Creating Interactive Classrooms: Spy Headquarters!

How can I turn my classroom into a fun, interactive learning environment that my students will never forget? How can I create engaging lessons that still align with curriculum, with state standards, etc.? Well, folks, it’s possible! Today I am excited to share with you exactly how I turned my classroom into an experience that my students will never forget. Let’s grab our disguises and solve a mystery!

I got this amazing idea to transform my classroom into an interactive classroom from Hope at Elementary Shenanigans.
However, I still needed to add my own Male Kindergarten Teacher twist to it! My inspiration for an interactive classroom experience came from a quote that Hope shared on her blog:

“Provide an uncommon experience for your students and they will reward you with an uncommon effort and attitude.” – Dave Burgess

If we create an uncommon experience for our students by transforming our classrooms into something spectacular, our students are going provide us with a desire to learn, a desire to adapt to new experiences/situations, and a desire to think outside of the box. In this lesson, my students were actively engaged in reviewing skills that were previously taught from the beginning of the year. Plus all the skills in this lesson were all aligned to our reading and math curriculum.

How do I get started?

Well, it’s pretty simple, but first you need to come up with a plan. What mystery are your students going to solve and how are they going to solve it? In my classroom I have a real popcorn machine. No, the popcorn machine is not to make popcorn, but it is to help my students learn their kindergarten sight words (or what I call popcorn words). I thought it would be a great idea to have my popcorn machine go “missing” the day before our spy headquarters transformation. I talked with my principal and she graciously said she would love to be part of this mystery! I hid our popcorn machine in her office and started creating invitations to send home to my students the night before.

The next step was creating an invitation to each of my students inviting them to our spy headquarters the next day. I created these personalized envelopes with a secret message inside. However, in order to find out what the secret message said, my students needed to put together a puzzle with the secret message on it! I used Ellison dies to cut my secret message into four puzzle pieces. To find out how I made the invitations, head on over to the Ellison Education blog!

The invitation said:

“Secret Agent,
I need your help! You have been chosen to be a part of a top secret mission. Our popcorn machine has gone missing, and I need your help to find it!
In order to solve our mystery, you will need to complete a number of tasks. If you accept his mission, please report to your classroom at 8:20 A.M. sharp. If possible, please wear black as a disguise.
I hope to see you there!
– Agent Boender”

Classroom Setup

Classroom setup is fairly simple! However, when setting up your classroom, you can go as crazy or as simple as you want. Here is what you will need:

Yes, it’s that simple! I created this sign using Kate Hadfield Designs clip art. After creating the graphic, I had it made into a 2.5′ x 4′ banner from Vistaprint.

Check out this classroom transformation! Simply place a series of black lights around the classroom. Tie white yarn from the ceiling to objects such as tables, chairs, etc. Now that our classroom is transformed, this calls for some costumes/disguises!

My students each received a secret agent badge and some amazing disguise glasses from OrientalTrading.com.

I also purchased these personalized trophies from OrientalTrading for each student. This is a great way to reward my students for solving the mystery of the missing popcorn machine!

My students also received a bag of Skinny Pop Popcorn!

Check out my Spy Headquarters unit in My TeachersPayTeachers Store!

This unit includes:

• 7 spy themed center activities that review the following
skills:
   – Beginning Sounds
   – Missing Numbers
(Up to 20)
   – Ten Frames (Up to
20)
   – Uppercase to
Lowercase Matching
   – Letter Mat
Matching
   – Rhyming Words
   – Number
Identification (Tally marks, base ten blocks, fingers, and ten frames)
• Editable poster
• Editable personalizable invitation
• Editable personalizable envelope cover
With over 60 pages, this unit is excellent for reviewing the
concepts in both reading and mathematics.
Center Setup
I designated six of my tables as a center. As the students completed each center, the students received
a puzzle piece. After receiving each puzzle piece, the students were one step
closer to finding out the culprit of the missing popcorn machine!

At the end of all six centers, my students received six puzzle pieces to put together. They worked together in groups to solve the mystery and found out who the culprit was. Their favorite part was taking a visit down to the principal’s office to question the culprit! Why did our principal take our popcorn machine? She wanted to learn our popcorn words (sight words), of course!

This activity is sure to get your students excited about learning, and it is something they will remember and cherish for a lifetime!
Secret Agent,

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18 Comment

  1. Reply
    LauraAndRyp KellyAndWalters
    March 1, 2016 at 8:04 pm

    This is awesome. I want to be a kindergarten spy!

  2. Reply
    The Berry Family
    March 1, 2016 at 8:20 pm

    OMG, this is so so stinkin' cute!

  3. Reply
    Albion
    March 1, 2016 at 8:28 pm

    Oh my goodness, this is fantastic! I can just imagine how much fun your kids had. The kid in me wishes I was participating!

  4. Reply
    Kara Harvey
    March 1, 2016 at 8:45 pm

    This is amazing! I teach 6th grade and my students would love a spy themed classroom. Your students are lucky to have you as their teacher!!

  5. Reply
    Laura Neiman
    March 1, 2016 at 9:54 pm

    SUCH great ideas, Chad. Really cool!

  6. Reply
    Laura Neiman
    March 1, 2016 at 9:54 pm

    SUCH great ideas, Chad. Really cool!

  7. Reply
    Paulette Aldridge
    March 2, 2016 at 6:13 am

    Love the idea! Wish more teacher were so creative! Great job!

  8. Reply
    Madge Gillen
    March 2, 2016 at 8:20 pm

    Oh my stars!! 007**** What an amazing job you have done! Holy Buckets! There needs to be more teachers out there like you! My kids would have flipped to have you as a teacher. Heck can I come back to Kindergarten? LOL !! Great Job!! Loves- Madge

  9. Reply
    Kate Hadfield
    March 22, 2016 at 11:59 am

    This is utterly, utterly awesome!! What a fun and engaging activity for your students!

  10. Reply
    susan
    August 27, 2016 at 6:10 am

    They must have loved it! Very great idea and I bet everyone was engaged!

  11. Reply
    Kinderstacey
    August 27, 2016 at 12:56 pm

    Excellent idea I've been looking for something like this.

  12. Reply
    Kinderstacey
    August 27, 2016 at 12:58 pm

    Excellent idea I've been looking for something like this.

  13. Reply
    seeyoulighter-- SHAWNA
    August 27, 2016 at 2:05 pm

    Wow that is dedication to your students! Where do you find the time?

  14. Reply
    seeyoulighter-- SHAWNA
    August 27, 2016 at 2:05 pm

    Wow that is dedication to your students! Where do you find the time?

  15. Reply
    Mrs. Jordan
    August 27, 2016 at 2:45 pm

    This looks AMAZING!!

  16. Reply
    DCEKinder
    August 27, 2016 at 6:09 pm

    This looks like so much fun and learning happened!

  17. Reply
    Christina Carpenter
    August 27, 2016 at 8:48 pm

    This looks awesome!! We also have popcorn words!! Thanks for the idea 🙂

  18. Reply
    Christina Carpenter
    August 27, 2016 at 8:48 pm

    This looks awesome!! We also have popcorn words!! Thanks for the idea 🙂

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