We wish everyone a happy and healthy return to school!
The first day back after winter break can be like the first day of school all over again. Some students will be tired, nervous, and some enthusiastic to share their winter tales. How do you get everyone back into a school routine after a long winter break? Here are a few ideas:
Review Helpful School Habits
The Helpful Habits Series is a great way to review and introduce students to helpful social-emotional learning skills such as setting goals, planning ahead, being mindful, and asking for help. Pair these books with their fiction partners to explore these positive behaviors further.
One of my all time favorite classroom settling tips is to play soothing and magical soundtracks. Hedwig’s Theme and Ice Dance are two winter favorites. As the music plays, students write or draw. Encourage them to capture the imagery, colors, and feelings the music inspires. Some students will want to share what they created. Play the music softly in the background as students gather in small groups. Remind students that when the music stops–sharing time is over.
Create Relaxing Reading Centers
Reading can reduce stress and anxiety by as much as 68 percent, even more than listening to music or going for a walk. According to a study conducted by the University of Sussex, “It doesn’t really matter what book you read, by losing yourself in a thoroughly engrossing book, you can escape from the worries and stresses of the everyday world.”
And just like athletes who have missed practice for a few weeks, readers need to rebuild their reading stamina. Help ease them back into independent reading by increasing quiet reading time by five minutes each day. The Teachers College and Reading and Writing Project recommends that students should be reading 35-45 minutes a day.
Check out these classroom libraries that will inspire students of all interests and abilities to grab a book and read: Lerner Classroom Libraries
Begin a New Chapter Book Together!
How wonderful to begin the NEW year with a NEW book. Start the day with a chapter and read another chapter before the final bell rings. Reading together helps build community.