Every teacher, aid, and administrator knows the struggle. You’ve spent months crafting, modeling, and reinforcing routines and procedures that help fight disorganization and keep students on track for success. Then winter break rolls along.
Just like the start of the school year, kids have been home for quite a while, often with minimal structure or responsibilities. And now, it’s your job to get them back on track. While there isn’t a magic trick — no snapping your fingers and POOF! — there are some solid tips you can employ to help break through post-break disorganization. Here are 5 that might help your student body get back into the academic mindset.
1. Remember: Not Every Holiday Is a Happy One
It’s easy to look at a rowdy crowd of kiddos and think, “They’re acting out because they’ve just spent weeks having fun, playing with toys, going on vacations, etc.” But the truth is that quite of few of your students didn’t just come back from their dream break.
From trees without gifts to dysfunctional Christmas dinners to navigating the first holiday since a loved one passed, the story behind off-track student behavior could very well be a sad one. Be sure to approach students with kindness and empathy — and steer clear of generalizations about happy and fun holiday breaks that could make students feel and act worse.
2. Revisit Goal Setting and Intentions
Most likely, your students and staff set actionable goals and clear intentions for the school year back in August. It’s always a good idea to revisit these, and the return from winter break is an excellent time to do so. Students are likely already feeling inspired by the new year, and this is a form of making resolutions.
To ensure these combat disorganization, encourage students to make sure their goals and intentions each include at least one point towards being more oganized. Additionally, help them look at their other goals and intentions in a way that makes it clear how being more organized will support them. For example, if their goal is to improve their GPA, help them see how keeping due dates and deadlines written in their planner puts them on track for success.
3. Reinforce Routines and Procedures
We understand the desire to hit the ground running after winter break. But take a pause for at least a few days to review and reinforce the regular routines and procedures. Focus on lighter work that helps students practice these routines and procedures so you can ease them back into things.
And don’t just blindly reinforce the old ways, either. This is a great opportunity to really examine what worked and what didn’t between August and December. If there were routines and procedures that weren’t working, tweak them or scrap them and establish something new. It’s easier to make a switch after a break than at other times of the school year.
4. Fall Back on Student Planners
It can be hard to get back into the rhythm after a break. One excellent option? Rely on your student planners. These should already be part of the routines and procedures being enforced, but fall back on them a little heavier than normal. These tools are excellent at helping students visualize their assignments and tasks and helping them tick things off as they go.
5. Get Back Into Good Habits Yourself
Our job as educators and administrators is to model good habits for our students that they can then emulate. But if you are like many of us, you’ve fallen away from some of those. Maybe you haven’t been consulting your planner as often as you should, or aren’t even writing many things down. Take this time to get back on track yourself!
Let The School Planner Company Help Students Get Organized
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