That’s right. This Dunkin’ loving, iced tea obsessed teacher just decorated her class as Starbucks…kind of. It’s no secret that classroom takeovers are engaging and exciting if you are the student. But why? Aren’t we always the most engaging people, with the most engaging ideas on the planet? HA.
You see imagine one day you walk in your school and the whole place is decked out as a spa. The always jamming copier has been replaced with water fountains. The busy cafeteria is a soothing lounge with a smoothie bar. There’s massage rooms in the principal’s office, a nail salon in the teacher lounge…okay I’m starting to day dream too much. Now this sounds like a fantasy land, and it is, I know. However, if this is where you work…I’d be happy to come visit! If this was what we randomly walked into one day we’d soak it up, we’d hear every word we were told, and we’d never forget that day. Well, kids aren’t interested in spa days…but that feeling is the rush they get to walk into your decked-out room.
I’ve done my fair share of takeovers now and this one is certainly one of my favorites for a few reasons. First off, its cheap. Second, its easy. Third, its fast. Fourth, its effective. I’ll get into these all in a minute but seriously if you have a product and its all of those things…send me a link-I’M IN!
My first ever classroom takeover cost me WAY too much money. I was doing a Super Bowl week and while I stand by that it is fun, I bought SO much stuff that quite frankly, I didn’t need to do a takeover. Maybe this take over saved me money because I knew from experience not to over buy but believe me it was cheap. I downloaded the Starbooks takeover on TPT (the product is $4) all you have to do is go in and print out the PDF materials. Originally, I was going to get green paper and print it on that in black and white, but then my printer was back up and running so I printed out everything in color instead. I know this sounds effective, but I use HP instant ink, and for a few bucks a month (major discount below) I can be the color printing queen. I picked up mini waters at the dollar store, cut off the labels and used packing tape to attach the Starbooks’ circles. The water bottles cost a total of $5 for 30. I got green table cloths at the dollar store (I used 6 in my class) for $6 to put on the tables and I found some green table confetti at target for less than $1 and that was it for buying things. My local Starbucks (shout out to Kayla for hooking me up) donated cups and napkins for decorations. I decorated my door with green and brown paper saying “Welcome to Starbooks” and that was it! If you wanted to duplicate this lesson exactly as I did you could do it for under $20-which is totally worth it for what my students got out of it.
Now I said this was easy, but how easy? I did this the day report card comments were due. Let me repeat, THE DAY THEY WERE DUE. Now, some of you may be the totally organized report cards done a month in advance type, but me…I’m staying up late and going cross-eyed looking at my computer screen. Yet I managed to do this. The printing I did at home so I plugged in my computer and just did the ‘set it and forget it’ method a few days prior. Then over two episodes of Friends I cut out the mini circles, attached them to the water bottles (no BREAKS needed) and I folded the brochures. For my room, I put out the table cloths, put a water bottle and brochure at every seat, then filled Starbucks cups of flair pens (yes I let my students use flairs…I’ll save why for later). Then I loaded my tables with books from my library and the EL library. I made sure to have two differentiated tables in my room so that it was easy for kids too. I projected the slide from the document and VOILA! My room was complete.
My third reason was that it was fast. Week long, even day long take overs can get exhausting. It is a TON to plan and while we want the magic to last and last, sometimes we need a clear end. This way its not too crazy or our class doesn’t get totally riled up. I could have done this take over in about an hour, but my kids enjoyed it so much and were so engaged, at the advice of my special education teacher I let it go on a little longer than that. We were back to business before lunch though with a refreshed and engaged set of little learners.
Finally, what good is a takeover if it’s not effective. Before doing this takeover, I had a few clear goals in mind.
- I wanted my students to get out of the reading rut they were stuck in
- I wanted my students to branch out into different genres
- I wanted to spark deep conversations about literature
This take over did all of those things. A change of scenery can be so valuable when learning. This activity had them pick up and analyze different books, chat with their friends about them, and EVERY kid asked me to put multiple books into their book box. By the end of the week my so-called “non-readers” were showing me the huge chapter books they finished and then were trading books with friends “because the authors have similar tones”. Now tell me hearing your two students who dreaded reading say that to each other doesn’t melt your teacher heart. This take over was more effective than this though, you see when students know they can read to self if they finish their work early, they work faster when they want to read that book. Not only that, but my students know I will have them go back if it isn’t there best work, and if they miss something we fix it (valuable reading time) so my lessons have been AMAZING this week because they are all eager to get back to their books!
If you are interested in trying a classroom takeover, Starbooks is for you. The students learn that they need to help the CEO of Starbucks and then they explore books. I added my own question cards by printing out some questions on a plain coffee cup and it was perfect!
Have you done a takeover? Do you have questions? Comments? Want to tell me about the new shirt you got at Target today? Good, drop me a message and tell me below!
Full disclosure, I received this product for free to post on my Instagram. However, this was only after I looked and picked it out first.These opinions are entirely my own and the blog post was not part of my agreement!