Monday, September 5, 2016

I Will Survive!

I teach each year in themed units, and my first unit of the year is always survival. Considering I teach in a sixth grade only school, just about everyone in the building is in survival mode for the first few weeks, so it's a pretty appropriate way to begin the year. 

Each of my units includes a PBL (more about that in a future post) and an Independent Novel Study. Before we get started with that, however, I have the students begin thinking about the unit theme in different ways. 

For my survival unit, I ask students to define and illustrate what they think it means to survive. My CP students write a definition, and my Honors students are asked to use a simile or metaphor to define survival. It always results in some pretty amazing thinking, and I can then use the students' work to create a display that will stay up for the entire unit. 

Decorating When You Don't Have Time...

Last year I had a goal to create and hang a wreath in my classroom for each of the months/holidays/seasons. I made it to October before I just didn't have time to keep it up. I renewed my goal this year, but I also came up with an idea that I think is a bit more realistic as far as time (and money) is concerned.

I bought a monogrammed hanger from Michael's on sale for less than a dollar and spray painted it white. Using a velcro dot, I attached a small chalkboard with a welcome message and then hung the wreath with some "ABC" ribbon between my two windows. Voila! Instant "Welcome Back to School" wreath!

The best thing about this is how easy it is to change for the next season or holiday. As soon as college football season started, I traded the chalkboard for a foam Gamecock coaster (re-purpose EVERYTHING!) and my ABC ribbon for some garnet and black bows. It's instantly a new creation. I can't wait to switch it up for each new holiday!