The week leading up to winter break is designed for chaos—parties, assemblies, and winter craft activities make it easy for a classroom to get carried away. This year, try out some of our preplanned strategies and ideas designed to keep your classroom organized and stress-free.
6 Ways Teachers Can Plan the Week Before Winter Break
Adding extra active time for kids in the form of recess, active classroom games, and activities that allow for movement gives students a physical way to blow off steam and relax. Incorporating more kinesthetic learning activities could help “get the wiggles out” and keep students on an even keel. Limiting the amount of sugar sent in by well-meaning parents can help as well.
Let some events be a surprise
If your kids have been practicing for weeks, then the holiday music show won’t be a surprise, but other events could be. Unless they need to know, don’t mention presentations, assemblies, and other events until right before they happen. If the whole room is buzzing about the assembly at noon it will be tough to get everyone to stay on task through the morning.
Review your expectations
Taking time at the start of the week to review rules and expectations in your classroom will help remind everyone what is acceptable and what is not. You can do this in a fun way with a no-stress quiz or an interview-style presentation. Reminding kids what you expect helps keep everyone on track during this busy week. Resisting the idea of easing up because it’s the holiday season will help keep the week before winter break calmer and more orderly in your classroom.
Keep your regular routines (as much as possible)
While you are likely integrating not only classroom activities but whole school activities as well, emphasize that the final week before break is still full of normal school days with normal activities so kids don’t assume holiday fun is a ticket to misbehaving. Add a festive or seasonal sheet to your morning work or read a holiday book, but do these things as part of your normal schedule. Your students will take a cue from you and act accordingly.
Plan for light activities and low-key fun on the last day
The kids know the break is almost here, so keep expectations reasonable. The last day before the break is not the best time for an elaborate craft, intricate game, or any activity that requires better than normal attentiveness. For many schools, this is a half day, further disrupting the normal routine and possibly plunging the class into chaos. Insist on maintaining your normal classroom rules—don’t try to cram all holiday parties, crafts, and fun into one single morning.
Prepare for the first days back—before you leave
Once the last child filters out of your classroom, take some quiet time to remove your holiday decorations and pack away any items you’ll use again next year. You’ll be able to get a fresh start and not be faced with the task of taking down ornaments, trees, menorahs, and other decorations on the first morning back to school in the new year.
More on Teacher Life & Winter Break
If you’re looking forward to winter break, or just need some inspiration to make the most of your short time away from the classroom, be sure to stop by the Teacher Life category page. You’ll find tips for self-care over winter break and inspiration for starting the second semester with the best foot forward.