Winter break is the perfect time to rest and recharge your teacher battery. The teaching profession is one that requires you to give, give, give, without time to boot up for the next day. This is why teachers are just as ready for winter break as their students!
One way you can start the New Year with a positive attitude is by trying new things. You know your students - academically and behaviorally - by this time of the year. With a little tweaking, the second semester can be even better than the first!
Sometimes small changes can reap big rewards.
Does your class interrupt your small group lessons? Visual cues like these colorful, plastic glasses are great "do not disturb" signs. ALL of your students will wear them when they meet with you during small group time. This reinforces the purpose of the glasses. I found these glasses at Target's party supply section.
Old socks are great teacher tools. Let your students grab a sock when it is time to put them in groups. You can be as creative with your groups as you want:
- Group #1: socks with bumps
- Group #2: Socks with an animal(s) on them
- Group #3: Socks with a pattern
- Group #4: Socks - primary color
- Group #5: Socks - secondary colors
Peer pressure can be used in a positive way. Think of 2-3 goals for your class.
BE REALISTIC! Have at least one goal that needs just a little tweaking. Students can easily identify this goal when the class is doing it or the class is not doing it. This should be something that more times than not your class will be successful. You want your students to buy into this system. If all 3 goals are too difficult to achieve, your students will give up. Suggestions:
- 75% of our class will turn in the homework
- 75% of our class will come to school on time.
- 85% of our class stacked their chair at the end of the day.
- 80% of our class will have needed material ready for our lesson within __ minutes.
- 90% of our class will line up within __ minutes when I blow my whistle that it is time to lineup at the end of recess.
- 80% of our class will take home their hats and gloves/mittens.
How would you feel if you met with your administrator after being observed and he or she said, "Miss Teacher you do not get points for student engagement because only 85% of your students were paying attention during your lesson. I noticed that 1 student was staring out the window, 1 student was playing with an eraser in his desk, and another student kept kicking the student's desk in front of her." Would that motivate you to go back to your classroom and teach your heart out?
You can keep track of your goals with something simple like these chain links. Each color is a different goal. At a glance, you can see which goal needs more effort.
Motivation is key to having a wonderful second semester. Work on improvement not perfection and you'll have a happy class!
My friend, Susan @Keep 'Em Thinking, has teacher tips that are perfect for this time of the year. Be sure to visit her.
Sources to make my blog post graphics can be found HERE.
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