In the time that has passed, I have actually moved to a new school, and I am no longer teaching fifth grade. I am now teaching 6th grade language arts at CrossRoads Middle School. I'm in my first year there, and I absolutely LOVE it. We are a sixth grade only school, and we host students from 10 of the 12 elementary schools in our district. We also offer single gender classes, so my schedule looks like this:
Block One - CP boys
Block Two - CP girls
Block Three - Honors girls
Block Four - Planning (WOOHOO!!! Who knew that teachers actually had planning!?)
While I loved teaching elementary school with my whole heart, I have fallen head over heels in love with middle school. It has been such a blessing!
I've learned so much about middle school students this year, and I've already identified many changes that I will be putting into place over the summer to make my classroom a better environment for next year's students.
There is so much research surrounding classroom set up and decoration, but I've yet to find what's perfect for me. In elementary school, bright colors and patterns were my go to. My kids and I both loved the happy, cheerful environment, and it was stimulating and inviting. So, naturally, that's how I approached my sixth grade classroom when I moved in at CRMS. I've got bright colors, patterns, quotes, and pictures. It's pretty and colorful, but I've learned this year that middle school students need a different approach.
I've made a long summer to do list that includes a major classroom makeover. My new goal is to create a simple, calm atmosphere that reminds students of home. I'm going to include desk lamps for softer lighting, live plants for a touch of outside, and new curtains for a finished, put together look. I'm thinking about a gray and yellow color scheme (because that's my personal favorite combination!), and I also have some ideas for new seating and wall decor. I want my students to walk in and feel like our classroom is different and special - a place to be respected and respectful.
I didn't want to do the overhaul midyear (really because there just isn't time during the work week), but I did want to start at least one project to begin the "home" transformation. I settled on a wreath for my classroom door. There isn't much that's homier than that!
After wandering around Michaels for an hour putting things in and taking things out of my basket, I settled on a spring themed burlap wreath. I'm so happy with how it turned out! It was super simple, cost about $15 (the burlap was on sale!), and took about an hour to make.
- 9 yards of burlap (I bought four different colors with two yards on each roll. I had one roll of plain burlap already at my house for the 9th yard.)
- 1 metal wreath ring
- wooden letters that spell S-P-R-I-N-G
- craft paint (already had at home)
- flower decals
- pipe cleaners (cut into thirds)
- hot glue gun
1. First, I painted the letters with pretty pastel colors that matched the burlap I picked out. I wanted to let the letters dry while I worked on the rest of the wreath.
2. Then, I cut each roll of burlap in half so that I had two one yard pieces of each color. There are 9 sections of the wreath frame, so I wanted one yard of fabric for each section.
3. I began connecting the burlap to the frame section by section. This wasn't a difficult process, but it wasn't that easy to take pictures of...so, I'll do my best to explain. I attached one end of the piece to a crossbar on the wreath frame with a piece of pipe cleaner. I then created loops and wove them in and out of one section of the frame. There was no rhyme or reason to this - I just went with what looked good! When needed, I used a piece of pipe cleaner to attach the burlap to the frame. When I finished with one section, I started with a new color in the next section.
4. By the time I was finished with the wreath, the letters were dry. I hot glued a flower decal to each letter.
5. Then, I hot glued each of the letters to the wreath and made a simple burlap bow. I wanted to make a plain burlap bow to go on the bottom of the wreath and balance the fact that each color except the plain had two sections, so I made sure that the section with the plain burlap was on the top. Here's the finished product!