As we return from the winter break, it can be tricky to get back into routine. The new year brings a sense of renewal, and it’s the perfect time to reinvigorate your classroom routines with engaging practices. If you’re looking for ways to enhance your literacy block and foster a positive community, incorporating movement routines could be the key to success.
I understand that the initial weeks post-break can be challenging as you and your students readjust to the school setting. Building routines and re-establishing a sense of community takes time, but it’s a crucial investment in creating a conducive learning environment. Now, several weeks into the school year, consider integrating movement routines into your classroom to promote collaboration, attention, and focus.
It’s not uncommon to experience some unexpected behavior challenges when students return in January. Despite having established clear expectations and a positive classroom culture in the first semester, there’s often a need to re-establish routines and remind students of classroom norms. This transition can be challenging for both teachers and students, who have enjoyed more freedom and flexibility during the holiday break.
5 Approaches for a Classroom Routines Reset
To help you prepare and prevent potential behavior issues, here are five creative ways to review expectations and make the return to school smoother:
1. Student-Led Retraining
Empower your students to take responsibility for reteaching key classroom routines and expectations.
- Divide them into groups and assign each group a routine to review.
- Give them time to create an anchor chart that outlines the expectations, including what it looks like, sounds like, and why it’s important.
- Have each group present their routine to the class through a demonstration or skit.
2. Class Plant or Pet
Introduce a new class plant, pet, or even a stuffed animal as a symbolic addition to the class.
- Frame it as a new member who needs to learn about the class’s expectations and classroom routines.
- Discuss and review routines with the class through the lens of helping the new addition adjust.
- This lighthearted approach can make the process more engaging for students.
3. Have a Snowball Fight
Embrace the season with this movement routine! (Even if it doesn’t snow where you live!) A snowball fight is a fun way to get all students engaged and talking about classroom routines.
- Have students write a question about a specific topic on a piece of paper.
- Students crumple up their paper and wait to throw on your command.
- Each student picks up a snowball and responds to the question on the paper.
- Repeat as many times as you want!
It’s important to set expectations for this activity:
- Keep questions on topic.
- Make sure students wait for your command to throw.
- Throw safely! Don’t aim for a classmate.
- Respond to the question with a complete sentence.
4. Three Two One Routine Review
Before each routine or transition, initiate a “Three Two One” review.
- Ask three students to share important reminders for the specific routine, allow two students to ask questions about it, and conclude with one final reminder of why the routine is essential.
- This quick and structured approach can be used regularly to reinforce expectations.
5. Reverse Psychology
Engage students by suggesting that your class is so exceptional that they might not need to practice routines during the first week back. Playfully challenge them to see how long they can go without having to review expectations. Keep a tally of successful days and turn it into a positive competition, celebrating their achievements.
Remember, the key is to approach these strategies with a positive and collaborative mindset. Reinforcing expectations in a creative and interactive way can make the return to school enjoyable for both you and your students. Wishing you a smooth transition back to school and a fantastic start to the new year!
Think about your next steps…
- Challenge: Choose one of these reset strategies for your classroom routines and implement it!
- Check out Episode #173 of the The Stellar Teacher Podcast for more on diving into a classroom routine reset!
- Join us inside The Stellar Literacy Collective, where you will get access to a resource library filled with reading and writing resources that will help support you and your students get the most out of your literacy block.