The Best Test Prep Classroom Transformations for Student Engagement

test prep classroom transformations

With end-of-the-year testing approaching, it can be challenging to find fun, engaging test prep material for your students. However, I have a perfect solution for you to try. With the test prep classroom transformations we are about to discuss, students learn and have plenty of fun at the same time! Today, we will talk about 4 of these room transformations that especially help students with test prep. I like to do all 4 the week before our testing days so I can tell exactly what my students know and what they still need more practice with. You can cater these activities to meet each of your student’s needs and make sure everyone does well on testing. Instead of reviewing feeling like a drill, these test prep classroom transformations make it an enjoyable process the kids look forward to.

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rock star classroom transformation

rock star day in classroom as test prep classroom transformations idea with hats on desk and stars hanging from ceiling

Every student needs a boost of confidence for test days, and pumping them up to be rock stars before testing is a great way to motivate them. This rock star transformation is both simple and exciting to set up. Each student receives rock star hats and cut-out stars can be hung from the ceiling. Decorative posters are also included and can be added to doors and walls to set the scene! If your students are taking the STAAR, it’s easy to tie that into the theme of the day as well.

All you need to do to set up is print posters, challenges, and a recording sheet for each student. Students travel around the room and complete a challenge at each poster. Be sure to check up on your kids to see how they’re doing throughout the day. I like to put students into groups so they can help each other while working, which means there are fewer kids coming up to me and asking for help. Click here to read about Rock Star Day in detail.

rock star poster with academic challenge under it

There is an additional twist included in this classroom transformation as well. If a student gets an answer wrong, they have to draw a chance card from the bucket at my table, which could end in varying results. For example, a “caught” card means they have to go back and complete an autograph card at the previous station. A “safe” card allows them to move on to the next challenge without having to sign an autograph. Either way, there is a math fact fluency component added to make sure each student understands the challenge before moving on.

caught and safe cards

floor is lava classroom transformation

test prep classroom transformations idea of floor is lava day set up with red tablecloths on floor

The Floor is Lava classroom transformation is one of my favorites for student engagement. My class always says this is their favorite too out of all the test prep classroom transformations. Since students are already familiar with the game “the floor is lava,” it’s easy for them to catch onto the rules and jump straight into the challenges. Around the room, red tablecloths are laid to symbolize the lava.

I also like to make safe zones that are marked by green (grass) or yellow (sand) tablecloths. You can easily find these tablecloths at Walmart or Dollar Tree, making it a cost-friendly event! To make it easier for students to move around, a tip would be to rearrange the furniture so students can either walk across chairs or simply remain in the safe zones. Every classroom is different. One year, I let my students walk on chairs, and one year I just put rows of lava between the rows of desks. It is very easy to be flexible! Make sure to discuss expectations with your students before the day starts so everyone can safely have fun while working on their test prep. Learn more about The Floor is Lava Day right here!

test prep classroom transformations idea of floor is lava day set up with red tablecloths on floor

Lava-themed posters are included in this classroom transformation! You can print them out and add them to your door to make it extra exciting as students enter the room. Another idea is to set them around the room and immerse the kids in the landscape. The best part is that all of this is very easy to set up, and kids can even help you clean up at the end of the day!

the floor is lava poster examples

dinosaur classroom transformation

dinosaur day classroom decorated

What student wouldn’t love a dinosaur-themed test prep? In this Dinosaur classroom transformation, kids are told they are paleontologists who are exploring the dinosaur world throughout your classroom. Each student gets a recording sheet and they travel around the room to find and complete each dinosaur challenge. Posters, tropical leaves, and special hats make the classroom feel extra special and immersive. Kids can also “dig” for fossils and glue the ones they need onto their paper! At the end of the day, each student receives a prize like a dinosaur balloon or a dinosaur egg, which is the perfect incentive to keep them working on their test prep. Want to implement Dino Day in your classroom? Find out all the dino details here.

dinosaur balloons on display in front of dino day poster

An additional enrichment activity included is for fast finishers. Since every student works at their own pace, it is important to have an activity for those who finish early, which is why I have included three options for you to pick from! In all of them, kids learn fun facts about dinosaurs. The first option is to print out posters with dinosaur fun facts and hang them around the room. Students must copy down these facts to finish. The second option is to have your kids scan QR codes with a tablet and then write down the fun facts on a sheet of paper. The last option is for students who are using the Google Slides version of this transformation. All they have to do is click on the dinosaur characters to “hunt down” each fun fact.

dinosaur activities on ipad, paper, and QR code

hawaiian classroom transformation

hawaii day with tablecloths up coming down from ceiling and kids dressed in beach clothes

Hawaii classroom transformation is a fun, summer beach-themed way to practice test prep with your kids. With each activity they complete, they get to experience Hawaii a little more. Finding decorations for this transformation is easy! Hawaiian posters are already included for you to use and put up around the room for students to enjoy. You can also find summer-themed items at the Dollar Tree this time of year and decorate your classroom for under $10! You can use tablecloths of different colors for desks and small group tables, hang up palm tree leaves, and even give out leis to each student. Another idea is to let your students bring beach towels. Setting up doesn’t have to be stressful – it’s much easier than you think! Get step-by-step instructions on Hawaii Day in this blog post.

hawaiian classroom transformation test prep classroom transformation idea

If you want to give your students something relaxing to do after they complete the challenge, a coloring page is a great activity for them to work on. It can be used for fast finishers or as a fun reward. In my classroom, I give students the option to take their coloring page home or allow them to hang it on the side of their desk for the rest of the week. It is an awesome destresser before testing!

beach coloring page

I hope you liked these test prep classroom transformations! For more information on any of them, make sure to read the classroom transformation blog posts up close. Which one are you planning to try with your students? Good luck this test prep season, and feel free to reach out with any questions you have!

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!

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