The following three week stretch can be one of the hardest for keeping kids on task during the school day. They’ve just come off of the Thanksgiving holiday and only have a few weeks before the extended winter break. Many families have vacations planned that they are eagerly anticipating. Your school probably has planned lots of out-of-classroom extras, like concerts and special lunches. So allow us to offer up some of our favorite tips and tricks for keeping kids engaged during these holiday times.
Stay Engaged Yourself
To start, YOU need to stay engaged and expect excellence from your students. If they see that your heart isn’t into it (maybe your mind keeps wandering to the gifts you still want to purchase, or the staff holiday party after school) then the kids will not feel motivated to put their all into whatever project they are working on. But if you make it clear that you expect business as always all the way through the last period of the last day before break, your students will be more inclined to follow your lead.
Incorporate Outside Activities
During the holiday season, there is so much going on outside of the classroom – use that to your advantage and bring it into your lessons. Ask students to write an essay or story about what they plan to do during their break. Ask students to use holiday recipes and figure out ratios of different ingredients and what happens if you increase or decrease the original recipe.
Take an Exercise Break
If you really need to refocus your students and bring them back to the moment, give them a quick two-three minute exercise break. Have students stand up and take a walking lap around the room or march in place. If they need something more calming, try one of the amaZEN U yoga pose or breathing exercise videos at www.amazenu.com (your first month is FREE!)
Just three weeks is between you and winter break! Stay focused and your students will too!
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