We love to kid around and give teachers something to laugh about during the chaotic, daily life of teaching. But we also love to celebrate awesome teachers doing extraordinary things in the classroom.
Meet the teacher couple that has been doing some unbelievable work in the world of education. Wade and Hope King have been creating incredible scenes in their classrooms to stimulate the young minds of their students. We've never seen teachers with such a passion for engaging students. You've got to see the magic for yourself...
"Set the Stage to Engage!"
This is the motto they teach by, and they want to share it with teachers, everywhere.
"If you aren’t passionate about the content you are teaching, be passionate about how you teach it."
But before we dive into all the amazing lessons they've created and employed in their classrooms, here a few things the Kings always explain to everyone who asks:
"How in the world are you able to pull off such mind-blowing lessons on a teacher's salary?"
1. So many people think it's impossible, but it's not! Having started these classroom transformations over ten years ago, we've accumulated a lot of supplies. Be resourceful and you can make a little budget go a long way!
2. Work as a team — two teacher salaries are better than one. Finding another teacher to partner up with can make a world of difference!
3. Don't be shy to ASK for donations! That's another way we're able to put together such amazing transformations. Stores like Lowe's, Home Depot, Party City, Dollar Tree, Target are great places to ask. Let them know you're a teacher on a mission and see what they can do to help.
4. Don't overdo it and burn yourself out right away. Start small and build as you go!
So without further ado, I present to you, ten of the most EPIC classroom transformations you've ever laid eyes on. Enter the amazing KING WING!
1. Harry Potter Lesson
Objectives: Literary analysis, argumentative development, civics, and current events.
Stage: Room decorated like a court room inside Hogwarts, students dressed as Harry Potter characters.
Activity: Mock trial is held: The Case of Hogwarts vs. Hagrid, who's being sued by Hogwarts for negligence. Students all perform different roles. Prosecution (head attorney and co-council) create a strong storyline with strong textual evidence to prove the defendant guilty. Defense (head attorney and co-council) creates a strong storyline with strong textual evidence, to prove the defendant is innocent. Jury uses evidence presented in court to decide a verdict. Note: all evidence must be found and connected directly to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.
*Tip: Many resources are online if you are interested in hosting your own mock trial.
2. Ninja Turtles Lesson
Objectives: Teach students about STEAM, ELA, and Social Studies (feudal Japan).
Stage: Room decorated as underground Ninja Turtle sewer, with trash cans for slime-shooting game, and materials to create solar-powered pizza ovens.
Activity: Divide students into groups of four (for 4 colors of ninja turtles face masks). Teach students about chemical and physical changes by creating slime, STEAM by creating a solar ovens to cook pizza, and Close reading by annotating reading passages.
Ninja Turtle games:
- Ninja Star Challenge - shooting slime balls into a trash can. Once slime ball is in trash can, students can go and grab a feudal-caste card to set up a social pyramid.
- Blindfolded scavenger hunt - to find definitions of vocabulary words.
- Slime Bow - students shoot slime at a target to earn points. Once they hit the target, they have to answer content questions based on where they hit on the target.
3. Captain America Lesson
Objectives: Teach students about American History, United Nations, world geography, Civics, and current events.
Stage: Captain America costume, Captain America Civil War Comic Book, Captain America Civil War Film, and superhero props.
Activity: Students discuss, debate, and work together to create resolutions to current world issues, from the point of view of their assigned country. The delegates used comic book text, historical/informational texts, argumentative analysis, along with mini-lessons taught by Captain America (aka Mr. King).
4. Pie Face Lesson
Objectives: Teach about author's purpose of a writing passage.
Different author's purposes (PIEED):
D = Describe
Stage: Pie face games set up on each table, whipped cream, 5 pie tins labeled with 5 different purposes (above).
Activity: Split students into groups of 4-5 kids. All students receive 15 different passages. They read and look for patterns and textual evidence to identify the purpose of the writing. Once they have identified the purpose, they consult with their group. They must each state what they think the purpose of the passage is, as well as the textual evidence to support their conclusion. Once they have done that, they "bake their first passage pie" by placing their passage into the correct pie tin. After they place their passage into the correct tin, they get to follow the traditions of the bakery and play a round of Pie Face!
5. Mission Impossible Lesson
Objectives: Learn about Research and Textual Evidence (can be integrated cross-curricular).
Stage: Hang yarn from he ceiling, plug in black lights all over the room (and the yarn looks exactly like lasers!), teachers wear secret agent costumes, students wear black "agent" hats.
Activity: Students wait outside the room. They have to get their finger printed on "Agent Stone's" (aka Mrs. Hope's) phone app. If they are accepted they can go in and then they are given their assignment. ELA and Close Reading are taught throughout.
