With Thanksgiving over, the classroom countdown is on to winter break, no matter what age your students are. The question is, how can educators keep students on task and learning when they are so excited about the holidays? Fortunately, we have a few ideas that can help you and them focus on school before the long holiday vacation many of us are anticipating.
- Manipulatives are great ways to keep hands busy while learning at the same time. Stress balls and Play-Doh can aid in focusing young minds on the lesson.
- Now is a great time to adjust the seating chart or allow students to sit on the floor. Changing it up a little gets rid of some of that pent-up excitement.
- Allow students the opportunity to teach their classmates something new. A variation on the popular “Show and Tell” theme, students can demonstrate a craft, musical instrument, or other special talent to the class.
- If the children are particularly fidgety, take the class outside for a few minutes to let them run around and re-energize.
- Incorporate the upcoming holidays into your lesson plans. Not only can you add making ornaments or gifts but use sales circulars as part of a math lesson or discuss the history of different holiday traditions.
- Make a countdown paper chain or other use another countdown idea to mark off the days until vacation. Take a couple of minutes each day to mark off one less day until break.
- Take advantage of multi-media options for presenting lessons, whether it is using videos, a guest speaker, or including students in creative ways.
- Have fun with your students. Designate a couple of days as “theme” days where you and the students can wear a funny hat, bring their favorite book, or invite parents to a special presentation you all prepare.
Of course, it’s important to keep classroom learning going until the break, but that doesn’t mean that every minute is all “work.” Take the time to enjoy it with your class and while they’re absorbing what you teach, they’ll also be creating memories that will last for years.