Rock and Roll Themed Classroom Transformation

Friday, September 6, 2019 1 comment
Please note that this blog post contains Amazon Affiliate links.
I love a good classroom transformation, yall know that! When GYTO announced their first ever Rock Your School Day last year, I just KNEW I had to do a Rock & Roll themed transformation. Rock Your School is a day focused on creating an out of the box experience for the students in your class! You can do any theme, lesson, or activity you like, but I went with a Rock and Roll Transformation. For details about Rock Your School Day - click HERE. Ok- on to the ROCKIN' TRANSFORMATION!

First off - I always love to SET THE STAGE but giving my students some sort of ticket the day before the transformation. This gives them a clue that the next day will be something different and special and gets them SUPER excited about coming to school the next day! You can grab the ticket I made for free HERE.

Let's talk DECOR....
This transformation was very simple for decor, which I LOVE. It didn't take terribly long to set up and supplies were easy to find and grab.  For my tables, I purchased black and red tablecloths from Amazon, along with piano runners. I then sprinkled guitar picks down the tables. For my walls - I bought extra black tablecloths to hang on my back wall. I also hung a banner I found on Amazon on my back wall. I created a "stage" area at the front of my room with gold streamers and boxes I turned into speakers. I grabbed some of my moms old records and using fishing line I hung them from the ceiling. I also gave my students a special "back stage" pass that they wore all day. The pass can be downloaded for free from my TPT store HERE, and the lanyards I bought can be found HERE. I let my students take their pass home, but kept the lanyards and I have used them for many different transformations since then! They were worth the money for sure!

During the school day, I had the lights turned off, but so that you can see things better in pictures, I turned the lights on. When the lights where off, I had two disco balls going to really set the mood! I keep these up in my room ALL year and I used them for many different reasons! They are a great addition to any classroom!

Let's talk Content...
For content, we did a mix of reading, math, and STEM challenges, all of which were rock and roll themed. I will do my best to break down each activity so that you can get an idea as to what we did, but remember to do what works for your classroom! When I have students in my classroom, I don't take many pictures, so I don't have as many photos of these activities. Sorry! To start the day, students created an album cover for their group for the day. This gave me a few minutes to get attendance taken, etc. before we got into the content. 

Math: For Math, we did an around the school scavenger hunt. If you have been reading my blog posts for a while, you know I LOVE these. With clear expectations and directions, they are a FUN way to allow for math practice. I choose to make these math questions more difficult since there are only eight. For these around the school scavenger hunts I prefer to make the questions multi-step and I like them to include more problem solving. For this scavenger hunt, students receive a joke, and then they work through eight math problems, along with clues, to complete the riddle. It is always a blast! I have posted a 5th grade version for sale HERE, but you can also use the editable slides to create your own math problems if 5th grade ones won't work for your students.

Reading - For reading, one of my awesome coworkers created a digital
breakout using songs. Unfortunately I don't have this available to share with you guys, but hopefully it will give you an idea of something you could create yourself! Digital breakouts are easy to create using passages and a Google form! We chose to use song lyrics instead of passages on Rock Your School day and it was a huge success! 

Context Clues  - Another reading activity we do is practicing determining the
meaning of unknown words using context clues. My plan is to pair this activity with a fun rock and roll themed game! Any ideas? Ha! I'll report back when I decide what I plan on playing with them! Currently - I am thinking about doing a guitar pick "toss" game! Students will toss a guitar pick into a "crowd" aka a solo cup or something similar. Each solo cup will be worth different points. The purpose of this game is to mimmick what famous musicians do at the end of a concert! They often toss their guitar pick into the crowd for a lucky fan!

STEM Challenge - Build a STRONG STAGE!I can't even lie to you guys. This was my favorite activity we did last year. Students work together to build the STRONGEST stage. I was SHOCKED at how strong some of my students built their stages last year using only a few simply materials! You can purchase this activity HERE.

Map Skills - My goal this year is to tie in map skills to this transformation because it is what we are working on in social studies! My plan is to blow up a GIANT map of the United States and create a tour schedule that my students will manipulate in order to practice their map skills.

Overall - this was such a fun and simple first transformation and I can't wait to do it again this year. I'll report back with changes I make and things I add after September 19th! Let me know if you have any questions!

First Week of School: Activities and Ideas

Sunday, August 11, 2019 No comments
This blog post contains Amazon Affiliate links. 
 The first week of school is always a FUN time because it involves all things
team building, organization, and relationships. I like to mix in rules and procedures with
LOTS OF FUN. I want kids to be excited about the year, but I also want them to understand the expectations and rules that we have in our classroom. I also want my students to begin to build relationships with each other. I am excited to share with you some of my FAVORITE first week ideas I did for the first week of school this year! Let's get started!
Idea number 1: Morning Choice!
This is my first year to do morning choice in my classroom. The original idea comes from Adam Dovico. You can check out his blog post HERE. The goal of morning choice is to get kids excited about coming into school each day. We started morning choice DAY 1 in my classroom and I loved that it took away those "first day scaries" and kids immediately came in and started building relationships. In order to ensure this went smoothly on day one, I typed up direction cards that I stuck at each station. Station cards explained the task at hand and how many students could be at each station. You can grab these direction cards in my TPT store HERE. They are fully editable so you can make them meet the needs in your clasroom. 

