It’s no secret that, at this point in the year, teachers are just trying to make it to winter break! The days seem longer, the students are restless, and the excitement for the upcoming holidays is palpable. However, as tempting as it may be to run out the door when the bell rings, taking some time to ensure that your classroom is set and ready to go when you come back will allow you a more restful break. Below are the essential tasks teachers should prioritize before winter break to ensure a smooth transition into the new year.
1. Clean Student Areas Before Winter Break:
Before you leave for winter break, take the time to have students clean and organize their areas in your classroom. Collect any missing papers from students, organize supplies, restock materials, and thoroughly clean and dust the space. You’ll return to a fresh and organized classroom by tidying up.
2. Clean Your Area:
Besides tidying up student areas, remember to clean and declutter your workspace. File away any loose papers, tidy up shelves or cabinets, and give your desk a good wipe-down. Removing the physical clutter will help create a clear and focused mindset when you return.
3. Reset Your Walls and Boards Before Winter Break:
Take a moment to reset your classroom walls and boards. Replace any outdated anchor charts, update calendars or schedules, and display new examples of student work. Fix any loose or falling items to ensure a visually appealing and functional classroom environment.
4. Make a Plan for the First Week After Winter Break:
Spend some time crafting a rough plan for the upcoming weeks. While you don’t need to plan every minute, having a general outline of what needs to be covered upon your return will alleviate stress and allow a smoother transition. Consider mapping out the first day and jotting down activities, routines, and procedures you want to reinforce.
Tips for Planning the Whole First Week Back:
Consider working ahead and getting the whole first week back planned out before you go. To make the transition into the new year even smoother, here’s a suggested breakdown of tasks for each day of the first week:
Monday: Write Out Plans
Use this day to outline your lesson plans for the entire first week. Consider the objectives, activities, and assessments you want to incorporate. Having a clear plan in place will help you stay focused and organized.
Tuesday: Gather/Create Materials
Take the time to gather or create any necessary materials for the week’s activities. This might include worksheets, handouts, or interactive resources. Preparing everything in advance will save you valuable time during the busy first week back.
Wednesday: Prep Welcome Back Activities
Plan engaging and fun activities to welcome your students back after the break. This could include icebreakers, team-building exercises, or reflection activities. Make sure to align these activities with your learning goals to kick-start the new year positively.
Thursday: Make Copies
Dedicate this day to making copies of any handouts or materials needed for the first week. Check your supplies, ensure you have enough copies, and organize them by day or subject. Being well-prepared will make your days run more smoothly.
Friday: Reset the Classroom
On the last day before the break, reset your classroom by tidying up, rearranging furniture if necessary, and ensuring all supplies are well-organized and easily accessible. A fresh and inviting environment will set a positive tone for the new year.
Teachers must take the time to wrap up loose ends and prepare for a smooth transition before winter break. By following these tips and prioritizing tasks such as cleaning student areas, resetting walls and boards, and making a plan for the first week back, you can ensure a restful break and a solid start to the new year. Investing time and effort now will save you valuable energy and stress later. Enjoy your well-deserved winter break!