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How to Plan A Classroom Transformation 

Have you thought about doing a classroom transformation in your classroom? I have been seeing full-blown classroom transformations on Instagram and have always wanted to create one myself. This school year, I finally planned my own, and I wanted to share some tips I found on how to plan a classroom transformation. 

There are many different already planned classroom transformations available on Teachers Pay Teachers and I have done a few or portions of some in the past. My students have always enjoyed the fun and interactive parts of transformations because somehow doing the same work as a doctor or in a camping-themed environment just seems that much more fun! 

Picture of classroom desks set up as tents with paper for a classroom transformation. Text reads: classroom transformations can be as simplore or in depth as you want.
I have used various camping themed classroom transformations that I have found on Teachers Pay Teachers. Students LOVE the idea of camping and besides getting the butcher paper, it is relatively low prep. I have students create their tent and I copied pre-made materials.

While there are a lot of fun and creative classroom transformations that already exist, I decided I wanted to create my own to relate specifically to my classroom. My classroom is llama themed and my students know I love llamas. It only seemed natural to plan a Llama Classroom Transformation on December 9, which is National Llama Day. 

Here are some tricks and steps on how to plan a classroom transformatio

Pick a Theme

Helpful tip for a classroom transformation includes picking a theme

The first thing you will need to do is pick a theme. Is there something that is special to you and your students? Is there an upcoming event or holiday that lends itself to a room transformation (like National Llama Day!) Use this list of national days to help get your ideas flowing. 

You can also design a theme around a place, a novel you are reading, a sporting event coming up, or a specific unit you are teaching. The ideas are really endless! 

Use your Resources and TpT

Tip for a classroom transformation is use your resources and TpT

When looking for different activities, I started by looking at resources that I already have. For example, my school has a subscription to Raz-Kids and The Mailbox. These were some of the first places I checked for different resources related to Llamas. During the beginning stages, I made a list of all the free resources I could find and where they could tie in. Later, I could go through this list and select my favorite resources.

Picture of teacher searching Teachers Pay Teachers for Classroom Transformation Resources with text that reads A TpT search can help you find almost anything you need.
Teachers Pay Teachers is always one of my go-to places to look for resources! There are plenty of free resources, but I also LOVE the paid resources I can find. Especially when they fit the exact criteria I am looking for!

After taking a look at what I could get for free, I also looked on TpT for different llama resources. I found some great ones that happened to connect to our curricular goals and some others that we incorporated just for fun! 

Even though llama-themed materials for a classroom transformation are not the most popular on TpT or other resources, I was able to find more than I needed to make the day work!

Keep Ideas Simple and Related to Curriculum Goals

Classroom transformation tip: Keep ideas simple and related to curriculum goals

Once when you have a theme in mind, think about what you are teaching or skills your students could use a review of. Once you have an idea of different areas you want to work on, it is easy to tweak some of the skills to meet the theme. 

For example, my class was working on compare and contrast writing around Llama Day. I decided it would be great to have students write a compare and contrast paragraph about llamas and camels. I just did a Google search, “Compare and Contrast Llamas and Camels” and was able to pull up information. I put this information into a Venn Diagram that students would use as a graphic organizer for their paragraph writing. I added some clip art and *viola* a perfectly tied in writing assignment.

A Venn diagram comparing and contrasting llamas and camels as an example of connecting current curriculum goals into a classroom transformation theme
I quickly made this Venn Diagram to support students in writing a compare and contrast paragraph related to llamas. This was already a skill we had been working on, so this was an additional writing practice my students could try and it was easy to connect to a llama theme.

For math, I looked at the fractions math assignment my teammates were giving the same day. I created task cards with llama clipart and copied and pasted the problems into a task card format instead of a traditional worksheet. Students completed the exact same activity, but it seemed different because I changed it into a llama-themed task card activity.

Look at the resources you already have or see how you can adapt your current resources to match the theme. I made math skills with animal jokes pages a few years ago, and it just so happened that our current skill of fractions tied into llamas perfectly!

Reach out to Collaborate 

Classroom Transformation Tip Reach out and Collaborate

One of the best resources available are the other teachers in my building! As I was building my list of ideas and activities, I also reached out to my librarian, technology integrationist, and other teacher friends. My coworkers were able to help me come up with additional ideas and served as a sounding board as I was coming up with different ideas. 

My technology integrationist was able to create some really amazing activities for my students to complete. She had recently received drones for our students to use, and she used Llama Day for the first time to try them out with students. We put a llama stuffed animal in a separate classroom and the students worked together to code the drone to fly over to the llama.

Students had a great time trying to get to the llama while also working on their coding skills. The activity itself really didn’t have anything to do with llamas, but a quick stuffed animal, and like *magic* it related to our classroom transformation. 

Of course, you might not have access to staff members like a tech integrationist or a drone… but don’t let that stop you from asking around! Ask your teammates and look on Instagram or other social media to ask for ideas. You can also ask your students for their ideas. My students were excited to share different ideas we could do!

Teachers working together around a table to collaborate on ideas.
When you work with their colleagues, you can bounce off ideas together and share ideas. Together, other teachers can help you brainstorm and come up with ideas.

Get All Students Involved 

Classroom Transformation Tip: Get all students involved

It is fun to provide ways for all the students to be part of the fun. For Llama Day, we all made llama necklaces the day before for students to wear on Llama Day. Think of a fun or inexpensive way to get your students dressed in theme. Can you make a hat, necklace, bracelet, or something else? Students were so excited to have a way to celebrate during the day!

Find Inexpensive Decorations

Classroom Transformation Tip: Find inexpensive decorations

While I don’t think that decorations are completely necessary, but I do think they help with the overall classroom transformation look. I went to Target and looked in the party section to find streamers and hanging decorations. I added some llama pictures I had on the decorations and let students walk through the streamers to enter our classroom.

For this classroom transformation we celebrated Illinois’ 200th birthday party. These decorations are dollar store table clothes and butcher paper. The simple decorations can make a difference.

Get Ready for Lots of Fun

Classroom transformation tip: Get ready for FUN!

For my Llama Day, I really dressed the part with a llama onesie and blue tutu. I mean, doesn’t everyone have a llama onesie in the back of their closets? Some students not in my class wished me a Happy Birthday, and while it wasn’t my birthday, it might as well have been because I had such a great day! 

Students came into school so excited for the day, were so engaged, and we had so much fun! Not only did we enjoy ourselves, we also learned a lot about llamas and practiced many important skills. Classroom transformations are just one way to see increased engagement in the classroom.

I hope you try a classroom transformation if you are thinking about it! While it definitely requires some planning, it wasn’t as complicated as you might think. I hope these tips and suggestions can help you if you are planning a classroom transformation!

Make Every Teaching Moment Count!

Signature that says, "Love, Julie from Llama with Class"
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