Teaching in December requires patience! It can feel overwhelming and crazy for teachers. There are so many interruptions, so much to get done, and the looming holidays and break from school tend to make students especially excited. I’m sharing 3 tips to save your teaching sanity during the month of December!
Introduce a New Reward System for the Month of December
Students are often out of their usual routine in the month of December in addition to being extra excited about the upcoming break from school. Adding an additional opportunity for students to be rewarded for positive behavior will encourage them to exert a little more self-control. This could be a whole-class reward or each student could work toward an individual reward.
I have a lot of ideas for classroom management strategies! Click the button below to check out some more blog posts about classroom management.
Maintain Routines and Structure in Your Classroom
December is typically full of disruptions. Whether it’s parties, holiday programs, or field trips, you’re likely to have a few days in December that are not the norm. Try to maintain your schedule as much as possible! Children thrive on routines and structure, so it will go a long way to keep as much of your schedule intact as you can.
The same can be said for any routines and procedures that you do with your class. If you have a procedure for lining up, turning in work, going to the bathroom, etc. make sure to keep those consistent during this time!
Use Visual Aids to Reinforce Your Expectations
During this time of year, it can be easy to just let things slide in the classroom, that you may not otherwise tolerate. Classroom management expectations should remain high. One thing that you can do to reinforce your expectations is to use visual aids! For example, if you expect students to complete certain tasks before earning a fun activity, provide them with a to-do list. If you want to reinforce expected behaviors, provide students with the classroom rules in the form of a checklist. They can keep their checklist on their desk to remind them of your expectations.
Below are some more ways to use visual aids to reinforce expectations in your classroom:
Alert students of any changes in their schedule by adjusting your visual schedule on the board. Be sure to draw their attention to the change so that they know what to expect for the day.
Utilize timers if students are needing to complete a task within a certain timeframe. Visual timers are the best!
They can be used for the whole class like the one above or use individual timers for students that struggle with time management like the ones below.
Create ‘Must Do’ and ‘May Do’ lists for your students! These can work similarly to a to do list – you can read about them more here!
It’s also a great idea to go over general expectations for whole group discussions, end of day clean up, center rotations, etc. If you have any anchor charts that you used to teach procedures in August, now is a great time to bring them back out!
Bonus Tip: Keep your students busy!
An engaged student is less likely to cause disruptions, so I try to have a lot of early finisher work prepped and ready to go during the month of December. We already have enough on our plate, so I always look for print-and-go activities that will keep my students engaged.
Here are some early finisher activities and here are some editable color by code pages! These are great activities to reinforce skills and keep your students engaged. The editable color by codes require very little prep – just type your words onto the master page and they will autofill on the rest of the document. Easy peasy!
I hope you have a low-stress month!
Hi, I’m Libby!
I’m so happy you’re here! I love all things first grade – the curriculum, the content, and the sweet kiddos. I’m passionate about helping K-2 teachers save time in the classroom with fresh ideas and fun, engaging resources.