Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Helpful Harvest: Classroom Survival Tips for the Holidays

Hi, peachy friends! It's Shannon from Shannon Bryant's Brain Train.

Happy almost Thanksgiving from all of us at the Peach!
We are so grateful for you!!!  

The holidays are here!  I am so excited, and I hope you are too!!!

You know who else is excited?  That's right...our students.  At home they are busy putting up Christmas trees and lights, welcoming in family from out of town for Thanksgiving meals around the table, making lists for Santa, preparing for Christmas programs at church and school, staying up late, and eating sweets...lots and lots of sweets!

At the same time, we are busy with grown-up holiday errands of our own,,,making lists, checking them twice, mailing cards, wrapping presents, and drinking coffee...lots and lots of coffee!
Teacher fatigue plus student excitement does not equal heavenly peace, so here are just a few tips to help you survive the holidays...
Maintain as much of the normal routine as you can--morning work, classroom expectations, teaching from all content areas, etc.  Of course, please don't think I am encouraging you to be Scrooge.  Holiday smiles and fun are all a part of this magical time of year!  But maintaining your usual schedule and routine will help students (and you) feel more settled and organized as school continues over the next month.  For example, in Science we are continuing our unit on Digestion and Nutrition, and yes, we are even having a vocab quiz and test between now and Christmas.  But, we are also sprinkling in a few fun curriculum-related ideas as well.  Next week, students will be using their knowledge of the food groups to plan their "perfect" holiday meal!  Normal routine, but with a bit of holiday fun!

Sometimes thoughts of Christmas gift-giving and Santa can make us all become a little obsessed with thoughts of ME, ME, ME!  What if, during the holidays, we were able to shift that focus a little?  When your class has moments of down-time, how about making cards for a fellow teacher or class, asking a teacher of another grade if you can be holiday pen pals, encouraging and demonstrating random acts of kindness around the school, etc...

My favorite part of the school day is when I encourage my students to "settle in with a good book."  Try sprucing up your classroom library with a few holiday favorites, or maybe work in a daily holiday read aloud.  We will be reading The Best Christmas Pageant Ever as our chapter book of choice, but there will also be plenty of time for other favorites like Mooseltoe,  How the Grinch Stole Christmas, The Polar Express, and The Berenstain Bears' Christmas Tree.  Silent and group reading opportunities are great ways to help my little learners settle down and relax a little as we move throughout our school day.

In spite of busy schedules and excited students, this truly is one of the most special times of year.  From Thanksgiving through New Year's Day, we all stop to reflect on the year that has passed, the blessings we have received, the things we have learned, and the hopes that we have.  If you are able to rest, recharge, and spill over with love and joy onto your students, they will feed off of the tone you set for your classroom during the holiday season.

I hope these suggestions are beneficial to you!!!  Love and best wishes for the entire holiday season!

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