This-coming weeks marks the time of the year that I recall a few of my former students falling apart. Why? Thanksgiving, which marks the beginning of the holiday season, falls out in the last week of November. When I was in the classroom I quickly came to learn that any child who had a home life that was in flux (e.g., money was tight, lived without one or both of their parents, had a family member who was incarcerated) would often act out during the holiday season.
So, how do you keep learning going strong throughout this holiday season so that your classroom community will continue to thrive? Well, the first thing is BE CONSISTENT. Keep all of the classroom structures you’ve put into place constant throughout the holiday season. It’s hard to do with assemblies, holiday parties, and other special guests that happen during this time of year. however, for the sake of the class, it’s crucial to keep things routines consistent.
Usually, when one domino falls so do the others. Keep the lines of communication open with students you suspect may have a rough time. I used to notice that students might write about home-related issues in their writer’s notebooks. Take advantage of the opportunity to read students’ notebooks more closely in the next few weeks since they may reveal what’s going on at home, which might be playing out with the child acting out in the classroom during school hours.
Finally, point your browser to “Keep Learning Going During Holiday & Vacation Times,” which is an article written by Margaret Wilson and Mike Anderson in this month’s issue of the Responsive Classroom Newsletter. It’s filled with tips for making the holiday season a season of continued learning and scholarship.
Literacy Consultant. Author. Former 4th and 5th Grade Classroom Teacher.