Special holidays throughout the school year often wreck havoc on the regular routines already firmly established in a classroom. Both students and teachers are often experiencing additional stress created by holiday preparations at school and at home.
This can be compounded by the excitement of the anticipation of the holidays themselves. Stress levels are high, tensions are high, nerves are on edge and adults and children’s ability to regulate their emotions are often compromised. This is setting up for the perfect storm in the classroom.
Usually the two to three days prior to the holiday break are the most challenging. Often there are special events going on in the school and community which can make it a difficult to maintain control and uphold a sense of calm in the classroom and at home.
During times like this, teachers (and parents) will want to plan calming activities in between special events. You will want to maintain some of the regular routines but some will need to go.
Depending on the holiday, simple holiday themed crafts, along with paper and pencil activities that are easy and quick to set up and implement are life savers. The activities you have planned need to be prepared ahead of time, stored away until they are needed, and should be able to be put out and put away easily and quickly.
The children should have a folder or storage container that can kept at their desks for completed and not completed activities. Children should be given the choice of which activity they want to do.
Try to have a wide variety of activities which will please all. Some children love colouring, others love crafts, while others like reading, drawing, building and writing etc.
These activities will take some time to put together, but the pay off you will get to help keep yourself and your students less stressed and busily happy will make it all worthwhile. Word searches, crossword puzzles, fun writing activities, holiday card making, holiday and seasonal themed crafts and book tubs all help to keep students busy and productive.
When the students are busy doing things they enjoy, everyone gets a chance to regroup and regain their inner composure. You will actually see and feel the stress and energy levels drop once children are quietly engaged in their chosen holiday themed activities.
These activities can done throughout the days leading up to the holiday whenever some down time is needed or becomes available. Provide each student with a personal tracking sheet listing the different activities that are available to them. Children love to have ownership over their learning and the choices they have and the tracking sheet provides this for them.
Now, sit back and enjoy the peace and harmony you have in your classroom while chaos abounds everywhere else!
Feel free to make comments!