Preparing for the 2nd Semster!

Now that the rush of holiday preparation is over, this is the perfect time to sit down and reflect on what's going well in your classroom, what you may want to tweak and what needs a complete overhaul. With just a little thought and preparation over the break, you can go back to school in January recharged, revitalized and ready to really impact the lives of your little learners!

http://herdingkats.blogspot.com/2014/10/bright-ideas-reset-your-classroom.html
Classroom management: Check out my Top Ten Classroom Management Tips as a jumping off point, or try one of these books from Amazon, all have great advice and might help inspire you! If you have a Kindle Unlimited Subscription, many of them are free!



Whether you use a clip chart, PBIS, individual sticker charts, or nothing at all, you need to find a system that works for your classroom. Sometimes this will change from year to year - or you may find that something that was working fine suddenly tanks - especially when a new student is added to the mix. It's okay to change your behavior management system - as long as you introduce it to your students just like you would at the beginning of the school year - setting out expectations, consequences and rewards in a clear, concise manner so that students know what is expected of them. And, give it time to work - one bad day does not mean that your system is flawed - it means your students are testing it to see if you're going to stick with it or if they can slide around it!
http://herdingkats.blogspot.com/2015/07/freebie-classroom-management-transition.html
Take this time to learn some new call backs or line up songs too! A fun song or chant can make a world of difference in your transitions! New ones are always useful as even the best become "stale" and lose their effectiveness when the kids get tired of them!

Set-up: Whether you're considering going to alternative seating, getting rid of your teacher desk, or just thinking to move things around to improve the flow of your classroom, now is the perfect time to pop into your classroom and try it out. Personally I have a "runway" in my classroom that I've been meaning to fix - a straight aisle down the side of the room between my tables and centers that almost begs my kiddos to run. I need to scoot some things over to eliminate that "runway" - nipping the running problem in the bud!

Tackle that closet: This is also a good time to come up with an organization system for materials. Pull everything out of that closet and purge! Or, organize your read aloud books so that you can grab them in a flash! Basically just take a little time to file what needs to be filed, organize what needs to be organized and throw away (gasp!) what you really don't need to hold onto any more - I know that's a hard one for us teachers, but even a little will help! Stores will also have a plethora of storage containers at this time of year - so stock up and create a system that works for you!
Plan ahead: Feel like just staying in your pajamas and binge-watching Netflix? Go ahead - but occupy your hands with cutting out centers and activities for the next few months! Not only will you be more prepared for the New Year, but you won't be as tempted to snack! Browse TPT for sight word games, Penguin emergent readers, Valentine Center ideas or Life Cycle materials for the Spring. You'll be glad that you got ahead of the game when you're not having to stay up late during the school week to get materials ready!
Find New Material: Here's a no-cost idea that will make a huge impact on your classroom! First, if you haven't signed up for GoNoodle yet, do it now! It's fabulous and FREE and will have your kinders enthusiastically singing and dancing along! Check out this post for how I use some of the different GoNoodle songs for different purposes in my classroom! Next, browse youtube for content videos as well as brain breaks and clean up songs. Check out my Top Ten lists for my favorite Language Arts videos, Math videos, and Clean-Up videos. And stay tuned for a list for Social Studies and Science too!

Relax - make sure that you don't spend your whole break thinking about school - try to set up some time just for family and friends. Maybe relegate the school stuff to just the afternoons, or an early morning or two! Remember, coming back to school relaxed and ready to make it to Spring Break is the goal so don't feel guilty about just taking some time for fun!

Hopefully you can take your break and use it to not only destress and unwind, but also make your classroom an even better learning environment for your students! It's never to late to make a change or try something new!

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