The holidays are a great time for everyone, teachers and students alike, to take a break from the stresses of the classroom, relax and re-charge their batteries! However, once it's time to head back to school a lot of emotions are involved that can be distracting and disruptive of a good learning atmosphere.
Children are excited to see their friends again, to share their stories about their new toys or a trip they took, and as for that routine that you had finally got them to follow before the break? That has been all but forgotten.
Before any learning can take place you first need to regain control of their attention. To help we have created a list of the 9 best ways to get your students refocused and back on track after the holiday break!
1. Use the energy and buzz to your advantage!
Harness this rejuvenation and get active in the classroom! Use physical activities like hopscotch math and spelling, or have the children act out a story from something they did over the holidays. Expanding the energy could help regain control of the class for other more focused activities later on.
2. Write or draw how they spent their two weeks of holidays
Children are going to be excited to tell all of their stories from the past two weeks. Why fight it? Have your students draw a picture of an activity or a story from their holiday and share it with the class or in small groups!
3. Get back into the routine!
Re-establishing the pre-holiday routine is essential! You can help your students get back into the routines by creating a visual calendar reminding them what they need to do and when.
4. Class Pep Rally!
Sometimes the mood can be less than enthusiastic for children returning to school, or for yourself returning to work. To beat the post-holiday blues and to get everyone excited for the semester ahead host a classroom pep rally! Sing songs, dance, and play trivia games of material covered before the break!
5. Routine Checklist
The "routine checklist" will help students recall what they need to do if they forgot the habits you finally had them forming before the holidays. This also gets your students back to working in a purposeful manner, getting focused and re-establishing those habits as quickly as possible!
6. New Year's resolutions!
Get your students excited for the new year by having them create New Year's resolutions! Ask your students what learning goals they have for the new semester, or habits they think they could be better at. Setting goals early will help your students get focused on getting back to learning!
7. Encourage directed class discussion
Students want to talk to each other on the first day of school back from the holidays. Let them get this energy out by directing the discussion and giving specific questions to discuss as a group or in smaller groups. Some examples could be: what was your favourite memory of 2016? What do you want to do in 2017?
8. Furniture Rearrange
This can signal change to your students! Sometimes of novelty or change can get attention priority and distract them from chatting with their neighbour.
9. Review Classroom Rules
Help your students remember the classroom rules and routines by having a class discussion. If your students have a lot of energy heading back from the holidays you could have them act out some rules and have the other students guess which rule they are acting out!