Christmas is definitely a magical time of the year. We are kinder, nicer and more pleasant to the people around us. It’s the closest we all come to being a caring community, and we search for ways to make things easier for others. What a special world this would be if every day was like Christmas (a nod to Elvis Presley’s Christmas song from 1966).
For teachers, it can even mean a little bit more. Give or take a week or two, the winter break from school is essentially the halfway mark for the school year. It can be difficult for the teacher and the students to start the second half with as much excitement as they began the start of the school year.
There are things we can do to bring back some of the energy that was present at the start of the academic year. The second half of the school year can even be better than the first. There are ways a teacher can increase the enthusiasm for everyone involved during the next five months. The list below has some quick ideas to help you in the classroom.
Students Already Know the Routine
The toughest part at the start of every school year is getting the students familiar with the routine of the classroom. Now that the second half is beginning, they should know all of this. They know the order the subjects are covered every single day. They know the books that go with the subjects. Lunch count is no longer a chore that takes thirty minutes a the beginning of the day. Students hopefully no longer leave their seats without permission in the middle of a lesson.
Because the students are familiar with all of this, it is time to add a bit of a kick to the classroom. Put students in charge of tasks around the room. Have them erase the boards, straighten up the bookcases, take out the trash, do the lunch count, and organize the place. It is the second half, so they should be ready for the responsibilities.
Plan More Group Work
During the first few months of the school year, teachers are unsure about placing students in groups. Teachers are uncertain if the students are mature enough for collaborative and cooperative learning. But by now, it should be easy to determine which students should be in which groups for least disruption.
Use Technology Often
Students should know their logins and passwords to access all their online accounts through the school at this time. They are able to create documents and presentations without the need for immediate guidance every step of the way. Turn them loose and have them prepare more of their work using technology. Children love to use computers and take delight in doing so. Let them, and know that you are offering them a 21st-century education in the process. If you feel you lack the skills needed to properly educate students through technology, contact iAchieve to schedule a Professional Development day for the near future.
All the Difficult Things Are Done
It is like being past the halfway mark in a race. You should have a good feel for things and can just keep on coasting the rest of the way. Everything that was difficult or uncomfortable is now done. You have already conquered the class of new students. The parent/teacher conferences are all completed and finished. Even the Winter Concert was a success. There is nothing to be overly concerned about the rest of the school year. You know the students, the staff, the parents, and everyone in between. You even learned how to put scores in the new electronic gradebook. Things are on the upswing!
Written by Ryan Crawley
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