Students aren’t the only ones who look forward to the holiday break. Teachers and administrators also enjoy spending time with family and friends. Many educators spend part of the break preparing their classrooms for the return of students in January. A proactive approach will allow you to truly enjoy your holiday break while being secure in the knowledge that you and your classroom are ready to go when school starts up again.
1. Out with the Old
Classroom clutter accumulates quickly. Send student-made projects home with children prior to the holiday break. Toss out or store away any items that will no longer be in-season or theme-appropriate in January.
2. In with the New
Stock up on supplies needed for the New Year. Take inventory of what you have in your classroom and storage areas. Order more arts and crafts supplies, as well as office and desk items. Think ahead to January’s lessons and themes, and order items that will enhance students’ learning opportunities.
3. Themes and Decor
Take down bulletin board items and holiday-themed room decor. Replace it with bulletin board items that reflect learning themes for January. Decorate the classroom walls with posters, charts or pictures that encourage students in an age-appropriate manner to strive toward learning goals.
4. Prepare for January Lessons
Get a head start on lesson plans for January. Start by listing weekly themes and then outline how each theme will be broken up into daily lessons.
5. Write January Newsletter
Keeping in touch with parents is important. A January newsletter that’s ready to go home to parents the first week back to school helps parents transition back to the school mindset while informing them of what’s going on in their child’s classroom.
6. Send Students Off with a Reading Challenge
Without overloading students with homework, you still want to keep their minds engaged throughout the holiday season. Prepare a fun reading challenge and make a class trip to the school library prior to the holiday break so children are prepared to participate.
7. Schedule Classroom Work Time Toward the End of the Holiday Break
Wait until the end of your holiday break to head back into the classroom. Maximize your work efforts by gathering the supplies you’ve ordered and bringing along everything needed to put the final touches on classroom preparation.
Whether you choose to accomplish these tasks before or during the holiday break, you’ll set yourself up for a stress-free return in January. Because the classroom is ready to welcome students, you can focus on sharing your holiday experiences and continue learning. A smooth transition after the long break sets the foundation for teaching and learning.