Monday, 2 January 2017

3 Tips to Ensure a Smooth Transition after a School Break



3 tips to make an easy transition back to school after a break.  Give students lots of time, let them talk and review and practice classroom routines.

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:

tip 1 is to take it slow and let students ease their way slowing back into the first day of school.  Don't rush them, give them time to settle in at their own pace.

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.

Tip #2:

give your students time to talk to each other and share about their holidays.  This is give them the opportunity to talk and perhaps limit the socializing at inappropriate times.

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.

write a thank you letters for one of your gifts when you return to school after Christmas break.  It's a great way to instill an attitude of gratitude.


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: 

take this week to review all classroom rules and routines so that students can be successful after a break from school.
Take the whole week back as an opportunity to review all of your routines.  Two weeks is a long time away from routines.  It may even be longer if you are like me and switch things up in the last week and do things a bit differently to celebrate the coming holiday.  My little guys will be totally out of routine for our Literacy and Math center time so I will definitely take time to review anchor charts we created.  Routines for Read to Self also need to re-established too.  These are some of our anchor charts we will take time to review at the start of the week.

literacy center expectations anchor chart for first grade to establish expectations

independent reading or read to self anchor chart to establish the dos and don'ts of what it means to be a real reader

primary writing anchor chart to prompt students with choices for when they get stuck on a word they are trying to spell.


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.

the light bulb comes on for first graders after christmas


Don't forget to pin it for later when you need a refresher after your Spring Break!

3 tips to help ensure a smooth transition back to school after a school break

Until next time,


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