Friday, October 30, 2015

Utilizing School Day Holidays

Cassie here from Texas Forever (Formerly Mrs. Thomas's Class) and today I want to share with you a few tips for how to survive holidays in the classroom. 
By now I am sure most of you have seen this meme floating around social media

Props to you all! This week I am still on maternity leave, so I haven't had to endure this craziness, but I have in the past so I feel your pain. Hopefully it wasn't too bad! 
There is a positive:
I'm excited for this even for my personal self! 

Back to the point.

Halloween is definitely one of those holidays where, if you can celebrate, it's usually crazy and full of sugar. If you can at all costs, avoid the candy, and if you have candy only have it at the end of the day. (First year teacher mistake, candy at like 11 - worst idea ever)

If you can celebrate Halloween, I have always enjoyed having Halloween themed activities. It keeps the students a little wild, but still learning and having fun. I am not in the classroom currently, but during my tutoring sessions I created some activities to do with my tutee. 

The left photo I wrote words with blends on a pumpkin and then I said either the blend or word and had him tell me the blend and then he got to cover it up with those cute felt stickers from the Target dollar spot. 
The photo on the right are blend puzzles. He put them together, told me the word. You can see the witch fingers we have been using those to read during tutoring with the lights, also both from Target Dollar Spot. (Best place ever, right!?) I also found skull erasers I bought for him to put on the end of pencils to point to each word as we read. 
Sadly, I know some of you CAN'T avoid the sweets, and then I know that some of you can't have homemade snacks at school. It's an awful predicament, but I do have some advice. If you HAVE to have sweets - save for the last 30 minutes. It will keep the students somewhat focused (or as focused as they are going to be), and then save your sanity. If you CAN have other food for snacks. By all means, be healthy!!! Here are some of my favorite ideas.


These are for Halloween - but there are so many ideas for every holiday! 

This is a no brainer for those veteran teachers out there who have experienced classroom parties, but I remember as a first year teacher I didn't know this was the MOST IMPORTANT party part. 
Set the tone EARLY. 
If it's like this year and Halloween parties were luckily on a Friday, Monday or the Friday before start explaining your expectations for the party day. Don't let up at all that week, don't give an ounce of leeway or you will lose your students. No matter how much you think you won't, it could be all over by Tuesday and that's a wasted week we all sadly can't afford in the classroom. 
SO important. Send home letters at the first of the year about parties, reminders the month of big parties, and small reminders the week of parties. I have heard too many times too many teachers so upset because a parent walks in their classroom with cupcakes and soda at 11am. There goes your teaching day, we know this, but parents may not understand this. Why does this ruin your teaching day? Imagine a group of 20 5 year olds seeing all of that sugar walk into the classroom - their little eyes get wider, their hearts start pumping, and their desire to do any work for you, GONE. Just make sure you have some sort of routine where you send home reminders constantly. Parents get busy and make honest mistakes of forgetting what was set in place in August. 

and last but not least......


Your students will remember that day forever if you are just as excited and enjoying the time with them as they are with you. :) 

I hope this helps. Sorry it's the day of, but remember, Halloween isn't the only holiday that involves the kids getting crazy!!! 
Save this for Christmas and Valentines Day - FOR SURE! 

Have a great Halloween weekend!!

1 comment:

  1. I so agree with keeping kids engaged and parents informed! Thanks for the great tips!