Saturday, November 26, 2011

10 Ways to Inspire Yourself and Your Students Until the Christmas Holidays

We as teachers know that the time from Thanksgiving break until Christmas break is a very exciting time for our students. It is also a very tiring and sometimes frustrating time for teachers as we deal with the stress of our job and still try to teach the curriculum. Well, I have come up with a plan to manage the Christmas countdown.

Step 1) Organize your thoughts. Find what you want to do with your students and make a picture collage of your favorite projects that you want to do with your kids this season. I opened up a word document and pasted pictures of the types of crafts, plays or reader's theatre, books, songs, and projects I want my students to work on in the coming month.

Step 2) Make sure you have materials you need for all your projects. This will help keep your stress down.

Step 3) Make a list of supplies you need parents to help with and dates they need to send items. If everyone pitches in, no one will be in a pinch and everyone enjoys!

Step 4) Incorporate some Christmas/holiday fun every school day - a game, a song, or acting out a favorite holiday story.

Step 5) Go ahead and buy, wrap, and tag all of your student gifts. I already have my gifts wrapped and ready for my students and in a basket ready to take to school. I started the day after Christmas last year purchasing little gifts to go in their goody bag. This helps keep my cost down and saves me the frustration this time of year trying to think what to get them.

Step 6) Go through your Christmas files and copy or have a volunteer copy all the things you want to use for the holiday season. Then all you have to do is go through the copies and insert them into your lesson plans.

Step 7) Make a list of projects that need additional help from volunteers and write letters or emails to those parents securing the date they can help you.

Step 8) Plan a giving project. Make this time of year meaningful and personal to students. Invite them to tell you a project they would like to do for others. They may want to do a canned food drive, a mitten tree, write letters to the military, or some other type of community service. This is a great opportunity to incorporate community service and to let them know that even though they are young, they can make a huge difference in someone else's life.

Step 9) Smile (even if you have to fake it sometimes) - Your students feed off your personality. They watch and pick up on your manerisms. They also secretly want to please you. They also may not get many smiles at home.

Step 10) Use this excitement to your advantage. Use a little magic. Have a box arrive from the North Pole with an Elf inside. Use the Elf with your curriculum.