Restarting the School Year
As adults, we have the tendency to want to pick up right where we left off in January. We expect that January 5th will be the same as the middle of December, or even October or November.
Our students, however, are not quite ready for this. After the fractured schools schedules of December and two weeks off for the holiday, returning to school in January is almost like starting over. Here are a few ideas to help the school year get off to a good restart.
1. Assume Nothing – Think your students remember how to line up? Walk in the hall? Get their lunch? Don’t count on it. This is likely progressively worse of a problem the younger your students are, but even my fourth graders hear a lot of procedures the first few days back.
2. Re-Build Reading and Writing Stamina – We hope that students have used the time off to be reading and writing more than they would on a normal school day, but this is not the case for many of our readers, especially the most reluctant. Unfortunately, many of these students spent more time playing video games than reading. These students might need help regaining their ability to read for thirty or more minutes.
3. Work on Team-Building Skills – During the holiday season, adults focus on their children, and those kids often get what they want (mine did!). The nature of this means that sharing and sacrificing were fairly absent for many students for two weeks. Reteaching cooperative learning skills and doing team-building activity benefit the classroom climate and help make the rest of the semester more productive.
Good luck and have a great second half of the year!