Teaching in December - 7 Tips for Crushing it in the Classroom
It’s here. The most wonderful time of the year!
You’ve just returned from your glorious Thanksgiving break, and now the countdown is on until Winter break begins.
But, you still have three weeks in the classroom with your students. It’s up to you as the teacher to set the tone in your classroom, and it’s especially important this time of year.
As you check off those calendar days until Winter break, use these tips to make the most of this exciting time with your students.
1. Be Present
Let’s be real. The holiday season can be chaotic, especially in the classroom. You have teaching standards to hit, classroom holiday celebrations, and a long break fast approaching. It can be overwhelming for you and your students.
But, your students will feed off the vibe you give. Practice being present with your students and enjoying the time you share with them before break instead of stressing about that to-do list.
Be intentional about personally connecting with each student throughout the day. Their systems are often overwhelmed during this time of year, and a genuine connection from you will help them feel grounded.
Setting this tone for your classroom will make management during these busy weeks easier and your classroom atmosphere more enjoyable.
2. Let Students Lend a Helping Hand
The holiday season is a time of giving, and students love to give through helping. Whenever possible, find tasks to delegate to your students.
Need a holiday bulletin board? Enlist students to come up with ideas and designs.
Looking for Brain Break ideas over the next few weeks? Ask your students what they suggest. After compiling ideas from your students, you can put them in a jar and draw their ideas when it’s time.
You can even have students help teach the class! A great idea for December is to let students do a standards-based research project they can share with their classmates. This can include making a slideshow, performing a skit, writing a song, sharing a poster, or just reading an essay they’ve written.
Letting students help during the month of December takes a load off your work plate and makes students feel like an important part of the class.
3. Flex Those Flexible Muscles
Typically the month of December is filled with school-wide events that your students are pumped about!
Take a look at your school calendar and map out those events so you can plan around them. Also, be prepared for your students’ excitement on these days.
For example, if you know you have a school-wide assembly on the same day as your weekly spelling test, you may want to adjust your schedule so all your major “thinking” assignments are out of the way before the assembly.
Also, be aware that the holiday season is a stimulating time for children. Many are doing fun things outside of school, and sometimes bedtimes get pushed back. Your students may be tired or out of sorts, and you’ll want to take that into account during the month of December.
Remember, while the pull is strong to keep hitting those standards in December, have some grace with your students. They’ll be refreshed and ready to receive that new material in January.
4. Have Fun Projects for Fast Finishers
You want to keep your classroom calm and engaged in December. One way to do this is to have fun projects ready to go for fast finishers.
We’ve all been there. You have one student who finishes their math assignment in half the time it takes the rest of the class. Now what?
Prepare a table of fun holiday activities and projects in your classroom that students can work on when they complete their classwork. Not only are projects engaging, but students will want to finish their classroom assignments so they can get to the fun stuff.
5. Make a Plan for Your Return from Break
It’s easy to get wrapped up in all of the holiday cheer and excitement of the upcoming break. But, whatever you do, don’t head out without having a game plan for the first week in January.
January is the perfect time to have your students evaluate their progress and set some trackable goals for the upcoming semester. This also helps rebuild the classroom community after time away from school.
With this taken care of, you can leave your work at work over the break and truly unplug. Your future self will thank you for getting this done before leaving work for the holidays.
6. Just Breathe
Listen, dear teacher, know that you’re doing an amazing job with your students. It’s getting close to the halfway point of the school year, and you deserve to take a step back and recharge.
Take some time to reflect on what has gone well this school year. Celebrate your successes and those of your students. Then, use this break as a time to take care of yourself.
7. Rock the Perfect Holiday Teacher Tee
Looking for another way to spread holiday cheer in your classroom and school? We’ve got you covered.
As you lead your students through this holiday season, remember to set a tone of joy and a feeling of presence in your classroom.