Are you having fun yet? The end of the year is rapidly approaching. Maybe you are out of school for winter break already and sipping hot cocoa by the fireplace, or maybe you are hanging on by your fingernails counting the seconds until the last minute before winter break. Either way you are probably more than ready for some time off from the classroom. Before you run out the door there are a few things you should do to wrap up the year before winter break:
Reflect: Reflect on your year so far. With the new year approaching this is a perfect time to make any necessary changes. Reflection is the first step in that process. Ask yourself these questions or maybe write them down:
Set Goals: Renew your commitment to the goals you set earlier in the year. Set some new goals and break them into manageable chunks. Write out concrete steps for how you will accomplish them.
Map Out Your Curriculum: Compare your plans for this year with those of last year. If you have your plan book from last year take a look back at it. This is, of course, most effective if your teaching assignment is the same as it was last year, but you can also gain insight from this even if it was not. Compare where you are now to your beginning of the year plans and make any adjustments. Look at the big picture and be sure you are on track to accomplish what you want to this year.
Get Ready for Your First Day Back: Plan what you’ll do the first day back. Prepare lessons, make copies, and get all of your supplies in order. If you are prepared you won’t spend the last few days of Christmas break with a knot in your stomach waiting for the return to your classroom.
Clean Up: I know this might sound silly or obvious, but you are probably exhausted right about now. All you want to do is go home and wrap presents, watch Christmas movies, and bake cookies. And who can blame you? But just think, do you really want to come back to school after your refreshing break to find a messy desk and supplies all over? Take a little time to straighten things up before you leave that last day. You’ll thank yourself later.
Try to Have Fun: If you are still in school, try to make the most of the next day or two. Have some fun with your students and relish in the fact that probably not a lot of curriculum will get covered and that’s ok. Now is the time to connect with your students and build relationships with them.
Have a Class Meeting: Ask your students to reflect on the year so far. You can ask them many of the same questions you’ve reflected upon. Add in a few more to give you some insight into how they are feeling.
Prepare for January: Sketch out some ideas for the next month. Maybe you’ll write New Year’s resolutions or learn about Chinese New Year. If you live in a cold climate, prepare for the cold weather with fun games and activities for kids to play indoors.
When you are finished for the holidays be sure you really take a break. Enjoy the time with family and friends and recharge so you can come back refreshed and at your best. Try not to think about school and give your mind and body a break from the demands of teaching. Happy Holidays!
Amy has been teaching for 12 years in grades K-2. She has a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education and also has endorsements in reading and ESL. Besides education, her other passion is writing and she has always dreamed of being a writer. She lives in Utah with her husband, her 3 daughters, and her miniature schnauzer. She enjoys reading, knitting, and camping.
The child who is ‘left behind’ most is the one who leaves school without transition readiness.