How to Reset Your Classroom After a Break
As your students trickle back into the classroom this January, their minds and routines may still be in vacation mode. While their bodies occupy their seats, their thoughts may be back at home with their new video game. Others have proudly toted their new phone to school and are tempted to take a peek at it while you teach. Unfortunately, the return from the winter break even has your best students appearing less focused than usual.
Although it may feel frustrating that the first weeks back feel like the first weeks of school, you can certainly relate! It’s hard to wake up at 5:30 AM when it’s still dark outside and reset your morning routine, especially after the fun and festivities of the holidays.
You take a big breath as you stand in front of 25 students who aren’t exactly thrilled to be back in homeroom.
As the kids would say, it’s time to change the whole vibe.
Here are four ways to hit the reset button in your classroom after a break.
1. Build connections. Your students have been away from school—which means they’ve been away from you and each other. Get them back in the habit of talking, collaborating, and having fun together. Put them in groups, give them some time to socialize, and plan fun activities (see number 3!).
And don’t forget to work on your own connection with your students. Take the time to ask them how their break was, who they spent time with, and what they enjoyed most. Let them know that you’re glad to see them again, and that you’re looking forward to the new semester. Enthusiasm is contagious!
2. Harness the power of goal-setting. January is a magical time of year for goal setting! Even the crankiest kids can respond to the promise of a fresh start. No matter what they struggled with last semester, remind your students that January is the time to start over. Help them plan what they want to achieve in the new year with these goal-setting tips:
- Give them calendar sheets and help them fill in important due dates and school events.
- Have them journal about a trait to develop or a goal they want to achieve. What does it look like? What obstacles will they face? How will they feel when they’ve reached the goal?
- Split into groups and have students brainstorm personal development ideas together. For example, students who struggle with motivation might find themselves inspired by their classmates’ ideas.
3. Play games. One way to break the back-to-school ice is by planning fun games for your class. Games can keep learning on track and change up how you review subject matter. Use a little fun to reset the classroom mood and get your students pumped up to be back. Playing games can also keep children engaged in class, so use this tactic all year long. A few game ideas are:
- A quiz show-style review of last semester’s material to offer many easy wins and prepare students to tackle new subject matter.
- Games like Simon Says and Bingo that assist younger classes with listening skills and following directions. Those skills are never more valuable than right after a break!
- Games such as charades or picture-guessing games that get kids up and moving.
Integrating a few games into your first days after a break can wake up a sleepy class and generate some enthusiasm.
4. Review the rules and classroom systems. After being out of the classroom for two weeks, it’s understandable that your students may need prompting to remember your class rules and routines. Therefore, it’s wise to have a plan to review the class rules several times during the first week back. Also, remind students of your systems, such as where they are to submit their classwork and how they can access a restroom pass. Be patient and consistent, and your classroom community will reset quickly.
Adaptively is ready to help students stay on track.
Adaptively offers a convenient and fun online platform for schools, districts, and homeschool programs to provide quality enrichment education. Combining human interaction and leading-edge technology to boost students’ English and math skills, we’re your partners in learning success (and fun!). Contact us today to learn how you can bring our all-inclusive learning management system to your students.