by Sarah Johnson
It’s no surprise that “holiday cheer” often overflows into the classroom this time each year! That “cheer” is often manifested as anxious and excited, high-energy students that might have a harder time focusing their attention on school! Here are 5 things I have found helpful to keep students engaged and on track:
Keep up your routines! You’ve been working hard since that 1st day of school to establish your class routines. Now, more than ever, it is important to keep them going!
Be consistent! Don’t begin to let things slide. You are exhausted, no doubt, but the saying is true, “give an inch and they’ll take a mile”!
Expectations! Hold the students accountable. Focus on the positive, rather than the negative! Reward students that exemplify the classroom expectations with simple and free rewards. (e.g., show and tell, first in line, help one of the specials teachers, be a helper, wear a hat in class, sit at/near the teachers desk, eat lunch in class with a friend, bring a stuffed toy to school, special chair, bonus points, positive note sent home, brain break, work displayed, classroom money, extra recess minutes.)
Embrace it! Plan some holiday themed, content-rich activities in your lessons! Keep students engaged in learning all the way through the quarter! Find ways to add movement to some of your lessons so kids can wiggle and release some of their energy. Get your team on board and plan some rotations with STEAM projects or other activities for your grade level. Don’t pretend the holidays aren’t happening, try to incorporate it!
Take care of yourself! This is last on the list, but in no way is it the least important! Take the advice of your friendly flight attendant, help yourself first, so you can be available to assist the children next to you (or in your class). Attached is a list of 50 strategies for stress relief. Find some things that work for you! It is extremely hard to successfully manage a room full of students if you are exhausted and out of energy! Avoid burnout, take time to recharge and you’ll be ready to show up for your kids~it will be rewarding for everyone!