Want to know an awesome activity that can be adapted to ANY skill that comes with INSTANT engagement? Well I’m ready to share! Grab some glow sticks because it’s about to GLOW DOWN!
Have you ever thought about bringing in the magic of glow days into your classroom? Of course we keep it educational! But how do we pull this off? It’s easy! In this post, I’ll teach you how to quickly and easily implement this engaging activity with ANY skill you want to cover! It’s time to glow crazy with a GLOW DAY room transformation!
*This post will also contain some affiliate links which means I get a small commission at no cost to you!*
The Magic Materials
Glow days are an extremely exciting way to review skills learned. There are a few materials needed to make things really LIGHT up. Below you’ll find a list of the things I used during our day with links. Most of these are items that can be purchased once and reused each year.
You can use as little or as many of these items listed. You can also just grab paper, highlighters, and glow sticks from the dollar store, bring in some black lights and the kids would be ecstatic! This list is like the ultimate list of materials to have the most memorable time and remember, a lot can be reused! These are also great items to add to a classroom wish list or even a Donors Choose project!
For the classroom setup, the first and most important thing is to make sure ALL the windows are covered so that it is completely black in the room. There are a few different ways to do this that work well. You can use black bulletin board paper, black table cloths, or even black sheets!
After you have your room darkened, it’s time to set up your lights. Depending on the size of your room, you may want to have between 2-4 black lights. I linked a 3 pack of black lights because that is what I used in the size room we had. I also chose to include a party light and glow balloons for a little extra fun, but please note that these things are not necessary.
To set up for your activities, I chose to have 5 different center stations for students to rotate throughout the day. I made these editable slide displays to go over the day’s expectations for students.
Students were equipped with finger lights and highlighters to complete their work. The lights helped them see their work in the dark, the highlighters made their answers glow, and everyone was SUPER excited and engaged! Woo!!
Glow days can be a lot of fun, but some prep IS required. But don’t worry, I’ve got you COVERED! I’ve taken out a TON of the prep for you with the Glow Day Bundle. You’ll find all these great activities, invitations, and slides included to help make it that much easier for you. Whether you are looking for an after winter break or end of the year celebration, glow days are where it’s at. They are fun, engaging, and great for reviewing skills. Grab the editable 2 digit addition glow day pack HERE!
Neon Review Games
Since we were finishing up our 2 digit addition unit, I decided to dedicate our entire glow day to review ALL the skills we learned. You can decide ANY skill(s) you’d like to cover with this special themed day and I’ve made it easy for you to start planning! Check out the editable glow day pack HERE!
Our activities were made for 2 digit addition with and without regrouping and the students had a BLAST. So what are we waiting for?! Let’s get to the best part- the games!
This is an easy game that EVERYBODY loves! To prep for this activity, I printed our game cards on four different colored cardstock. Then I grabbed our Jenga set, some glow tape and went to work. I taped the edges of the Jenga pieces using the same four colors used for our game cards. You can see how they came out below!
Setup the Jenga game as normal for students with the printed game cards. To play, students each needed a recording sheet. They took turns choosing a card and ALL students solved the problem and discussed their answer. If the person who pulled the card got the answer correct, they were able to pull a Jenga piece. Students continued playing until someone won!
To set up the game for students, set up two trash cans and a free throw line using some glow tape. You can set up a two and three point line if you want. We printed the game cards and recording sheets for students to use while playing.
To play, split your group of students into two teams. Each will be equipped with their own recording sheet and you will be in charge of the game cards. You can either provide both teams with the same card or a different one. Have each person on the team solve the problem. You can set a timer for students to provide them with a fixed amount of time, or have them race to finish.
Each group will provide the answer they got and if a team got the answer right, they get a point. Their correct answer also gives them a chance to shoot the basket for a bonus point! Keep score for teams and have them play to as many points as you have time for.
Tic Tac Toe:
On the ground, set up your tic tac toe board using glow tape. Students will use glow sticks to mark their Xs and Os while they play. Print the paper tic tac toe boards for students to use while playing and you’re ready to go!
Boards are differentiations with equations, word problems, and blank boards to create your own. Students will choose who will be X and who will be O. They will take turns solving problems and making an X or O on the glow board if they get the answer correct. The first person to get three in a row wins!
Stack and Add:
For this activity, we used our glow cups and equation strips. You can choose to write your own or attach the provided equations to the cups.
To play this game, we put all the cups in a pile. Students worked together to solve the equation on the cup and stacked up the sum. You can provide students an added time limit challenge or have them play multiple times and try to solve the equations faster each time. They had such a great time as a team stacking the cups as they solved the equations to build the biggest structure they could!
Add the Room:
For this fun activity, I printed math task cards and placed them all around the classroom for the students to hunt for! Students scavenged around the room with their recording sheets, finger lights, and highlighters and used a strategy to solve each addition problem they found.
Depending on the age and independence of students (we did this with first grade), you can choose to staple all their recording sheets together in the order of the stations they’ll complete OR get a folder for each student to store their materials so that they don’t lose them. You can also have them turn in each sheet after every rotation. No matter how you pull it, thinking about how you organize this piece is going to be a big help, especially with the younger students. There are also station signs included to help littles navigate where they are going!
These were the five stations we decided to use for our Glow Day, but you can totally make it your own. Incorporate games your students are already familiar with, just add a little glow. The key is to get creative and have fun! What’s nice is all of these activities are created for both 2 digit regrouping and non regrouping. They are also all completely editable to fit your own needs and you can use them for a completely different skill if you’d like!
Expectations Light the Way to Fun
As fun as things get, we have to be serious when it comes to the rules! As with all things in our classrooms, modeling clear expectations is the key to making this experience memorable and educational. Some good ground rules to explain and model before each and every game are having respect, keeping distance, accurate recording, and checking our levels of rowdiness.
Help make it a fun experience for all with the editable expectation slide! Simply type in your expectations and display for students so they know exactly what is expected of them for the day. You can also choose to incentivize students by providing a simple glow crown or wand for the groups who are working the hardest. A few example expectations for the day could be for voice levels, being a good sport and teammate, and cleaning up before rotating in a timely manner.
Help families stay in the loop for your fun themed day! You can send home these editable family letters to help families understand what is happening and how to help their child prepare for the big day. For example: wear something white or neon. You can also help students really get pumped up by printing them “tickets” to enter the event the day before your room transformation! Grab the editable family letter FREE by subscribing below.
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The beauty of this super engaging classroom transformation is that it can be done with ANY skill! From reading to math and everything in between! I have seen SO many cool ideas from primary to upper elementary classrooms, to ESL teachers using it to foster more communication between peers. You want kids to practice addition and subtraction story problems? Glow day. Have comprehension questions to answer after finishing up a great unit? Glow day. No matter what skill you need students to refine, this activity can be adapted to cover it! It’s great when you finish up a unit and need a review. The content possibilities are only limited to your imagination!! And because I love my fellow educators to the glow stick and back, I created completely editable templates for you to create your own glow day! These templates can be used over and over again for ANY skill you want to have a glow day with!! Grab them HERE!
I really hope you enjoyed learning more about having a glow day and how they can be used to teach and engage! Don’t forget to subscribe to my email list! You will get the most up to date tips, tricks, and classroom projects… and of course more fun FREEBIES including the Editable Family Glow Day Letter FREEBIE! You will also have exclusive access to tons of digital how-to videos! If you would like to learn about this and other things happening in my classroom follow me @sweetnsauerfirsties on Instagram.
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