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January 4, 2022

Getting Back on Track After the Holidays—10 Tips from Top Blogs

It’s no secret, the holidays are challenging!

During these celebratory days, many experience complex emotions as we remember loved ones lost, manage challenging family dynamics, or feel financial stress in a time of advertised abundance. On top of that, holidays come with a lack of routine and an addition of sugary, buttery treats(yum)and festive drinks. Add the anticipation of returning to the classroom after Winter Break and some find themselves asking, how can I get back on track after the holidays?

To ease you back from the break, we’ve put together 10 tips from some of our top blogs to gently guide you back into the classroom and into 2022!

Bonus: For those interested in learning more, we’ve listed courses, too!

1. Strategy: Gratitude—Surprise Sticky Notes!

Give each student sticky notes and ask them to write something to another person in class or in your school community, telling them what they are grateful for about that person. Next, have students place the sticky notes on a locker, a desk, etc. so the person will see them. Such a lovely way to start the New Year!

Blog:

How to Start Practicing Gratitude in the Classroom

Courses:

Social Emotional Learning Starts with You

Bringing Distance Learning to Life with Equity and Humanity

2. Strategy: Morning Meeting

Create a sense of community by consistently holding a morning meeting where students greet each other, share important events or things happening in their lives, and build strong connections. Dedicate the first 30-minutes of each day to this important social-emotional learning and relationship building routine with students. 

Blog:

4 Ways to Create Classroom Community

Courses:

Connection in the Classroom

Activate and Energize the Learning Brain

3. Strategy: Music!

That is, loud music, as in windows down, bass pumping, speaker blowing, loud! Teenage drivers are surprised when they roll up and see me singing and moving my head to the beat. Music calms and lifts our mood. The article, “Does Music Affect Your Mood,” from Healthline, emphasizes music’s impact. Develop a playlist that changes your thinking, relaxes your brain, and gets you moving. You can decide on the volume.

Blogs:

5 Strategies for a Positive Teacher Attitude

A Playlist to Get You Moving!

Courses:

Refocus and Recharge

Connection and Calming Strategies for Today’s Teachers

4. Strategy: Create Strong Digital Citizens

Students must be fully engaged digital citizens to navigate all the facets of online etiquette, safety, and respectful digital practices. This includes special attention to how we treat one another online. Digital citizenship has increased in importance during distance learning, as seen in this article from ISTE called “Digital Citizenship is the New Citizenship.”

Blog:

How to Prevent Cyberbullying in Your Classroom

Courses:

SEL and Empathy-Based Bullying Prevention

Digital Citizenship in the Classroom

5. Strategy: Teach Students a New Outdoor Winter Activity

For those of us challenged by cold weather, snowshoeing, skating, cross-country skiing, or hiking are just a few of the exhilarating activities that can be done in the snow and cold. If you need assistance funding equipment purchases, the information at this link  provides information about grants. Ask older children to instruct younger children about how to do these activities and use the mas a mentorship opportunity. Mentors and mentees mutually benefit, and mentoring is research based!  

Blogs:

6 Favorite Activities for Outdoor Education

Teaching and Learning in the Great Outdoors

Courses:

Learning on the Move!

Maximizing Learning for All through Differentiation

Boosting Social Emotional Learning Through Sport and Physical Education

6. Strategy: Read!

It sounds simple, enough. If we are going to encourage kids to read, we need to read, too! Read for pleasure, information, instruction, connection…for any reason. “Carry students away” by reading aloud to them. Listening to books sharpens auditory skills and gives them a break from the routine of school. In 5th grade, Ms. Larson, read to us every afternoon. One of our favorite books she read was Snow Treasure. We looked forward to reading time! Role-model reading and have plenty of things available to read in the classroom and at home.

Blogs:

5 Ways to Encourage Kids to Read

Book Recommendations for Your Winter Reading List

Courses:

Literacy Courses

7. Strategy: Develop Strong Teacher-Student Relationships

Develop a strong student-teacher relationship with each earner, even the students who challenge you! Students are more likely to enjoy school if they feel connected to their teachers.  

Blog:

Teaching the Social Emotional Skill of Self-Regulation

Courses:

Social Emotional Learning Starts with You

Empathy and Social Comprehension for a Compassionate Classroom

8. Strategy: Keep Your Cool

When working with a parent or care giver who challenges you, the number one tip is to “keep your cool,” and maintain your composure. Use the common interest of both parties (keeping the student at the center) to work to reach the person who is challenging. Often, parents and caregivers can be frustrated and may lash out to the nearest person, which could be you. Do your best not to take the aggression personally and not to raise your voice. Most often, raised voices accomplish nothing. Advancements can be made when there is dialogue, empathy and understanding.  

Blog:

10 Strategies for Dealing with Difficult Parents

Courses:

Dealing with Difficult Parents

Engaging Parents for Student Success

9. Strategy: Follow the Golden Rule

The ‘golden rule’ of teacher communication is to start every year on a positive note. As we head into 2022, take the time to send a Happy New Year note! This is also an opportunity to remind families about your email policy, including how quickly to expect a response and if you will reply over weekends or holidays. One idea is to ask families to send a quick reply with a fun response, like if their child has any New Year’s resolutions!

Blog:

Email Tips for Effective Family-Teacher Communication

Courses:

Stronger School Communities Through Increased Communication

Raise the Bar, Positive Interventions for Students Who Challenge Us

10. Strategy: Understand & Act

Continue to be a better human in the New Year by learning what it means to be anti-racist. The articles below teach how to “UNDERSTAND” and “ACT,” then click on the blog link to gain knowledge about white privilege, policing, and racial justice.

UNDERSTAND: 

ACT: 

Blog:

Tools to Support Anti-racism

Courses:

Creating an Anti-Racist Classroom

An Educator’s Guide to Global Thinking and Cultural Competence

Indeed, the holidays can be challenging! We are sure these 10 Tips from Top Blogs will help you get back on track after the holidays. Happy New Year from Teaching Channel!

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