By Teachers, For Teachers
As students return from break, they may be a little excited still or even a little tired from all of the spring break excitement they’ve encountered. This can make quite a challenge for teachers to use classroom management to refocus students and bring them back to their regularly scheduled learning routine. Common Core standardized tests are right around the corner, which means there is no time to waste. Here are five classroom management tips to help make your students’ return as productive as possible.
When spring break is over, it’s time for a reboot! Think of your students’ return after spring break like you would if it was their first day of school. Use this as a time to reboot. This means go over your classroom expectations, re-establish your classroom rules, the job chart, the seating chart, and so on. Play an icebreaker activity just as you would your first day, but this time change the getting-to-know you activity to a, “What do you remember about your classmate?” activity. Students will love it!
Just as you may have reset your goals after the New Year, the time after spring break is another great chance to set a few new goals or at least look at the goals that you’ve set so far. This important life skill is a great way to help students refocus after being off of school for a few weeks. Start by having students set realistic goals by first refining their goal into something that they can achieve by the end of the school year (which isn’t far away). Have students create a visual reminder of their goals by writing them out on a ladder worksheet where they can see the steps that it will take to achieve their goal. Each week, have a conference to make sure they are focused on attaining their goal. Once they reach the top of the ladder, reward them for their success.
After a long spring break, students will have a lot to share with you, especially the little ones. Instead of hindering all of their excitement, take some time to allow students to share what they did over spring break. Allowing students to share their stories will help them get their thoughts off of their minds so they can refocus on what is important, like their schoolwork. Instead of having students just share their stories, try a fun activity. Grade school students can share their spring break activities by creating a scrapbook or spring break poster to share their favorite memories. Middle and high school students can utilize technology by chronicling everything that they did over break into a digital scrapbook. Any way for students to share will be a great way to help them refocus.
Brain breaks are a fun way to help break up the day so students don’t get so antsy in their seats. If you think about it, when students were on spring break, they were able to relax whenever they wanted, and didn’t have to follow a regular daily routine. However, as soon as they get back to school, they have to get back into the swing of things and follow a structured routine, which can be hard. By implementing brain breaks throughout the day, you can help students refocus. Brain breaks allow children to refocus by diverting their mind and releasing their energy through some sort of movement. Try scheduling regular breaks throughout the day where students can get up move, which will help them to regenerate and refocus.
Many times after a long break, teachers think that students don’t need technology because they’ve used it enough during break. However, psychologist Larry Rosen insists that instead of resisting the urge to use technology, it’s better to just embrace it. So if you want your students to remain focused in the classroom, then give them the opportunity to indulge in their impulse to use technology. Allow them to play educational apps and use the computer to write their essays. Because when you do, they’ll get it out of their system and be able to refocus again.
Returning from spring break can be a challenge, but if you want your students to get back on track and refocus their energy on quality learning, then you must be sure to pay attention when you see your students get off track. Remind students to stay focused, and remember to stick to the goals they have set for themselves. As long as you give it some time (about a week or two), then before you know it, your classroom will be running smoothly once again.
How do you use classroom management to get students to refocus after spring break? Please share your tips and thoughts in the comment section below, we’d love to hear your thoughts in this topic.
Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds Masters of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com, TeachHUB Magazine, and Hey Teach. She was also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com for five years. You can follow her on Twitter @empoweringed, on Facebook at Empowering K12 Educators, or contact her at Janellecox78@yahoo.com.