As I sit here reflecting on the past few days of our Christmas break and all the time I have spent with family and friends, eating way too many sweets and binging on Hallmark movies and Netflix, I also start to think about the fact that school is about to be back in session (January 3rd for many around here). Being off for two weeks can not only refresh you start back but it has also created some of those habits you (and your students) were in to be forgotten.
How can we start back in January and be refreshed and ready to hit the ground running? You know you will need it because we all know that the Spring Semester is a countdown to state testing right?!?
First, work on what you need to make sure that YOU are ready to get back into your habits.
1. Pick out your clothes for at least the first week back. Have them all organized and ready to grab because you know that the alarm will NOT be your friend.
2. Take some time to do some food-prep for the week so that you can not only have easy to prep dinners but also lunches that are quickly put together for you.
3. Clean out that teacher bag! Spill it all out, pull out the vacuum and clean up any bits and pieces of leftover holiday treats that were shoved in there, and toss things that are no longer relevant.
4. Schedule a pampering session for yourself after the first week is over. You will LOVE YOURSELF for the treat to motivate you because you know that even though you have your best intentions at hear that week, things will happen, they always happen.
Next, think to yourself what can you do to help you plan for the best and the worst of the week to come? You will need to look at the school calendar as well as your curriculum calendars for this.
1. Where did you leave off when you left for the holidays? Remember that just because you taught something those last few days doesn’t necessarily mean that the students have retained that info, they were already mentally on break at times. Take some time to review on those concepts on what you covered. Find an interactive activity that covers the concepts (think Solve and Snips, Task Cards with Left, Right, Answer, or even setting up work-stations to review several skills at once).
2. Remember that when students come back from Holiday Break they have forgotten what it was like to have a schedule. Take time to go over procedures again and by doing this you won’t want to pull you hair out as quickly, I promise. Let them know what your expectations are and heck, remind them what the goals are in your classroom. Not only do they need to master your subject but they also need to respect one another and allow for learning to happen.
3. Who says you can’t do something fun when you come back from break? Plan a time for students to let loose and share what they did over the break. By PLANNING for this then it won’t interrupt your actual learning time. This could be as simple as the first five minutes of class each day for students to share a good thing from over the holiday break.
While these tips may not seem like a lot to many but remember that January is a time to not only reboot in our personal lives but we are also refreshing behaviors, learning and just an all around fresh start. Some of your students may need to know they are starting fresh with you and you are wiping away things from the past to allow them a clean slate!
What tips do you have to ignite the flames in your classroom after a holiday break? What can you share that has worked well?