- Bringing Project Based Learning to our Classroom - August 12, 2018
- Keep the Engagement Alive: Start the Year with Purpose - August 5, 2018
- It's Our Fault: A Teacher's Confession - March 18, 2018
- Keeping Your Teaching Real: A Teacher's Role - March 11, 2018
- Sketch Notes in the Elementary Classroom - February 15, 2017
- Teach From the Heart - February 9, 2017
- Who is the Teacher: School or Family? - January 11, 2017
- Dear President Elect Trump, From Your Teachers - November 17, 2016
- Let them Be Children - October 21, 2016
- Print Resources: Great Tools for Kids - October 17, 2016
“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.” ― Henry Ford
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This summer we got a bike trailer for the baby. Well, it was actually for me, but the bonus was the baby could ride in the back while I biked with the five-year old. Riding a bike DOES come back to you; but you are not quite at the same ability as when you biked 10 years prior. I was a bit wobbly. I had to refresh my memory on the hand braking and speed adjustment. But soon we were off and biking. With the cold weather quickly closing in the bike and trailer have both been put up in the garage. I am sure next summer will bring a learning curve again.
Classroom management is a learning process. Students understand the basic expectations of a general classroom—raise your hand, wait your turn, write your name on your paper—but there is a learning curve that comes with two things: a new classroom or a long break.
Monday we had our first day back from Thanksgiving break. The morning went well, but I found myself clearly restating my expectations. I jumped back into August school mode. I stated how long it should take to transition to a new activity. I restated expectations. By lunchtime I was exhausted. It is important, however, to remember we are continuously learning.
Here are a few tips to make it through December and into a new calendar year in your classroom:
- Be clear: Clearly state your expectations (like it is the first week of school). It won’t take as long for students to learn your routines and procedures, but re-teaching them for a day or two after a long break is helpful to everyone.
- 2. Don’t slack: Thinking of the break it is tempting to pop in a movie, let the kids silent read, and take some downtime during classroom learning. Stay on schedule and keep your routine as close to normal as possible. Continue to incorporate fun into your learning and activities, but continue to plan and be there with your students. They know if you have checked out early and they will follow suit.
- 3. Give them a goal: Yes, the weather and the holidays pull attention from classroom objectives. Use your classroom management system to help students set a goal and work towards that goal before the break. If you use a clip system, reward system, marble jar, points, etc. set a goal with your students to encourage behaviors that support a learning environment.
- 4. Get crazy: Kids need movement. Be sure to get up and dance, jump around, do a brain break activity, or play a quick game of Simon Says. Take advantage of a nice weather day and go outside for a quick jog around the playground. This can be during a transition period or when you are getting blank stares. Be silly for three or four minutes and then remind students the expectations before you get back to work.
Last year I implemented Habits of Mind with my students. These lifelong characteristics help them to become the citizens I plan to share our world with. Remaining open to continuous learning comes natural for educators. We must stop, however, and think about how we learn. Part of learning is reviewing known material. Part of learning is failing and learning from those mistakes. The way a classroom operates and functions is part of classroom learning.
During the holiday season invest some time into reviewing. Continuous learning will help your classroom continue to operate as a learning community and help with the common disruptions that come with winter weather and holiday breaks. For more information about Habits of Mind check out this website: http://www.habitsofmind.org/node/713 or my previous articles here at TER. Happy Holidays![/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]