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Planning for the Week After Winter Break

The first day after winter break sometimes feels like a second first day of school.  You never know what to expect!  It's hard to get back into the swing of things after the holidays and setting that alarm for the first day back isn't any fun…for you OR for your students!  So here are a few tips to help you through the first week after break.

3 Things to Expect

1. They will be tired…

Let's face it…everyone is tired!  They've been staying up late, sleeping in, and winter break is tiring with holiday happenings.  The first days back can be tough for everyone, so have some patience.  They are excited to see their friends, talk about their break, and to be back, but full days after a long, sugar-filled break can be exhausting. Have some breaks planned so that your students can get up, get out of their seats, move around, and have a second to decompress.

2. They will be hungry…

The freedom to eat whenever you'd like…we all get used to that over break!  And any parent will tell you that snacks are quite frequent over break!  If you do not have a planned snack time, working in a snack time for the first few days back may be a good idea.  Depending on food restrictions in your classroom, you can grab a small snack to provide for students to help keep their bellies full on those first days back.  With full bellies, they're ready to work (sometimes).

3. They will be talkative…

While they are tired and hungry, you would think that would mean quiet, but that doesn't stop them from being talkative too!  Plan ahead and build some share time into your schedule to allow them time to talk. Plan a game to talk about break, do a short activity where they can share, or let them have their snack as they talk to friends.  Working some time to talk about the holidays and break will allow them to get it out!  Using brain breaks and snack time can help with the chattiness too! 

You can find some more tips for a talkative class in this blog post.

3 Things to Do

1. Get back to your routines…

Kids work best when they're in a routine and the beginning of the new year always feels refreshing to get back to normal routines. You worked SO hard to set up the routines and procedures in your classroom at the beginning of the year.  Getting right back into your regular routines may seem daunting, but it will help everyone adjust to being back! Take time to review your schedule, routines, and expectations.  Keeping your schedule and sticking to your routines will help the transition back to school go smoothly!

2. Plan, plan, plan some more…

It is really hard to determine what you will be able to accomplish in the first days back from break.  So plan, and then plan some more!  Have back up plans so that you can adjust as needed.  You may not get to everything you have planned, but it is always better to be prepared!  You may be surprised at how much you are able to get done, so over-planning is never a bad thing. They may be talkative or inattentive and you can adjust as you need to when you have plans and copies made.

You can check out some favorite books to read HERE and some favorite activities to do HERE.

3. Adjust your expectations…

You have your routines, you have your plans, and it seems like everything will go fairly well, right?  Well remember…they are tired, hungry, and talkative.  So don't worry if you need to adjust your plans, skip something, or add something in.  It is hard to predict what you will accomplish in the first days back and you need to be flexible with your planning and your expectations. Give yourself, and your students, some grace.

I hope you have a smooth transition back from your break!

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