For both educators and pupils, getting back from the holidays into the classroom to work can be a challenging thing. To avoid spending the first week wondering where to start and how to finally gather yourself to engage in some meaningful work, some preparation is needed.
Before going to school after the holidays, all children are used to sleep longer and doing whatever they wish but with the new school season starting, all these habits have to change. As the result, their attention might be a little bit different than usual because they need some time to readjust to the school routine.
Diving right into a lot of homework after the holidays is a bad thing because of these reasons. To ensure that the students will deliver better results after holidays, it is recommended to make some adjustments and incorporate homework into the routine gradually.
Another great way to get students back on track and rejuvenate the motivation to learn is to arrange some appropriate back-to-school activities. They can be a perfect welcome for the students who are not ready to learn as usual. Here is the list of ten great examples of these activities.
1. Classroom Promise
The idea of this activity is to write a mission statement, pledge, motto, or a promise at the beginning of the school year to determine the desired outcomes in the end. These promises may target specific responsibilities of the students, so they can also help you with the discipline in the class. For example, some of the students may be advised to “show positive attitude for learning” or “improve knowledge of English.”
Make it graphic and visually appealing by spending an hour or two on the design of the card. Tell the students that these promises will refer to all year and they should be placed in a visible place in the classroom in order for students to remember them every day. Here are some ideas for promises on Pinterest.
2. Holiday Memory Book
The children have probably accumulated a lot of great memories about their holidays. Maybe some of them went on trips or visited their grandparents. These are stories that can be shared with the class in a holiday memory book, which will be an attribute of the classroom. When students came in for the first day in school, ask them to describe their holidays' experience and prepare short narratives that can be added into this book.
Next, ask them to bring photos from the holidays that also can go into the book to provide a visual representation of the narratives. Experience shows that this activity is really fun for the students because they are asked to share positive memories and tell the class about what they did during the holidays.
3. New Year Resolutions
If the holiday the students return from is the New Year, it is a perfect opportunity to engage them into a learning process. Just like with the classroom promise, ask the students to reflect on the memories of the previous year and define the things that they wish to change in the year that just started.
You may brainstorm with the students about the resolutions and help them to make the best ones that reflect their interests and improve them. The resolutions generally start with “my goals for the new year are…” and “In the new year, I want to get better at…”
4. First Day Hunt
If you need to familiarize the students with the school or the staff, have a first-day hunt around the facility. Hide some goodies that the students will need to find (cookies, books, etc.) in the places on the campus that the children have to be aware of (library, teacher’s office, playground, restrooms, you name it). As the result, the students will discover these places by themselves and find some goodies for themselves.
To arrange this activity, you should also create a map of the school and a description of the task for the students. These artifacts should be given to them at the beginning of the hunt.
5. Writing Prompts
Some writing is a creative and calm activity that could be arranged at the end of the first day. Do not provide complex topics, have the students write about their holidays' experience, the best gift they have ever received, their parents, or other topics that do not require special academic knowledge. This activity will help to start getting the students back on track in terms of writing, says Mia Williamson an online tutor at College papers.
6. About Me
Have the students write some short bios of themselves that will act as introductions for their new classmates. These bios can be also added with pictures and drawings and hang on the wall of the classroom to be discussed later.
7. Fun Games
Games are always an option when it comes to easing the students into the learning process. Try engaging them into some fun games like “Ping Pong” or “Hot Seat” to make them connect with each other and work as a team. Also, do not forget about the prizes for everyone.
8. About Me for Teachers
The students have already introduced themselves in a fun way, you should do the same. Create a PowerPoint where you present yourself in a fun way as well.
9. Family Tree
This activity works for both kindergarten and k-12. Ask the students to bring the images of their parents and grandparents to create a family tree that can be added to About Me posters on the wall.
10. Have a Party
Kick off the first day with a party! Bring some cookies and hot chocolate and have a conversation with the students about their holidays.