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The Christmas break allows students and teachers alike to ‘take stock’ after the hectic period between September & December. Time spent rejuvenating with families amidst the seemingly infinite supply of bubble and squeak, can do wonders for stress levels and fatigue. However, on your return to the classroom, you may find that re-engaging your pupils who have had a lot of time to wind-down over the festive period, can be challenging.
Here’s a few tips to ensure post-Christmas blues are soon forgotten as soon as term time kicks-into-gear.
On the first day of term in January, inevitably your pupils will want to compare notes with their peers; what presents they got from Santa, what they got up to with their families, who ate the most turkey etc. Whilst some teachers may discourage this kind of behaviour, you could use it to your advantage. Consider firstly sharing your experience, albeit briefly, of Christmas with your pupils, before asking each of them to share with the whole class what it is they got up to.
This immediate re-engagement will both help each child communicate their different experiences of the holiday period, whilst providing you with the opportunity to move their attention away from the last two weeks once they have all had their turn to speak.
With that behind them, you could well find your whole classroom is re-engaged and ready to take on what the new term has in store for them.
The most effective learning can come through having fun and the ability to ‘play’. Make your New Year activities for your class extra fun in order to re-engage your class as quickly as possible.
Positive body language plays a huge part in effective teaching. You shouldn’t let the weight of a new term change this. Being dynamic in the classroom by moving, gesturing, and being passionate about your subject will help capture the imaginations of your pupils, and will help them to learn quicker and more effectively.
New surroundings can be highly beneficial for the purposes suggested in this blog’s title. Before your students first day back after Christmas, consider switching your classroom around in order to attract curiosity, or, a ‘fresh start’. You could reposition your whiteboard, update the artwork on the wall, or even change the way that the pupils’ desks are arranged.
Learning through curiosity can be enormously effective, particularly for younger children. Therefore a new working environment can be a healthy way to kick-start a new term in order to capture their attention!