Test Prep with Classroom Transformations

I don’t love the idea of teaching to the test, and I know I’m not alone here. What we all want for our students is to know our content so deeply that they can take what they have learned in our classroom and think critically about any question that may come their way, because they know what we taught THAT well.

But we all know that isn’t the reality. We have to review. We have so many skills we need to teach in one year, and they don’t all build directly on each other. We’re doing measurement in my classroom right now. That doesn’t exactly build on the place value lessons we did back in August. And spiraling back on occasion doesn’t always cut it. SO, test prep becomes a necessary evil.

But, it doesn’t always have to be evil. You can make it fun, and you don't have to completely knock yourself out to do it. We’ve seen the classroom transformations on Instagram that look like they took a million years to put together. As someone who has some friends who do big-time transformations every year…they do take a million years. Those teachers are holy saints and we should all pray that our children end up in rooms with people who will give that much of their personal time to their classrooms.

I am not that teacher. Never have been.

I want my students to feel loved and cared for. I want them to have fun. But I believe those things can be achieved just by me being who I am in the classroom. I mean…I’m FUN guys. But, every once in a while, I do want to spice things up! So, printable transformation kits have saved me more than once! I love them so much, I even made a few!

In my store, you can find a Baseball Game Transformation Kit, Awards Show Transformation Kit (both co-authored with my dear friend Caitlin, because she’s a classroom transformation queen), and most recently I went out on a limb on my own and created the Basketball Game Transformation Kit, in honor or March Madness being so very close!

What’s great about these transformation kits, is they create super fun, out-of-the-ordinary ways for students to practice content. Because things are so outside of the norm, you can usually get the kids to work extra hard without even realizing it.

Transformations are great for weeks leading up to a big break, reviewing a large unit, or doing an end-of-year skills review before state testing, which is how I plan to use my Basketball Kit in my own room! We have a lot of things to go back and talk about, and the spirit of friendly competition is alive and well with my students this year, so why not turn it all into a big basketball game??

Something that the Basketball Kit has that we didn’t include in the baseball kit, is a theme of growth mindset running throughout the lessons. Although I want my students to practice and review, I also want them to know that there is opportunity for growth in all areas, and getting overwhelmed by the things they may have forgotten will not serve them well! I have a growth mindset ‘playbook’ included in the Basketball kit that you can download for FREE! This helps you preview the quality of work that is in this kit, but also just gives you a fun classroom activity to do while your students are talking about basketball anyways. ;)

So, tell me: do you do classroom transformations? And if you don’t , is a kit like this the kind of things you needed to get started? Connect with me on Instagram to let me know if you try one of these kits out! I love to see pictures!!

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Stephanie Sutherland