Welcome! My name is Brittany Wheaton, also known as The SuperHERO Teacher, and I’m the founder of Extreme Makeover Classroom Edition. On a daily basis, teachers strive to create a classroom environment that inspires and motivates students to fall in love with learning. One of my favorite parts of teaching, and the area I feel I have truly mastered, is designing a safe space for students to thrive and open their hearts and minds to the world of education. That’s why I started doing Extreme Makeover Classroom Edition! It is my way of giving back to the teaching community and providing educators with the classroom environment I know every teacher wishes for their students. In this post, I’m sharing five of my most valuable classroom makeover tips, so you can implement them in your classroom as well!
This is an important piece of the makeover puzzle because it will help you determine where to shop and how much to spend. Let me be clear, though: You do not need a $5,000 makeover to achieve an incredible transformation. One of my good friends, Eric Crouch, once told me, “Free is in my price range.” Free is in my price range, and it’s in yours, too! You will be pleasantly surprised at how many people want to help you and your students. After you determine your budget, the process can begin! My favorite places to shop for the best deals and opportunities for teachers, while staying within a strict budget, are:
- Facebook Marketplace
- Local thrift stores
- Garage sales
- Dollar stores
- Half Price Books
- Home Goods/TJ Maxx
- Target (after-holiday sales rock)
- Big Lots
- Wayfair & Amazon (for free shipping)
ACTION STEP: Search through Facebook Marketplace in areas around you and save 5–10 flexible seating options that fit within your budget. Then, narrow them down and make connections
Whether your budget is big or small, it’s important to determine what you and your students need the most. Do you want to focus on creating a cozy, calm environment, or is your focus more on interactive stations throughout the room? Once you determine what you are trying to achieve, you can spend your budget in a more organized and focused way. In previous classroom makeovers, I asked the teachers what they hoped to achieve through the process. The answer was always different because each room and group of students are different!
ACTION STEP: Create a list of your top 10 priorities in order (one being the most important). Achieve the first five and then continue through the list of 10 as your budget allows.
ACTION STEP: Search for color schemes on Pinterest that interest you. Create a collage to determine the colors you need to search for when looking for shopping deals!
I have found, through several classroom makeovers, that creating sections for learning spaces in the classroom is the key to creating more room in your classroom while simultaneously managing your classroom well. For example, having a zen zone or a reading nook sectioned off in the room will provide a place for students to escape without actually leaving the classroom. If a student is done with their work early, instead of talking with their peers or distracting others, they can go to one of the learning spaces and allow others to focus on their work. Some of my favorite learning spaces include:
- Zen Zone
- Reading Nook
- Creative Corner
- Flexible-Seating Area
- STEM Center
ACTION STEP: Take a look at your curriculum and determine which learning spaces will be most beneficial in your classroom. Create a list of five and design a floor plan that includes at least three!
I’m a firm believer that any and all decor included in a classroom should serve a purpose. This is why I am a huge proponent of interactive bulletin boards! An interactive bulletin board is basically a display that students can physically interact with. For example, at the last classroom makeover I did, I included a reading-literature-challenge bulletin board that presented 15 prompts to encourage students to read outside their comfort zone! Students were able to go up to the board, grab a challenge card, and select a book that met the requirements. It’s a perfect way to engage early finishers, students who need reinforcement, or struggling readers.
ACTION STEP: Think of a unit you teach and design an interactive bulletin board display. Then, create the display and implement it in your classroom.
Now that you have a general idea of how you can achieve a flawless classroom makeover, I have some exciting news to share with you! I will be hosting a Extreme Makeover Classroom Edition giveaway with WeAreTeachers and Lysol this upcoming August, and the winner could be YOU! All you have to do to enter is post a picture of your classroom on Instagram and use the hashtag #flipmyclassroom. We will announce the winner on July 5, 2018! What are you waiting for? Post away!
- Step one: Take a photo of your classroom.
- Step two: Post a picture of your classroom and tell us why you need a classroom makeover.
- Step three: Use the hashtag #flipmyclassroom.
- Step four: Patiently wait until we announce the lucky winner!
I hope you get the classroom of your dreams!