Going back to school after a break is always hard, but it is especially hard after a longer break like Christmas Break or Winter Break. If you approach the first day back with the right attitude you will find that you and your students are ready to get back on track. Here are a few tips to ensure that that smooth transition happens in your classroom.
Tip # 1:
This tip is the most important in my opinion. I know before I even see my first graders that they are going to be sooooo out of routine from two weeks of late bedtimes and sleeping in. Getting out of bed and having to follow a morning routine the first day back is probably going to be difficult. I am almost certain I will have teary and grumpy children. My answer to this is to start the morning off in a very relaxed way, starting with classical music when they come in.
We often start our day with Math, Language and STEM Good Morning Bins. These activities are open ended and give them a chance to work with a partner and visit and socialize after they have finished unpacking. I put these out on the first day back and don't rush those slower kids to get ready. They naturally move along because they don't want to miss out on this time. I intentionally extend this time in the first few days after break to ease them back into routine.
By talk I mean share. What first grader doesn't want to talk about them self all.the.time! We do a lot of sharing in those first few days to hear about all the exciting things that they did over the break. I also have a day of Christmas sharing where they bring in a gift and talk about it and then eventually write about it.
My first writing activity of the year is a Thank You letter for a Christmas gift. We spend the month of December writing to everyone at the North Pole so letter writing is very familiar to them. This the perfect opportunity to get back into writing since it is both authentic and familiar which leads to students feeling successful.
Tip # 3:
Don't forgot your lunch and line up routines. These quick refreshers go a long way to a smooth transition back to the classroom. I hope you have a great week back. To me this is the most exciting time of the year! I see so much growth in my first graders from this point onward.
Don't forget to pin it for later when you need a refresher after your Spring Break!
Until next time,