In my classroom, students come in, unpack, and record their announcements and homework for the day. They may begin to play with the morning choice centers only once they are completely ready for their day. Morning choice lasts only 20 minutes - so this means students quickly come in and get ready so they can have as much time as possible at their station. 

 Idea Number 2: "Get to Know You" Jenga
In my classroom we play LOTS of games during academic instruction to keep kids engaged. I figured we might as well start day one out with a game as well. This game is SO easy, but I loved that it allowed me to begin introducing rules and procedures for games. Each group got a Jenga set and a batch of task cards. Although my Jenga sets are color coded, we didn't use the color coded aspect for this activity. I introduced our game rules: no turns/no outs, and explained that one student is to draw a task card and read it aloud to his/her group. After the question has been read, all students in the group must answer the question. After everyone has answered, the person who pulled the question card gets to also pull a Jenga block. This was so much fun and it really helped the kids get to know each other. You can grab my "Get to Know You" task cards in my TPT store HERE.
 Idea Number 3: The BEST Team Building Challenge EVER. 
I stole this idea from Dustin Ecker, a phenomenal teacher that shares awesome ideas on his Instagram. The gist of the activity is: Students work together to build a replica of a tower that has already been built in the hallway. Each student has an important role. One student is a "looker", one student is a "toucher", and the other two are "talkers". One can talk to the teacher, the other can talk to other groups. The catch? The supplies for each group were all mixed together. One group got all the paper. Some groups got no cups. What a MESS. Using their important roles, groups worked together to work through the mess in order to build the mystery tower. Fore the full directions from Dustin, you can view his Instagram post HERE. It is safe to say - this is my FAVORITE team building activity I've ever done with a class.
Idea Number 3: Book Tasting 
Starting last year, my team decided to kick off each year with a book tasting. Basically, this is a mini-transformation where students experience a restaurant where they get to "sample" different books from our classroom library. This is such a fun way to get our students exposed to new books and get them excited about our 40 book challenge for the year. The original idea is from Joanne at Head Over Heels for Teaching and you can grab her product HERE. It seriously has everything you need, minus the books. It is a fabulous resource.  

Idea Number 4: Self Portraits 
Each year, I have my students create self portraits and we keep them hanging in our classroom all year. They are my FAVORITE! We do a directed draw and then students color them to fit their own personalities. For our directed draw, we use a "Modigliani Self Portrait" style. Modigliani distorted his portraits, using longer necks and faces. I just love how they always turn out. I use 18 inch x 24 inch paper for this project. You can grab some for a very affordable price HERE on Amazon. After students draw their self portraits, they outline with black marker and then simply color their portrait the way they like! Once they are done, I back them with black butcher paper my school already has for FREE (woohoo) and hang them on our wall using Mavalus tape. It's legit the best tape and holds SO well. For a link on how to do this directed draw with your students, click here

Idea Number 5: Hanging Craft 
I love using this craft as an easy "time filler" for the first few days of school. I typically spread out each writing prompt over four or five days. Students complete the writing and then we take time to share about ourselves each day. I make sure to get these hung in time for parent night - a night we have at the beginning of the year where parents come back into our classrooms and we go over all things 5th grade. You can grab this craft in my TPT store here.  

As you can see, our first week was full of FUN, Team Building, and procedures! I hope this post gave you some great ideas for your first week! Do you have an awesome first week idea? I'd love to hear all about it. Leave a blog comment below! Happy School Year!

Back-to-School Mystery Gifts

Thursday, August 1, 2019 2 comments
For the past several years, I've given each of my new students a MYSTERY GIFT at
"Meet the Teacher" night for them to take home. The catch? The CANNOT open the gift until the morning of the first day of school.

What's the purpose?
I got this idea from Hope King several years ago when she hand delivered mystery gifts to her students before the first day of school. The goal is to build excitement and anticipation for the new school year. We want our kids to be COUNTING DOWN the days until the first day of school, and I have found that these mystery gifts are a way to get them doing that! I give each student that attends open house one of the gifts and they take it home with them. They stare at it for the next several days (hah!) and they are allowed to open it up as soon as they wake up on the first day of school.

What is the gift?
You can literally turn ANYTHING into a mystery gift. For several years, I gave bracelets that all matched and they represented our classroom community. For the past couple years, I've changed it up. Be creative and think about things the kiddos in your community are currently excited about. I went with bracelets several years ago because the students in my community LOVED Lokai bracelets. Come up with something fun and unique for your kids! I do try to steer away from something "educational" because I want it to be something the kids will actually ENJOY. Although new crayons are great, I doubt my kids will be SUPER pumped to receive them as a gift. ha.

