Friday, February 3, 2017

Teaching through the winter doldrums…

Let’s face it. This is a difficult time of the school year for both teachers and students. The sky is a dreary gray more often than not. It’s either cold or really cold outside. Or really, really cold.  And speaking of colds – many of us are sniffling or coughing or worse.

So what’s a teacher to do so that the students don’t mentally check out for the quarter?
  • ·         Add some humor to your schedule.  I try to be funny and have fun with the kids, but sometimes you have to schedule humor. Tell jokes from a book, show a short video of baby sloths in a bucket, maybe put on a clown nose and teach a lesson. Anything to add a smile to the day!
  • ·         Turning on some happy music is a great way to start the day. I love to dance and sing (and am horrible at both) but music is a great way to lighten the mood.
  • ·         Play quick indoor games to get moving. We have been playing some silly games that last between 10 to 15 minutes but get the kids up and energized!
  • ·         Switch things up with the classroom schedule. We are all such creatures of habit. The kids look at the schedule everyday and seem to find comfort in the routine. But in order to wake them up, especially midweek, I like to throw in math during reading and reading during writing.  It keeps us all on our toes.
  • ·         I know it’s cold outside, but sometimes it’s great to run around for ten minutes in the sunlight. We recently had a science lesson on light and shadows, and we had to wait a week for sunlight so we could go outside and check out the shadows. It felt great!
  • ·        Go for some winter crafts. Even the older kids like to create something to celebrate winter or snow or Valentine’s Day. 
  • ·         Put on a play. My students love to produce plays and it’s easy to find plays that serve the dual purpose of teaching history at the same time. Our next play, The Unstoppable Ruby Bridges, will help us learn about segregation and commemorate Black History month.                                                                                                                                      Since Punxsutawney Phil has predicted six more weeks of winter, let the games begin!

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