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The Next Four Weeks – Counting Down or Making them Count?

As the holiday season approaches, both students and teachers find themselves counting down the days until a well-deserved break. However, the period leading up to the holidays can be particularly challenging for educators, as the anticipation of festivities can create a distracted atmosphere in the classroom. I had an awesome conversation for this week’s Leaning into Leadership podcast episode in which Steve Bollar and I talked about the countdown. So in this blog post, I’m sharing three effective strategies that we can implement to keep their students engaged and maintain focus in the classroom before the holiday break.
  1. Establish Clear Goals and Expectations:

Setting clear goals and expectations is essential for maintaining a focused learning environment. Before the holiday rush takes over, take the time to review and reiterate classroom expectations with your students. Remind them of the importance of staying engaged in the learning process and maintaining a positive and respectful atmosphere. Consider setting short-term goals for individual students or the class as a whole, creating a sense of purpose and achievement. By providing a roadmap for success, you can help students stay on track and focused during the pre-holiday period.

  1. Incorporate Engaging and Relevant Activities:

To combat restlessness in the classroom, infuse your lessons with engaging and relevant activities. Consider incorporating holiday-themed projects or lessons that connect with the curriculum. This not only captures students’ attention but also makes learning more enjoyable. Interactive activities, group projects, and hands-on experiments can bring a renewed sense of excitement to the classroom. Connecting lessons to real-world applications or current events can also help students see the relevance of their studies, fostering a deeper engagement with the material.

  1. Implement Mindfulness and Relaxation Techniques:

The weeks leading up to the holidays can be stressful for both students and teachers. Implementing mindfulness and relaxation techniques can help create a calm and focused learning environment. Consider starting each class with a short mindfulness exercise, such as deep breathing or guided meditation. This can help students center themselves and be more present in the classroom. Additionally, incorporating movement breaks or quick stretches throughout the lesson can help release built-up energy and improve overall concentration.

It can be really easy for us to get caught up in the hype of a countdown to the next break. But we must make sure as the leaders of the organization that we maximize our time in the next four weeks. Instead of counting down, what might it look like if we counted them up. Steve shared this in the podcast episode, and it’s too good not to share here. Give the next four weeks a theme. Use that theme constantly, reinforce it, and make it a rally cry. Maybe its something like ‘finish strong’ or ‘December to Remember’ or similar ideas. But make this time count!! Perhaps I have only 20 class periods with my students until break. Maybe I approach it as…’we have 20 hours to absolutely own this content’! Imagine the energy in a classroom when the focus is on how much we can do rather than how much time we have left. It is up to you as the leader to set the tone, to bring positive focus to each and every adult in the district.

Have a #RoadToAwesome week


Tune in this Sunday to “Leaning into Leadership” where my guest Steve Bollar (aka Stand Tall Steve) joins to talk educational speaking, leadership, and how to stay focused in this holiday season.

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