Sometimes it seems that just when your classroom starts to run smoothly, it’s time for a break. Other times, the break can’t come soon enough! Refocusing your students after a break doesn’t have to be a struggle. These 6 classroom management tips and teaching ideas will help you get your students back on track in no time.
Review the Rules and Procedures
It’s always important after each and every break to review your classroom rules and daily procedures. It won’t take you nearly the time it did at the beginning, but spending 5-10 minutes daily during your first days back to reinforce the rules and remind students of the procedures is key to making a smooth transition.
Prioritize your review time with the routines that have the most impact on your classroom. Discuss the most important ones on the first day back and review others as they come up to be used. During lessons and transitions the first week back, ask your students, “Who remembers how we do___?”. Talk about what each rule and routine looks like when students do them correctly. After going over the most important ones first, hold a class discussion and play, “What if?”. Ask your students to tell the class what to do if:
- You have a question or need help
- You need a new pencil
- You need to use the restroom
- It’s time to line up and walk in the hallway
- How we do centers
- It’s time to clean up
- It’s dismissal time
Click here to see the classroom management PowerPoint I use to teach and review classroom rules, routines, and procedures at the beginning of the year and after every break.
Reinforce Your Routines
Ideally, you want to be able to hit the ground running when returning from a break, and sticking to your schedule is key. Plan in time to review and reinforce your regular routines and then get back to your regular schedule. Students need structure and this gets everybody back on track quickly and makes for a smoother transition back to school.
Keep your planning routines and classroom management in place too. I try to get the first week back planned and copied before I leave for a break, but that can be easier said than done! Do your best to be productive during your planning times both before and after the break. Start prepping what you know you’ll need a couple of weeks before break starts if you can. You’ll be glad you did when you don’t have to think about it during your time off. That time is yours to rest, recharge and enjoy!
Rethink The Ones That Aren’t Working
Before your first day back, rethink your routines and replace the ones that aren’t working. Come up with a plan to replace those routines with something that may work better. It may take a few tries to find something that works, but the time saved without do-overs makes it worth it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to come up with a Plan B for something that sounded good in my head but just didn’t work in my classroom.
Refresh Your Small Groups
After a school break is the perfect time to reorganize and rethink your reading and math small groups. Most schools schedule their breaks at, or close to, then end of a quarter. More than likely, you assessed all of your students for report cards just before break or your students took quarterly benchmark assessments. Use this new data to rethink your small groups and make any changes you deem necessary.
Click here to see more of this resource.
Set New Learning Goals
After a break is the perfect time for students to reflect on the last quarter and to set new learning goals. Creating a goal-setting culture in your classroom engages your students and encourages them to take ownership of their learning. Asking students to set goals for themselves, and to think about how they will achieve them, motivates students to do their best.
Make it fun (and create an easy bulletin board) by having students write their goals and how they will accomplish them, in a format you can display in your classroom.
Here’s another fun way to set learning goals with a superhero theme.
Let Them Tell You All About It!
Most students are very excited to tell you what they did over their break. Rather than trying to fit in every student’s story, take a different approach. Have them write about it! Give students a writing prompt or let them free write. Have your reluctant writers draw. I always ask students to include what they missed most about school, too.
Forget the tired old “What I did on my summer vacation” type prompts and use these fun (and FREE) prompts instead.
Click here to download FREE journal writing prompts & seasonal pages for after every break.
A little foresight and some thoughtful planning can help you, and your students, make the transition back after a break a smooth one. Try these tips to review your routines and procedures, reinforce the rules, get your students writing, and get everybody back on track for a smooth transition after a break!
Would you like more classroom management ideas? Click on the pictures to check out these posts and be sure to Pin them for later!