I hope you had a relaxing holiday break! I know there are so many mixed emotions that come while preparing to return from break. But I bet you are so excited to see what this next semester holds!
Returning from a long break has its ups and downs. You had a much-needed break to enjoy family and days with no alarm clock, but now it’s time to get back into that daily routine, which can be a bit difficult at first, if we’re honest! So, I have a few tips to help make the transition into this next semester much smoother!
Begin getting yourself in the groove a few days before pre-planning. Set your alarms again, get up with a cup of coffee, and do some prep. Trust me, this will help you not be so exhausted the first few days of returning! It can be so tempting to stay in bed as long as you can up until the day you have to return, but it can make you unmotivated and turn you into a zombie those first days back.
Another important step to take is to find the mantras or words of affirmation you want to begin this semester with! Once you wake up and are getting things prepped for pre-planning, you can start to write down notes for the coming days or weeks for yourself. Positive words to keep you encouraged and remember your New Year’s goals.
Set a New Year’s resolution for your whole class. Setting a main goal for the new semester can allow your students to have a unified mindset. Resolutions can be whatever you feel your class needs. Such as a class reading goal, a character goal, or even a goal that focuses on good behavior. If you like, you can make multiple resolutions and create a chart to keep accountability. I always preferred to write our new resolutions on a poster and keep it up in the classroom as a reminder.
If you need a fun resource to help teach your students about New Year’s Resolutions, this Happy New Year’s Lapbook is perfect! It helps students learn what a resolution is and how to plan to meet their goals, reflections, and aspirations for the coming year. You’ll have all you need to help your class understand the expectations for the new semester!
If you are looking for more New Year’s activities, you can find exactly what you need in this blog!
Use your pre-planning period wisely. Most schools allow 2-3 days of in-service to allow teachers to get prepared and set up before the students return and normal days are resumed. During this time, you get to assess your classroom, rearrange what you like, and have the freedom to work ahead for the coming semester. This is the perfect time to lay out your material for the next few months!
Set your decor and seasonal material in an easily accessible place, and, if you haven’t already, set aside your first semester things you won’t need until next year. This eliminates the unnecessary clutter that can get in the way. Another great way to use this time is to organize what you may need/use in the coming weeks/months in ready-to-go bins. You will appreciate this later when you are in a rush, and all you have to do is simply put out a bin!
Lastly, the best way to use your pre-planning wisely is to gather resources that are ready-to-go and save you stress. You can find themed activities, standard-aligned worksheets, and even centers that you can use year after year! Here are a few that are perfect for winter:
If you haven’t begun utilizing Social Emotional Learning lessons in your classroom, then now is the time to start! SEL can help your students to understand concepts that may be difficult for developing minds. It can also improve the overall communication skills and behavior in your classroom.
The SEL lessons below are a few bundles created specifically to easily add to your schedule. They are 15 minutes a day with a full lesson plan, parent letter, and all the required resources included.
Overall, begin this new chapter with positivity and joy. Your mindset is what leads your class, and your students will follow the example you set.
You can find these resources and more at my shop!