transformation Decoration Lists!

What in the world is a Classroom Transformation?

what is a classroom transformation

Have you ever wondered “what is a classroom transformation?” A classroom transformation changes your room into a certain setting or theme to engage students in their own learning with rigorous content. A few examples are changing your classroom into a safari, a donut shop, or a pet hospital! 

(This post contains affiliate links. By purchasing through this link, we get a small commission–at no additional cost to you. Rest assured – we only share links to products that we use and love!)

classroom set up like a donut shop

When many people first learn about room transformation, they think:

  • This is going to take me hours to set up.
  • This is going to cost me so much money.
  • This looks so overwhelming.
  • I could never do this!

BUT, what if I told you classroom transformations could be easy to set up, fun to implement, and stress-free? You don’t have to spend hours of your time setting up a classroom transformation or spend lots of money to make it SO MUCH FUN!

classroom set up like a safari

Starting Your First Classroom Transformation

Classroom transformations can definitely be overwhelming at first! You may be thinking to yourself–“What is a classroom transformation I can do that isn’t going to take me hours to set up?” But the most important thing to remember is that YOU get to decide how much “transforming” is going to take place. And, to do a room transformation successfully, you do not need to go all out! I promise that with a few simple changes to your classroom, your students will be highly engaged and learning more than you could have ever imagined!

classroom transformation coffee shop day

Classroom transformations are possible in every classroom! I’m going to show you how fun and simple a room transformation can be.

What is a Classroom Transformation I Can Easily Do?

There are hundreds of classroom transformation themes out there for you to explore with your class. You can grab 40 classroom transformation ideas right here for free. 

Some of the easiest classroom transformation days I’ve done are coffee shop day, transforming my classroom into a donut shop, a zoo, a firefighter training day, a restaurant, a grocery store, a dinosaur bone mission, and more. 

It’s easy to use items around your house or find cheap items at the Dollar Store to make your room transformation come to life. 

kids dressed as firefighters

For firefighter day, I asked my local fire department for free hats I could hand out to my class. After they completed each academic challenge, they got to put on a ski suit I found in my closet. They pretended that they were trying to put on a “real firefighter suit” in under a minute! I also brought in my garden hose for them to practice “rolling up” in teams as one of our challenges. If you can dream it, you can do it in your classroom (for cheap!)

How Does a Classroom Transformation Engage Students?

Classroom transformations instantly engage students because they grab their attention as soon as they walk into the room. Imagine you’re a student who has just walked into a classroom where the floor has turned to lava. You definitely want to know what’s going on and what’s going to be happening in class that day!

the floor is lava classroom transformation

This is an example of my classroom during covid when I turned the floor to lava. The desks were in rows due to pandemic regulations and I simply laid the lava down between each row of desks. It took me no more than 15 minutes to set up and the kids had a blast!

the floor is lava classroom transformation set-up

This is an example of my classroom pre-covid when I turned the floor into lava. I put some extra work into it (about 45 minutes setting up the room) and my students loved it! But my question is–do you think one class had more fun than the other based on the decorations I put up? The answer is NO! Both classes enjoyed the activity equally and learned a LOT! That’s the most important takeaway!

kids standing in front of a lava backdrop

Altering your classroom environment in a few simple ways is the answer to “what is a classroom transformation”. The answer is not spending hours agonizing over the perfect room set-up. It’s also not spending hundreds of dollars making your room look fantastic. The answer is enjoying the special time with your students in an activity you don’t do every day. 

What Academic Content Should I Use?

circus classroom transformation with kids working

Whatever content you’d like! I like to do a room transformation at the end of each unit I teach. Classroom transformations can help you see which students need more practice with a particular skill and which students are ready to move onto more difficult content.

I plan the skills I would like my students to practice first and then build the activities around the skills I identify. In the above picture, students were working on multiplication strategies. To make it hands-on, I let them use popcorn to make equal groups for equations like 3×4 or 5×6. They were practicing their multiplication skills while at a circus at the same time!

My editable classroom transformations allow you to easily change the content to whatever your class needs to focus on.

What Grade Level Are You Looking For?

Kindergarten Classroom Transformations

1st Grade Classroom Transformations

2nd Grade Classroom Transformations

3rd Grade Classroom Transformations

4th Grade Classroom Transformations

5th Grade Classroom Transformations

Reading Classroom Transformations

Reading Classroom Transformation Add-On Packs

Classroom transformations can be so much fun if you give them a chance! They are the BEST engagement technique I have found for reluctant learners and put a smile on ALL students’ faces when they enter the room. 

classroom set up like a pet hospital

I love to chat about room transformations and am here to help! Reach out anytime if you have any questions about how to implement your own classroom transformation. You can reach me at lindsaythelifetimelearner@gmail.com.

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Want to add some fun decorations to your next room transformation? I’ve got you covered right here with my Classroom Transformation Decoration Lists!