1. Maintain your routine as much as possible
This time of year there will be assemblies, holiday parties, and things outside of your control that will break your routines. When it comes to time inside of the class, however, try and follow the routine that students are familiar with. This will give your students a sense of continuity and help keep them relaxed.
2. Turn the lights off
When you feel your students becoming a bit too hyper, keep the lights off and use natural light from your windows. This is a simple trick, that works every time. There is something about cutting out the fluorescent light that calms students down quickly. Students still have enough light to work with, and it suddenly is a peaceful room. I even find myself speaking more calmly with the lights off.
3. Engage students with calming activities
There is something about coloring that is calming at any age. Word searches are great too. One activity I’m engaging my students with this year is my Polar Express lesson and Pop Up book. It allows students lots of independent time to color and cut out their favorite scenes from a favorite book. I sometimes stream classical music during cathartic activities. My students relax with the music, and so do I.
4. Plan ahead
This is always the case, but this time of year it’s even more important. As teachers, our lives outside of school are more busy than usual this time of year too. By having my lessons planned, copied and ready to go, I am more relaxed during the day and better able to handle students who are overstimulated. I usually have a few “just in case” activities ready to go if a prep is cancelled at the last minute too.
5. You are the role model
Remember, ultimately students will model your mood. If you can remain calm and focused during this season, your students will at least try to do the same. For more tips on how to enjoy holiday teaching, click here.
Do you have any other great strategies for keeping your students calm this time of year? I’d love to hear them. Please add them as comments below.
Have fun with your students over the next few weeks, and Happy Holidays!