What do I include with the gift?
I always put a BIG do NOT open sign on the front of the gift, and then a note inside with the item. I personally think the note should be special for your class! You can grab mine HERE.

Gift Ideas:

Other items:

All Amazon Links are affiliate links and I get a small commission if you choose to purchase your items though them. = ) 

Hangable Crafts You & Your Students will LOVE!

Monday, July 8, 2019 No comments

I struggle spending time doing "crafts" in my classroom because they take up time AND space. Whenever I do a craft or activity, I try to make sure it is something worthwhile, along with something I can actually display. Last year in my classroom, we started completing HANGING CRAFTS and you guys... my students were OBSESSED. They take a little bit more time to hang, but I absolutely love how they make our classroom look... bright and cheery and they don't take up any space!

Craft #1 - Get to Know You Hangable Craft
This one is PERFECT for the beginning of the year! I plan on introducing one prompt per day for the first four to five days of school. Students will complete the prompt and then there will be a time for sharing! Once the crafts are complete, they will be hung up for the first month of so of the year!

Click HERE to grab this "about me" craft. = ) 

Craft #2 -Be the Light Hangable Craft
This one would also be perfect for the beginning of the year - especially with older kids! I choose to use this one after we return from winter holidays and they stay hung up in our room during the January/February months.

Click HERE to grab this "be the light" craft. = ) 

Let's GLOW! A Classroom Transformation your Students will LOVE! (Part 3: The Academics)

Wednesday, April 24, 2019 No comments

Alright - Are yall ready for ALL THE DETAILS on the academic side of our GLOW DAY Transformation? If you are looking for the decor details, click here. If you are looking for the academic stuff, you are in the right place! Woohoo! You can also read my FIRST EVER Glow Day blog post HERE. It has more details about the stations. = ) 

Alright - Let's jump right in! Just like Part 2, I'm going to answer ALL of the questions you guys asked me over on Instagram. If I miss anything, shoot me a message and I'll get it added! 

Question 1: What are the stations?
For our glow day we have six stations each year. From year to year they change based on what I feel like doing or what I think my kiddos will like best. The stations I had this year are: bowling, ring toss, geo build, ping pong toss, glow targets, and Jenga. I've also done corn hole in the past! For more details about the stations, you can head over to my original blog post HERE.

Question 2: What do I need for the stations?
Alright, for this I'm just going to cover the stations I used this year. = ) Links for each of these items can be found at the bottom of this blog post. 
*Bowling - water bottles, "bowling ball"
*Jenga - Jenga set (with blacklight reactive tape)
*Geobuild - glow sticks, i-Pad
*Ping Pong Toss - cups, Ping Pong balls
*Ring Toss - Gallon Jugs (3 of them), hoops made from glow sticks
*Glow Targets - painted targets, pennies

Question 3: What academic activities do the students do at each station?
We do GLOW DAY before our standardized math test, so we always spend the entire day focusing on math skills. At each station, students focus on different math standards that have been covered, but need to be reviewed. You can grab the task cards I use in my TpT store. I have them made for 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades. The task cards in my store only work for FOUR stations: Jenga, Geobuild, Bowling, and Ring Toss. I chose to add a couple additional stations so that I could make my groups smaller. I just shift some of the task cards from the other stations to the two additional stations. = )
3rd Grade Pack
4th Grade Pack
5th Grade Pack
*Unfortunately at this time, I don't have time to add two additional stations to these packs (there are only four included), but I encourage you to just split up some of the task cards from other stations and put them there. Thats what I did! There are plenty of task cards. = )
Question 4: How long do students spend at each station and
how many students are in each group?
Students are at each station from 30-50 minutes. This time FLIES! I try to have groups of 4-5 if at all possible! The smaller, the better in my opinion. 

Question 5: How do you check student work?
This is a BIG JOB, but I check every single group's answer before they are able to play the game. I keep the answer keys in my hands at all times and I hop from group to group checking student answers. I often ask for different students to explain their answers and always look for everyone to have the correct work. This is a busy job, but I feel like it keeps my students accountable.

Question 6: Where can I get the entry tickets you used?
They are a freebie in my TpT store! I printed and laminated mine and I have used them three years in a row. I collect them the morning of Glow Day and store them away for the next year.
Question 7: Do you keep score in the games?
Students do keep scores, but there isn't a prize or anything. They keep scores for bragging rights. It also helps motivate students to work fast so that they can beat other teams' scores. Scores are kept on a dry erase board or piece of paper. The easier, the better.
Question 8: How often do you do this transformation?
I do this transformation once a year, typically the day before our math state test. Its a fun review that really helps drive home some skills that need to be refreshed before the big test. 

Question 9: What center supplies did you buy on Amazon?