Holiday break is behind you, yet your students still seem to be in vacation mode. What can you do to get things back on track quickly? Here are a few ideas for how to re-energize students for the winter semester:
Catch up. Talk with your students about what they enjoyed about their breaks. Make the transition a little smoother by easing into the work and giving students a chance to restore that camaraderie with their classmates.
Set class goals. Surely you have an agenda for this semester, but rather than tell students what it is, talk through your objectives for student outcomes and get their buy-in. Invite student input where you can.
Go over expectations. January is a good time to refresh students’ memories on class expectations and processes that you went over at the start of the school year. Share your expectations and consequences for not meeting them and trust your students to behave accordingly.
Have students write their own goals. Some students might have already thought about their New Year’s resolutions – why not dedicate some class time to that process, too? The first week back to school, ask students to think about what they want to accomplish this semester, academically and otherwise, the steps they’ll need to take to get there, and how you as their teacher can support them.
Tidy up. Get your classroom in order, and have your students get their desks, binders, and backpacks in order, too. Yes, you could spend your free time doing this, but getting your students involved gets them more invested.
Survey students. What did they like about the fall semester? What projects or lessons were particularly engaging? Talk about things you’d like to do differently throughout the winter and spring and ask for their ideas.
Lastly, be enthusiastic yourself! Nothing is more inspiring than your own attitude, so if you’re eager and forward-looking, there’s a greater chance that your students will be, too.