Back to School After the New Year

Getting back into the school groove after the holiday break may be difficult. It can be tough to get settled back into the routine of the school day after a week or more of sleeping in, playing with new presents, and generally relaxing and not having a fixed schedule. 

To allow everyone to get back to work while at the same time reducing some of the stress that comes with heading back to school, teachers should select activities that bridge the gap between the holidays and school. 

Here are a few ideas that can help everyone make the adjustment.

Geography Bee
The National Geographic Bee is an annual competition organized by the National Geographic Society, designed to inspire and reward students' curiosity about the world. About 11,000 schools across the United States participate in the National Geographic Bee, competing for college scholarships and a chance to be a winner at the school, state, and national levels. Schools with students in grades four through eight are eligible for the National Geographic Bee, and any paid school employee can register their school online.

A bit of creative writing, and a bit of self-reflection. Students can get creative as they set goals for the year ahead.  Set students up by providing some ideas or sentence starters, like
  • My goals for this year are …
  • I want to learn about / get better at _________ this year…
You can also have students bring in a stamped, addressed envelope, and mail the resolutions back home to the at the end of the year so that students can re-read them and see how far they came in meeting their goals!

Create a Holiday Memory Book
For a bit of an arts and crafts project, students can collect and record the best parts of their holiday break in a memory book. Students can create, draw, or bring in pictures or items that can be placed in the book, with a written caption or description of the items and their memories.  They can share them with the class and bring them home to their families. 

Old School Show and Tell
On the first day back to school, all conversations are naturally about what presents were received, what vacations small or large students went on, and what they did at home for a week of relaxation. A show and tell is the perfect way to harness their energy and promote public speaking skills. This can be assigned right before the break so that students are prepared and ready to go when they return to school.

Remember that the winter break was a slow paced and relaxing time for everyone.  It can be quite shock to the system to wake up early, make a long bus ride in, and be fully alert and ready to go at 8 a.m.  Taking advantage of the pleasant memories of the holiday break while having meaningful and authentic learning experiences is a great way to start off a new year. 


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