How To Set Up An Easy Cheap Classroom Transformation

October 2, 2021 The Teaching Files 5 Comments

Have you ever wondered how to set up an easy, cheap classroom transformation? Classroom transformations can seem daunting, expensive, and time-consuming but I am going to show you how to transform your classroom into a coffee shop with little extra effort so that your students’ experience can be transformed. I even have a freebie to get you started with your first classroom transformation.

An easy, cheap classroom transformation for your classroom.
Keep reading to learn how to set up an easy, cheap classroom transformation and get a free decor set.

What is a Classroom Transformation?

Read this if you are New to a Classroom Transformation

So what is a classroom transformation? It’s a day(s) where you transform your classroom space into something new or different. The reason for doing this is to transform your students’ learning and experience. Classroom transformation themes can range from general to super specific, but the beauty of classroom transformations is that you can make them as “big” or “small” as you want! You can relate classroom transformations to the content you are teaching in so many ways, or you can transform your space for other reasons like… a testing day which is what I will be breaking down for you and sharing a free download to get you started.

How to Pick Classroom Transformation Themes

When picking a classroom transformation theme, remember that you have full control of what you incorporate and how you will incorporate it into the day. There is no right or wrong way to set up a classroom transformation. There are however some things that make picking a theme easier and inexpensive.

How to set up an easy, cheap classroom transformation.
Not sure where to start with classroom transformations? I’ve got you covered.

Questions to Consider When Planning a Classroom Transformation

  1. What are yours and your students’ interests? Is there a common trend you see that you can build off of to pick your classroom transformation theme?
  2. Do you have a lot of a certain type of something already that you can use to make a classroom transformation out of?
  3. Is there a local business or company who you can use as the theme for your classroom transformation? Is that company or business willing to donate to your activity?

If You’re Wondering Why These Questions Matter, Then Keep Reading

First, let’s break down these questions and talk about how they can make your classroom transformation theme choice so much easier.

  1. The goal of a classroom transformation is not just to transform your classroom, but transform your students’ learning and experience. If you can incorporate something that they are interested in, the buy-in and outcome of your transformation day will be that much more successful. Let’s not forget about you. You are the “main character” of the show. Your attitude, actions, and ability to play the role to match the day’s theme will be the biggest factor in the day’s success. So, if there is a way for you to incorporate something  you are interested in when picking a classroom transformation theme, then do it!
  2. Do you have a ton of sports equipment? Maybe you have a ton of Hawaiian decorations leftover from a party? If you own a ton of things that are in the same theme, then use them to make your classroom transformation! Not only is it saving you money, but you’re also going to save time because you won’t be trying to find what you need to make your classroom transformation happen.
  3. The ultimate money saver that makes for easy and cheap classroom transformations is this right here. Whenever at all possible, use a theme that is directly or closely related to a local business or company. Why exactly? Well, most of these companies and businesses are willing to donate items to your classroom transformation day. You can have your whole classroom transformation funded by simply reaching out to your community. 

The Easiest and Cheapest Classroom Transformation Idea

I’m going to share the easiest and cheapest classroom transformation I do all year long. It can total $0 out of pocket and prep time is minimal. I am even going to share a FREE decor set to get you started. Click here to access it!

A step by step break down of setting up a classroom transformation.
How to set up a Starbucks Classroom Transformation with minimal time and money.

Starbucks Classroom Transformation

This classroom transformation involved me turning my classroom into a coffee shop for the day while students took an assessment. I built from Megan’s (@toocoolformiddleshool on IG) “Starbucks Mode” idea where she displays a slide to her class on “work days”. At the end of the test, students enjoyed an “iced latte”, which was actually just chocolate milk with whip cream. This Starbucks activity has been a hit every year and is so simple and cheap to set up. All you literally have to do is pick a day your students are taking a test and transform it into Starbucks!

What Supplies Were Needed for the Starbucks Classroom Transformation

This is a breakdown of what we used in our Starbucks classroom transformation. Remember, that you can take and utilize what will work best for your own classroom transformation from this list. 

