Monday, March 13, 2017

Set the Stage to Engage... with a Louisiana Flair - Part 1

I've been following Hope King over at Elementary Shenanigans for quite sometime.  If you aren't following her on Instagram and her blog, you have got to catch up!  She is BEYOND AMAZING!! Her room transformations are the stuff legends are made of!  She was even recently featured on Bored Teachers.

I have wanted to do a room transformation for some time, but never could decide what to do, when to do it, or how I would actually implement the flip.  The flip is so much more than just a bunch of fancy decorations.  There is a tremendous amount of rigorous content woven into the flip that really activates learning across the content areas and creates meaningful experiences for Hope's students.  I wanted to replicate that in my classroom, but with having a new reading curriculum EVERY SINGLE YEAR for the last 4 (or is it 5?) years... I haven't figured out the flow.

Then it hit me, like a TON of bricks... every year one thing is ALWAYS the same here in Louisiana - we teach our kiddos about MARDI GRAS!  It is only the absolute coolest, wildest, most historically and culturually interesting thing about our state, and in third grade we focus on state social studies in third grade.  Our school uses the departmentalization model for grades 3-5 so I teach 3rd grade readinga and language arts - so technically not social studies.  But there is such a strong social studies component in many of the texts we are using this year, and with Mardi Gras, the whole unit screams social studies integration!

How did I do it?  (Well, to get a true tutorial, go check out Hope King!  I even have the TPT guide she is selling to answer LOTS of questions as you get ready to plan the flip!)

First - set the stage!

I decided to make each "table" (3 tables are really just a group of 6 desks together) it's own krewe.  Krewe is a Mardi Gras term to describe a group of people who work together to make the floats for a parade.  Most krewes have some Greek mythology component, and historically the members of the krewes were secret - hence the wearing of masks.  So we have Krewe 1, Krewe 2, Krewe 3, and Krewe 4.  I didn't spend a lot of time naming the krewes before the flip, because the students are going to build some community and name themseleves, among other activities in our Mardi Gras tasks.

A look across all the tables from the front door of my classroom.

In addition to the tables being decorated, I put bead necklaces on the tables.  Crowns signified team captains, green saxophones signified noise patrol, and several other jobs were decided on by the students.  All team materials were housed inside the bins on the tables - crayons, glue, markers, pens, pencils, highlighters, scissors, erasers, glue sticks, post-it notes...  And the outside of my room was decorated to look like a kid-friendly version of Bourbon Street - basically it was a New Orleans building, a sign for Bourbon Street, and silhouette's of jazz musicians.  I'll post a pic of that once I remember to take it!  (It was dark when I finished building this flip and left the school, so I forgot the pic.)

I hope you enjoyed seeing our classroom flip for Mardi Gras!  Remember to come back for Set the Stage to Engage part 2 - Rigorous Content Tasks!

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