Ready to “GLOW” your kids minds and kick off Thanksgiving Break with ruffled tail feathers? OMG! Of all the room transformations that I do for math during the school year, this is my absolute FAVORITE!!!! Let’s dive into this Thanksgiving Room Transformation and break it down one drumstick at a time.
Why Room Transformations?
If you want to celebrate new learning, engage your students, and make your classroom an exciting place to learn and grow, room transformations are for YOU! I love ending our units or reviewing units right before holidays or breaks. The Friday before a break is the perfect day to create a room transformation that will send your students off with fun memories and review of important skills that they won’t forget. I choose to host these fun days on Fridays so I can relax and re-engergize over the weekend or an extended break. You can do as much or as little of these transformations as you would like and your students will still have a blast!
Set the Tone!
Prepare your students for the fun day ahead. You can create glow party tickets and pass them out a few days ahead of time for good behavior. This gets the students focused on their current behavior and excited about the fun day ahead. I also like to start decorating a little bit at a time the week of a transformation. This gives the students a sneak peek at what they are working toward.
How does this transformation work?
Decide if you will have teams or if students will play individually. I suggest for easier management to play by teams. Divide students into four teams so that there is always one extra open station for the early finishers to have a place to move. Display the featherless turkeys on the board with team numbers at the start position. I always move the turkeys for the team and have one teammate help me put up the feather they earned.
How to earn a feather – You can do this one of two ways. I have the game set up so that there is a code word for each station. This is something you will need to write on the back of some pieces. Or you can just do a quick check of the task to make sure students worked and completed the task to earn a feather.
Want to glow?
Go for it! I used black lights and printed everything on neon paper to make it glow. Each student got a finger flashlight that they used to help them see, and they also shined the lights on the ceiling to signal to me that they were ready to earn a feather. This was a classroom management strategy I used. The lights were off, and I didn’t want students up and moving in a dark room. I use my black lights as often as possible during the year. Buy them once and then use them constantly. They never get old. Every event with GLOW is magical.
What are we reviewing?
This room transformation was created to review addition strategies. By this time of the year, we are starting in the middle or at the end of our addition unit with our students. Of course, each year is different….can you say pandemic?… so I’m never sure where we will be exactly. But, for the past three years, this has worked well with where we are in math.
Here are a few of the skills reviewed:
- Addition Facts with the Same Sum (Puzzle Match)
- Adding on a Number Line
- Tally Marks to Add
- Domino Addition
- Making 10
In the past, I asked parents to come in and volunteer to run a station. Obviously with visitor restrictions, there are times this isn’t possible. To help with management, I would use these same centers in small groups the week prior to our event so students are familiar with the skill and task. This will reduce the need for a parent or teacher led station and put more on students. If your school is restricting the use of centers or stations, print a copy of the centers for each group. Many of the centers are worksheet based so each student would have a copy anyway.
What not to do…
- Don’t let COVID steal memorable moments from students. Find a way within your school’s or district’s guidelines to make experiences like this possible.
- Don’t get overwhelmed if your students need extra help or support. Turn the lights on and work with them together. In EIP classes, students are going to become frustrated and tend to play with the materials instead of working. Turn on the lights. Take a break. Reteach. Try again.
- Don’t let behavior issues rob other students from this experience. Students who don’t earn or who act inappropriately can be removed to an isolated seat or in a spot that your school deemed appropriate. I have a “Take a Break” spot outside my door.
- Don’t get overwhelmed with the prep and give up. Start small. Don’t do this your first year and go all out. Start small and then add items to the transformation. Maybe use this year as one with the lights on and no “glow”.
As Easy as Sweet Potato Pie
I’ve made it as simple as possible by including everything you need to host this event in your own classroom with my step by step directions and printables/center activities. Click here to see more about this Thanksgiving Room Transformation pack! Most importantly, have fun with your students! My last day in our classroom with my students March of 2020 was a March Madness Basketball celebration. I don’t regret it at all. I’m so glad that was our last in person day together. Memories to last a lifetime! Now, go ruffle some turkey feathers with a GLOWing good time!