Bringing Field Trips to the Classroom through Room Transformations

Sometimes it’s necessary to shake things up in the classroom to help your students stay engaged and show them how invested you are in their learning. One way the CMDS 3rd Grade teaching team has done this is through room transformations.

A room transformation takes a concept in the curriculum and brings it to life by completely changing the classroom space. Here are two examples of room transformations 3rd Graders have participated in this year, both in Language Arts and Math.

Room transformation: Burleson’s Book Boutique

by Katie Burleson, CMDS 3rd Grade Language Arts Teacher

CMDS Language Arts and Literature teachers gave 3rd-6th Grade students a reprieve from book reports this year in favor of the Book Challenge. To keep them motivated for the challenge, and to provide a source of accountability, I hosted a “book talk.”

I asked my students to come up with a brief statement sharing their current Book Challenge book. The goal was to spark book suggestions for their peers.

However, I wanted to take it a step further. I decided to transform my classroom into the, “Burleson’s Book Boutique.” Our classroom took on the form of a restaurant under the stars (literally) in which students feasted on delicious snacks.

I hung lights, covered tables in dark cloths, and broke out the fake candles. We completely sealed off the room until it was time to show the students. Just the door being shut and all windows covered piqued the students’ curiosity!  They could not wait to see what waited for them behind that door!

When it was finally time to reveal the room transformation, the gasps that came from the children’s mouths made everything worth it. They loved coming in to “Burleson’s Book Boutique!” Each student came up to share their books, and at the end of our “book talk,” we discussed books that they heard the peers recommend and which ones they were excited to read next. Mission accomplished…these students were on fire to read just like at the beginning of our Book Challenge!

Room transformation: Place Value Crimes

by Lizzie Ruple, CMDS 3rd Grade Math Teacher

In Math, students were FBI agents and tasked with solving place value crimes. Students brought flashlights and used those to find the place value clues placed around the room!

Transforming the room took a skill that wouldn’t be as engaging into a more meaningful learning experience. Also, the anticipation of the room changing made them even more excited to do the activity.

This was a minimal transformation. It included clues scattered around the room, a flashlight, a case file, a badge and turning off the lights. Something so simple literally brought light into their learning.

We have big plans in third grade for even more room transformations in the future. Stay tuned to hear more about these soon!

Christ Methodist Day School opened its doors in 1958 to 75 kindergarten students. Since then, CMDS has stayed true to its Christian elementary school roots while continuing to thrive as one of the best private schools in Memphis. Come see why we are the primary choice for so many Memphis families.


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