A room transformation is an instructional technique that helps us engage our students by bringing real world scenarios into the classroom. It is exactly what it sounds like – teachers transform their classrooms into something else in order to pique students’ interest.
Room transformations are super trendy right now, but many teachers are concerned that in order to implement one, they have to spend a lot of time and money. Fortunately, that doesn’t have to be the case!
I am a firm believer that creating engaging lessons shouldn’t cost a lot of time or money, and room transformations are no exception! Today I’m sharing with you my super simple tips for creating a successful room transformation.
First Things First, Content is Key
Before I get into my tips, the first thing I want to stress is that content is the most important part of a room transformation. I do not believe that you NEED all the bells and whistles, decor, etc. for your lesson to be considered a classroom transformation. It can definitely add some sparkle, but sparkle isn’t always necessary.
First and foremost, focus on making sure you have rigorous and engaging content. You can get room transformation lessons on TpT, or you can create your own. Your lesson can still be successful without all the extra stuff.
Great! Now that we have that out of the way, let’s talk about how you can add the extra stuff if you wish to do so.
Keep Room Transformation Decorations Minimal
My first tip is to keep any decorating to a minimum. This will not only save you money, but time as well since you don’t have as much to worry about.
There are some pretty extravagant room transformations out there, and that’s great! But not every time has to be a big production. None of them have to be, actually, if that’s not your thing.
A few small decorations can go a long way! For example, if you are doing a restaurant theme, you can get a few plastic tablecloths at the dollar store to put over student desks and leave it at that.
Or, for a camping themed room transformation, you could pitch a tent in the corner. You may already have a tent, or probably know someone who would let you borrow one for a day. Decorations can be kept super simple and still make a huge difference!
Wear A Costume
Many teachers will wear a costume for a room transformation, and some will even get one for their students! I don’t think it’s necessary to get every student a costume, but just the teacher wearing one can really make an impact.
Even if you opt for no decorations in your classroom, wearing a simple costume and role-playing will still communicate to your students the theme you are going for. Your costume doesn’t need to be all-out; it can just be one item over your normal clothes.
For example, when I did the Place Value Hospital with my class, I put on a white lab coat and pretended to be a doctor. I didn’t do any fancy decorations – I just put on a coat. It made a huge difference!
If you are doing a diner-themed transformation, you could simply wear an apron. This would also work for a bakery-themed room transformation, or you could wear a chef’s hat instead. If you are playing a detective, a simple trench coat would do the trick.
One other thing on this point, I think it is also helpful to not just wear the costume but play the part. If you are wearing a trench coat, be a detective. If you are wearing scrubs, be the doctor. Students love it when we role play!
Ask for Donations
If you really want to get your students in a costume, or have certain decorations you really want to utilize, don’t hesitate to ask for donations. Many local businesses or organizations are happy to donate to your classroom!
Doing a hospital-themed room transformation? Reach out to your local hospital! Many teachers have been able to get donations for surgical attire, such as gloves or caps, for their students to wear.
Bakery or restaurant theme? Check with a store in your area to see if they have any items they’d be willing to donate, such as boxes or to-go menus that you might be able to utilize.
Involve the Community in Your Room Transformation
Another tip is to ask for HELP! Involve the community. Reach out to your students’ families and your own friends for help with planning or creating things for your room transformation. Your friends may have great ideas or items you can borrow!
You never know what resources others have that you don’t know about. Maybe you are planning to do a football transformation and you have a friend that knows Dak Prescott (Cowboys fan over here) and can get him to come visit your class. How cool would that be?? And, it didn’t cost you any time or money!
Transforming your classroom does NOT have to be a daunting task! If you reach out for help, ask for donations, and eliminate the unnecessary (not wrong! Just unnecessary) grandiose we often see on social media, it can be so much simpler to pull off while still being engaging for your students!