Connecting the educational world to your classroom

Surviving Winter Break Anticipation


Most teachers can attest, the week leading up to winter break is not for the faint-hearted. Kids are already looking ahead to holiday excitement, parties, sleeping in and playing outside in the snow. Of course, the last week of school in December is also one of the busiest for teachers, chock full of assessments, end-of-the-semester grading and general housekeeping as the calendar year winds down.

We’ve compiled a few tips to help you survive teaching in December!

1. Tie up as many loose ends as you can now. That’s easier said than done, but there are likely a few mundane tasks that always get put off that you can clear off your plate now.

2. Enlist the help of parent volunteers. Ask parents for help with things like planning classroom parties, organizing and recording simple data. No teacher wants to worry about a marshmallow snowman craft when a pile of fluency folders is waiting to be reviewed.

3. Keep your usual classroom routine. There will be distractions, that we know. Assemblies, class parties and projects tend to steal the show in December. Don’t make unnecessary changes during this time such as changing assigned seats, lengthening or shortening recess time or mixing up the order of classes. Kids need an anchor when so much excitement is swirling around them.

4. Don’t go easy on discipline. Again, kids thrive on consistency. The holiday spirit shouldn’t mean lightening up on the rules. Normal discipline helps kids stayed focused and helps you ward off the dreaded pre-break chaotic classroom.

5. Combine holiday fun into lesson plans. Tie a holiday theme into your curriculum without disrupting the lesson plan.

6. Don’t expect much on the last day. Focus is probably waning by this point, so give yourself and the students a break on your last day together for the year. Avoid saving tests and assessments for the last day. Plus, who wants to grade it all over break?

What tips do you have for fellow teachers leading up to holiday break?