As many of you are getting ready to come back from break, there are a mix of feelings. You enjoyed the stress-free time with family and friends and are not ready to see that end along with excitement of seeing all your students again. Returning from winter break can be challenging not only for teachers but for students. They have had over a week of different routines and expectations along with countless hours of playtime. Now it is time to return to working and staying focus for 8 hours. Here are some post-holiday classroom activities to help you return from winter break.
3 Post-Holiday Classroom Activities Ideas
1.) Review Rules and Routines
On the first week back you will need to review all the rules and routines. The first day back from break I treat like the first day of school. Not too much academic work, but lots of reviewing the routine, practicing them, and review your expectations. During the post-holiday classroom activities for the first week back, we review each of our literacy centers and what they should be doing during their center times. We review how to sit on the carpet and how to work hard to get their work done well. We review expectations of guided math and guided math centers. Students need a review of all the classroom rules and expectations that have not been on the forefront of their mind over the break.
2.) Build Relationships
Take the time to build relationships again! Morning meeting may take longer. Include games and activities that have students working with others and bonding again. Also take the time to build your relationship. Listen to each child tell about their break. You may feel you are losing valuable teaching time but you are building relationships that will enhance their learning and create less behaviors and focus problems later. Complete activities where they can tell you and everyone all the items they got for Christmas or how much fun they had watching movies and baking cookies. I try to give them extra share time during morning meeting, but alos include activities that let them write about their vacation. These writings can coincide with a craft and at the end they can share with their friends. This allows you to hear about all their favorite moments and you and their classmate can make connections about their break.
3.) Winter Break Reflection
One way to share about their winter break would be to create or use one of the winter break activities (free download below). These post-holiday classroom activities are a nice way to bring students back to the concept of doing work but it is a fun way that involves them sharing about themselves and their family. I have included two examples of activities for the first days back from break. One activity allows students to draw or write about their break. This activity includes sharing who are some people they saw, if they got presents what was their favorite, and what was their favorite memory. This is a great way to have students reflect on their break and share the most important elements. The other activity is a scavenger hunt where students search for kids in the class that have completed the different items over break.
Enjoy These Post-Holiday Classroom Activities!
Hopefully these post-holiday classroom activities and suggestions help your first week back from break. Most importantly, enjoy this time with your students. It is a fun time of year and you are important to them. They want to share their memories with you. Take the time to bond and share memories. Listen to the students tell stories about what they did and share some of your own. This is your chance to build a great culture to start the second half of the year and give opportunities for peer bonding.