Monday, December 15, 2014

Holiday Hints and a Request for Help from YOU!

Many of you might only be teaching through this week--and some of you might have a few days next week like I do.  What I DO know is that we have to work extra hard in those days before vacation because our students have their minds and bodies in different "modes" in those final days!

One thing I know for sure...that I need to make sure I plan fun and interesting tasks for my students in the week before a break if I have ANY hope of keeping their attention!

So here we go....5 6 things to think about this week (and the next!)

1.  They are excited.  Can you blame them?  This is seriously one of the coolest times of year.  Take a few minutes to just sit back and enjoy it with them.  They are just little kids, after all!  Maybe we could take a little lesson from them and enjoy the magic of the season instead of worrying if we collected enough data in those final weeks before break.

2.  Keep it fun!  This week might not be the only week to use games in your instruction...but it sure is a good one!  Just assume it will get a little louder than normal...and roll with it!  Here are a few winter freebies if you want...and a link to a holiday "Dollar Deal" as well!

3.  Read aloud more.  And more.  The one thing that has remained relatively constant over my 22 years of teaching is that students of all ages love to be read to.  Whether it's a chapter book, poetry, a picture in a little extra time to read some great stuff to your class this week.  Funny books...seasonal books...beautiful book...anything.

4.  Plan for engaging instruction.  Try readers theater.  Do a science lab.  Do a cool math challenge.  I know you need to get through your content...but I bet you can find a way to reach it through active learning.  I challenge you!  I've put a few winter/holiday resources on sale all week to help you if you want!  My kids are SO pumped about the cookie challenge!

5.  Recognize effort and focus.  It is very easy to get caught up in the mode of "correcting" behavior to try to keep the students in line; try meaningful, genuine praise when students (individual or the entire class) are doing well.  Spread it even more--compliment other classes of students you pass in the hall that are doing great stuff!

6.  Finally--if all else fails . . . keep THIS in your desk drawer.  I mean . . . I haven't TRIED it--but I've heard . . .

FINALLY...I would LOVE your input!  I am working on series of blog posts about math workshop.  I would love for you to take a few minutes and take this survey to help me get a sense for what people are looking for...I would love to help a few more people start dabbling in a workshop model.  If you are willing, just click the image below and it will take you to the google form.  THANKS!

OK...not QUITE finally!  I'd love for you to chime in with YOUR suggestions about how to keep these last days calm (relatively) and meaningful.  Leave your suggestions below,  Also, don't forget about my "Sit Spots" giveaway going on a few more days.  Have you entered?  CLICK HERE if you missed the post about it,  Have a great week, everyone!


  1. Can't wait to see your posts about math workshop!

    The Math Maniac

  2. You always have such solid, yet fun ideas! Thank you!! We've started the week with Go Noodle brain breaks and some fun partner math activities! Besides wrapping new toys to donate to the Ronald McDonald House with our second grade buddies, the whole fourth grade is having a Holiday (gently-used) Book Exchange. Each child is bringing a wrapped chapter book, then we place them all in the middle of the rug. Everyone gets a number, chooses a wrapped book. (It's the "stealing game", where the next number can choose another book from the pile or steal one that has already been opened. Great fun and new book for the Break! I so appreciate your ideas & blog. Happy Holidays, Meg!