  • Green Table Clothes: Used to cover the desks/tables and make a “backdrop”. Purchased at Dollar Tree.
  • Starbucks Items: Cups, straws, napkins, pastry bags, coffee beans, and handle bags were used for students or decorations. All of these items were DONATED from different Starbucks locations. 
  • Starbucks/Coffee Posters: Used as decorations around the room. Created in Powerpoint and printed in color. Download them for free HERE!
  • Chocolate Milk and Whip Cream: Served at the end of the test as their “latte”. Purchased out of pocket but it is worth asking if any parents would donate. If you decide to serve lattes for your students, be sure to check food allergies and have an alternative for students who cannot have dairy.
  • Pastries: Served with iced lattes. These pre-packaged items were all donated by parents. Reach out and ask, you never know and may be pleasantly surprised like me.
  • Green Apron: Used for myself to be the “barista” for the day. Purchased on Amazon.

Set Up for Starbucks Day

Setting up your Starbucks Classroom Transformation
Setting up your Starbucks Day classroom transformation can be fast, easy, and stress-free.

Once you have all of your supplies and materials gathered for your Starbucks classroom transformation, you are ready for set-up. I set up the day before because the day of is always a little crazy and I want to make sure I am prepared. If you have former students who can help, get them on board! This year, 3 amazing former students set up my WHOLE room without me and it saved me so much time.

The first thing I do for this transformation is move my tables/desks into teams of 4. This really helps bring that coffee shop setting to your classroom. Be sure to leave a table or desk against a wall that will serve as the main focal point and backdrop. Once your tables are situated, cover them with the green table cloths. 

Next, the handle bags get put out. I was able to get enough bags so that each table has its own to serve as the “centerpiece”. If you have tissue paper of any sort in a neutral color (black, white, or even green) , stuff your bags for an extra pop. Yes I know, this is not necessary and again it is totally optional but it really brings more of that Starbucks feel into the classroom. On the tables, adding a small Starbucks cup with coffee beans inside adds in some more decor as well as really transforms the classroom to have that coffee shop smell (literally).

To finish off the tables, I place a piece of the scratch paper that student work will be shown on labeled, “Starbucks Mode” that I included in the free download so that every kid has one sitting in front of them when they walk in. Depending on what kind of test you are giving, adjust the handout(s) as needed.

Now it is time for you to start deciding where you will hang your posters for decor. I like to put the one that says “Welcome” on the door as an instant statement as students walk in the door. If you were able to set aside a table or two for a main focal point, hang a green tablecloth there to use a backdrop. This area can include some or all of the posters. On that main table, arrange any pastries, cups, straws, etc. so that they are like a “display”. I brought in one of my tiered trays from home to help bring it together but you can just arrange everything on the table as is. 

Set up a cheap classroom transfromation
How to set up your Starbucks Classroom Transformation in a quick, easy way.

Other than displaying a slide if you wish and rocking your “barista” outfit for Starbucks Day, you are ready to go! Remember that 90% of a classroom transformation is created by YOU. You are the one who sets the tone and mood for the classroom transformation. Have fun and your kids will have even more fun. Classroom transformations are all about transforming your classroom so that your student’s experience is transformed with their learning. If you are on Tiktok, I have a 4 part video series walking you through this whole process and what I did to prepare for setting up this easy and cheap classroom transformation. Find them here.

More Places to Find Info. for Starbucks Day

If you are on Instagram or Tiktok, you can find detailed posts and videos with more information on this coffee shop classroom transformation. I also have a full Youtube video breaking down my Starbucks Day 2022!

Click here for Tiktok

Click here for Instagram (This is my grade level partner teacher and I’s joint account and we do all of our classroom transformations together!)

Please let me know if you have any questions and if this was helpful! I hope you found some useful information in this breakdown of how to set up an easy, cheap classroom transformation.

The Teaching Files

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  • Fabia October 11, 2021 at 8:06 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing.ill be using some of your ideas.Ill be doing genre

    • The Teaching Files October 17, 2021 at 7:46 pm

      Hi Fabia,
      I am so glad the information was helpful. Please let me know how it goes! 🙂

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