6. Jurassic World Lesson
Objectives: Life Science, Ecosystems, Math - animal classifications, adaptations, life cycles, food webs and food chains, while working their way through the scientific method, dodging park disasters by solving math problems, and using close reading and comprehension strategies to infer, predict, and draw conclusions about the Jurassic Era.
Stage: Room decorated like Jurassic Park, with tables set up as Jeeps, brownie batter used for dinosaur dung, teachers wearing Jurassic World scientist costumes.
Activity: Students have to complete a close read activity to educate themselves about the Jurassic Period before entering "the park". Each student in the jeep selected a different article. Students are then given the challenge of completing four tasks in order to exit the park.
Bonus activity: Throughout the lesson a warning alarm sounds, and a math problem ("park crisis") would pop up on the board. They must solve the crisis by answering the math problem with the correct answer. Every student in their jeep must solve the problem for them to resume completing the task that they are working on. Just to shake things up a bit!
7. Mining Lesson
Objectives: Learn about Rocks and Minerals (Earth Science).
Stage: Room decorated like underground mining cave, students wear mining helmets with flashlights and/or goggles.
Activity: Students rotate through five different stations all built on the exploration, identification, and creation of earth materials. Using their expert knowledge of the properties of rocks and minerals, they locate and identify fossils, gems, rocks, and minerals. At the end, they get to crack open geodes to analyze the crystallization in the rocks, which occurs over millions of years.
8. Super Mario Lesson
Objectives: Review for Ancient Civilizations, Science, and ELA (can be used cross-curricular).
Stage: Room decorated like retro video game - Super Mario, teachers in Mario & Princess costume, kids wear mario & Luigi hats.
Activity: All CLOSE reading skills are taught just like the levels of the video game - each level gets a little harder — each read goes a little deeper.
Level 1: Give students a passage to read and interpret each sentence, and identify the key idea.
Level 2: Students practice identifying the key idea in shorter passages. Students select their tunnel (1, 2, or 3). Each tunnel has a different number of passages. If they are lucky, they choose the tunnel that only had three passages. However, one tunnel has 8 passages, causing the level to take a little longer to complete.
Level 3: Mario Kart! Here the students practice identifying text structures in a passage to help them organize the most important details. The students roll their partner down to the end of the path, collect a short passage, roll them back, decide the text structure, and repeat until the level was complete.
Level 4: Prize boxes! The first team to the level, busts the large box. There are mini question boxes inside. They collect one mini box that contains 10 different short passages that had them identifying the meaning of unknown words. Once they identify the meaning of each word, they move on to the next level.
Level 5: Students have to summarize passages. They race down to a tunnel (crawling), to collect a short passage. Then they race back, summarize, and repeat. The students work through each level at their own pace. Once the challenge of a level is complete, they move on. They have to complete all six levels to rescue the princess and capture the flag (the flag can be created using poster board and PVC pipe!).
Objectives: Reading, classifying, and providing supporting arguments on human rights (and some fun practice flying drones around the classroom!).
Stage: Room decorated as the command center from Power Rangers (everything was purchased from Halloween stores & Target).
Activity: Each Ranger represents a station. Students are divided into groups. Once a group completes a ranger station they receive a power coin. The goal is to unlock each ranger to then unlock the green ranger challenge.
Black Ranger Station: Group divided in half on either side of the room. Current event articles on one side with a small drone ($20 at target). Students read an article, attach the title of the article to the bottom of the drone, fly it to their teammates on the opposite side of the room. Their teammates then classify the article into one of the categories (i.e. relevance, magnitude, unexpectediness etc.). They then fly the drone back with the category where their teammates have to support why the title belongs in that category.
Blue Ranger Station: Students given a task to code a robotic mouse to complete a task.
Red Ranger Station: Debate over whether or not their enemies should have human rights or not (from the red ranger’s point of view).
Yellow Ranger Station: Non-fiction Close read.
Pink Ranger Station: Stem Team Challenge.
10. Nascar Lesson
Objectives: Science (force and motion), Math, and ELA.
Stage: Room decorated like Nascar racing event, teachers in Nascar pit crew costumes, race tracks with different surfaces — built for experimenting friction.
Activity: Students have to complete different mini experiments on force and motion, using the scientific process.
Example: Students have to create and test their own derby cars out of legos using ballons to power them. They test them on different surfaces to test out friction. They time them and graph them along with finding the mean, median, mode, and range.
ELA: Students write a proposal and present a speech to 4 staff members in the school. The goal is to land a sponsorship for their driver/car.
In the end, the winner with the most points is able to drink milk out of the Winner's Cup (even though that’s the Indie 500, we know), plus they get a trophy.