The tree is back up in my classroom, with a new and improved look. I had to pull last year's tree down at the end of the year, but enjoyed it in the room so much that I wanted to put up another one this year. Fortunately, I learned several things last year that I wanted to improve on, which helped me improve on the tree design a bit.
One thing I learned last year was the need to secure the tree "hole" better so that it didn't dip down into the trunk. The hole is made from a flower pot secured to a big piece of folded cardboard. Here's how it looks on the underneath all that paper:
This year I tied a piece of string on the back/bottom of the flower pot and secured it to the "roof" of cardboard above. This hopefully will keep it from falling down in the trunk).
My friend Gay was unable to help me tree-build, but Jacob came along to help. And the teacher from the morning class was there that day, as well. The only problem was that I really didn't know how to tell them to help until I fumbled through the process by myself. And by the time I figured out how to do each part, each part was already done.
You can find ‘Making a Classroom Tree” here and here, and “Decorating a Classroom Tree” here and here.
I admit that I did despair a little bit during the building process, for a long moment losing hope that I had any tree-making ability in my at all. I believe that was the stage where I was trying to hold up three or four random tree branches over my head that were splayed out like unconscious octopus legs while trying to attach them to the wall. But then I pulled it together. Whew.
I did do something different for the leaves this year. Last year I just made leaves out of butcher paper, and then we added hand print leaves and other things as the year went on, as you can see here:
This year I bought some shiny, sparkly fabric and decided to make fabric leaves:
My original thought was that I would use the die cut machine at the Teacher Center to cut them all out, but this proved to by way too time-consuming, since you could only cut out two leaves at a time without the die cut machine making strange cracking sounds. (And believe me, that ladies that work there frown on that.)
So instead I brought them home and cut leaf shapes out with scissors, since I could layer them and cut them seven or eight at a time. I then decided they needed a little shaping, so I ran each leaf through my sewing machine to put a little tuck in the top of each one. After that, I layered the leaves into groups of three and ran them through the machine again without cutting the thread, resulting in long chains of leaves. (Yes, I know. I am a glutton for huge, time consuming tasks like this.) Then I could attach them to the tree in long pieces, giving the tree more leaf coverage:
Finally, I added some animals to the tree. Right now I have a raccoon, a couple of birds, and this monkey.
So that is Phase One of the tree this year. Phase Two will be to add apples, and then we'll move on to Fall Leaves (Phase Three). You might have noticed that I bought fabric for fall-colored leaves as well, but I will need some more time before I have the energy to even consider taking on that sewing task again.