Classroom transformations are something I have learned to love to incorporate to add instant student engagement. Over my seven years of teaching kindergarten, I have done a different transformation almost every year depending on my class and their interests.
I know what you might be thinking – Stephanie, classroom transformations are exhausting and expensive! You’re right, they can be! I started perusing Pinterest and boy did I feel overwhelmed! I’ve learned you don’t need to spend money to make classroom transformations magical! In fact, for a lot of these transformations, I let students take part in decorating with me the Thursday before (we do transformations on Fun Friday to end the week). You can use construction paper and craft / bulletin board paper from your school (if available) for an easy and free way to decorate! Plus, you increase student buy in when they see their decorations the next day! Win – win!!
These 5 classroom transformations are easy, low – prep, little to no cost, and student – approved!
Before the start of school, I love to get students excited with this classroom transformation! I send students an invitation in the mail with “Top Secret” information on when and where our Meet the Teacher will be. Students and their families come in to the school to find our classroom, and participate in the scavenger hunt to learn important places in the room.
I welcome students with the “Pink Panther” theme song playing on my speakers (on repeat), and clues hidden around the room with 6 places for them to find and check off the checklist.
I use the editable pack (linked here) from Meredith @creativitytothecore and reuse the pieces to make detective tags, the printable checklist, and decorate the room!
The clues in the scavenger hunt showcase different parts of the classroom. One of the scavenger hunt activities is an idea from Cara Caroll to use these self-addressed envelopes to write thank you notes to families in the first week of school.
While families are coming in, I also make sure to greet students and families at the door with a handshake, fist bump, or high five with my magnifying glass in hand. It’s a great way to start a positive first impression and begin building strong relationships with students and families!
I use caution tape from the Dollar Tree (or you could even ask your janitor for some) and use black construction paper to tape footprints to the floor entering the classroom for a zero cost classroom transformation.
I also like to use caution tape in my classroom library and around the room for this transformation which serves two purposes:
- It’s an easy decoration for detective day!
- My classroom (that I worked so hard on getting ready and organized for the year) maintains in tact until we take down the caution tape pieces as a class during Kindergarten Boot Camp. It’s a perfect visual to remember each part of the room we have talked about routines and procedures for, and which parts we haven’t discussed yet.
I have been doing this classroom transformation each year – and kids, families, and even their siblings absolutely love it! You could easily implement this for back to school this year!
Kindergarten Boot Camp is my second classroom transformation I do around the second week or so of school to make learning routines, procedures, and expectations fun!
Each day of Boot Camp has a different theme. Kindergarten Cadets are in training as they learn how to use scissors, hold / write / erase with a pencil, color with 3 star coloring, use glue bottles and glue sticks, and more essential expectations and procedures for the year.
To prep for Kindergarten Boot Camp, I use brown craft paper on my classroom door, and print the letters for Boot Camp to make a banner on my classroom door.
For added fun, I like to wear camo outfits throughout the week, and students are encouraged to do the same! This is of course optional but adds to the fun! If you want any camo clothes or ideas for decorating, I have them saved to my Boot Camp Essentials here on Amazon.
As students learn a new skill each day, they earn a brag tag for their best work!
Spoiler alert: Not every child earns a brag tag for every skill every day!
Yep – you heard me! I make sure to preface boot camp with the fact that every child in our classroom family learns differently – and that is okay. So, when a student doesn’t earn a brag tag yet for one of the skills, it’s no big deal. No one gets upset – instead, that child practices and when they do earn that brag tag, our entire class celebrates their success and hard work!
Boot Camp is also a time when we really build expectations as well as our classroom family! We cheer one another on, we work as a team, and begin to build friendships.
I was even able to easily implement Kindergarten Boot Camp virtually this past year, and students and families had a blast learning from home!
You can grab my Kindergarten Boot Camp pack here to try it in your own classroom! Your students will thank you! 😉
Not long after boot camp, in September, one of our newer favorite classroom transformations is Rockstar Day!
Rock Star Day is another favorite in our class each year both in person and virtually! It’s a great reason to celebrate students’ successes – and you can get your team or school on board and celebrate rockstar teachers, principals, and families, too!
For this classroom transformation, I grabbed a red carpet paparazzi background from Amazon (that I reuse for VIP Awards Day at the end of the year) along with some inflatable guitars for extra fun! You can check out some of my favorites on my Rock Star Day Amazon list here.
We do some different rock n’ roll themed centers throughout the day, and take a moment to celebrate what makes us each a rockstar! I like to use the red craft paper from school to roll out the red carpet and make students feel extra excited for the day of rockin’ learning!
I make sure to take a quick picture of each child (or have a para educator or family volunteer do this). It makes a special keepsake to remember why each child is a rockstar learner – and what makes our classroom family so unique!
One of our favorites for reading time during this special day is Rock Star Story Time:
Virtually, we participated in this special day with some rockin’ math problems, letter matching activities, and digital centers. Students had a blast at home and used our virtual microphone to share what makes them a rockstar virtual learner!
Rockstar Day is one you could do any time of year to celebrate students and learning – Fall, Winter, Spring, or End of the Year!
This classroom transformation was inspired by one of my former student teachers, Miss Lavette! My class that year absolutely loved Legos and building – so this was the perfect day to play on student interests as we worked on centers where students built CVC words, built teen numbers, practiced syllables, and more.
The easiest part of this day was using materials donated from our local Home Depot – they were so kind to give us nuts and bolts for students to use for counting! We also had a kind parent lend us the construction vests for the day for added fun, and I bought plastic yellow hard hats from Amazon for students to wear.
You can grab the plastic hard hats here on Amazon.
We used a folder to carry around to all of the centers that day and did lots of hands on learning! My student teacher had some fantastic ideas for learning on this day like building ten with nuts and bolts.
You can grab the centers we did for a low-prep construction day here:
We also did this one in the Spring for virtual kindergarten and the kids had a blast! I just made paper versions of numbers and letters (now included in the pack above) and it was just as fun as in person.
Baseball Day is something my class earns for mastering their Baseball sight words (you can read more about the Ball Word / Sight Words from Marsha McGuire here). So this classroom transformation is a little extra special since it means the entire class has mastered their baseball sight word list!
Most of the centers we use on this day are from Katie Mense (@littlekinderwarriors). I put students in groups of 2-3 and then rotate through math and reading centers for the whole day. We practiced building ten, CVC words, numbers in base ten, addition, and our baseball sight words.
At the end of the room transformation, we celebrated all together at recess by learning to play baseball as a whole class. Every practiced hitting the ball at least once, and running the bases! Baseball day definitely knocked it out of the park!