This was one of my first “full-blown” transformations! I had done a few smaller special themed days in my room, dressing like detectives, hanging a few themed items up in my room, but nothing major. We were getting close to state testing season, and I wanted to do something that would keep my kiddos engaged and help us start reviewing. It worked out perfectly that this year the Winter Olympics were happening. Perfect timing for a winter games math review!
I started pinning ideas and then headed to Dollar Tree to find things for my winter olympic classroom transformation. Table cloths are one of the easiest and cheapest ways to transform a room, so I got two of each of the ring colors (red, black, yellow, blue, and green). I also bought thick blue ribbon to make gold medals with. That’s it y’all! Don’t let someone tell you that transformation have to be expensive! This cost around $15! The rest of my decor was homemade.
I hung one of each of the table cloths from the back ceiling to create a semi-backdrop and then one of each color on the ceiling. I made flags for 14 different countries (teams that my students would be on). I blew the flag images up in PowerPoint and printed them on four separate sheets of paper. Then I glued them together and laminated them.
I covered the front of the room with white butcher paper. The hula hoops were borrowed from my fantastic PE teacher and hung from the ceiling with string. I made some torches with construction paper and tissue paper.
One of my favorite additions to the decor were these podium boxes. They are just cardboard boxes covered in gray butcher paper with numbers taped to the front!
I threw on my wind jacket, sweat band, gold medal, and we were ready to roll!
I put my kids into groups of 2 or 3 to represent different countries. As they came in the room, they carried a torch for their team and found their country’s flag to sit at. As they came in (and throughout the entire game), I played the Olympic theme song, national anthems for different countries, and other fanfare sounding music. If you look up “Olympic Playlist” on Spotify, a playlist will come up that you can use.
We played a jeopardy-style PowerPoint game that reviewed each skill/topic we had covered that year. When the teams answered a question correctly, the earned either a bronze, silver, or gold medal. I made the medals out of brown, grey, and yellow construction paper with a circle puncher. I’m telling ya, I went as cheap as possible. These medals did not have ribbon on them, they were just construction paper circles. The game comes with a recording sheet, so every team was responsible for solving every problem, even if it wasn’t their countries turn. If a country got it wrong, another team had the chance to steal the medal, so everyone had to be on their A-game! Sitting around and having to wait your turn will ruin any good transformation, so come up with a plan for any potential “down time”.
At the end of the period, each country added their medal count to a poster. Unfortunately I don’t have a picture of the poster, but it was basically a giant spread sheet with each countries name and then a column for bronze, silver, and gold medals. I reused the medals with each class, so after we finished counting up what they earned that day, they gave me back the medals.
I teach 5 sections of math (50 min each), so each class that came in just added their medal count to what was already on the poster. We played over the course of two days, but definitely could have gone longer if we had the chance to.
At the end of the two days, we held a medal ceremony. Each of the teams walk to the front to receive a gold medal (I know…not everyone gets a gold medal in real life….buuuuutttt…). These medals were yellow construction paper circles hot glued to blue ribbon.
The next day when we took our benchmark test, I gave each student a small baggie with some rollos and a tag that said “go for the gold!” The rollos were probably the most expensive part of the transformation haha but totally worth it!
Overall, it was a blast! And my kiddos were so engaged the whole time! ANNNDDDD it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg to do! Was it quite a bit of work? Absolutely! Was it worth it? Absolutely!