November 2021

How to Prepare for December

How to Prepare for December


December can be a tough time in the classroom. We asked teachers about their best survival strategies and they came up with some pretty solid ideas. But we want to more than survive; we want to THRIVE! Even though your days are few before the long-awaited winter break begins, you want to make the best of them. Use every minute that you can in meaningful and impactful ways. Here are some things to think about as you're preparing for the last few weeks of the year: 

  • Standards/objectives. What's left to teach? What can be taught in the time available? What do you expect your students to know and/or be able to do? In what ways can your students demonstrate mastery? Or is it a good time for review? Can your students work on a culminating project that has several pieces to it that will be engaging and span multiple days? 

  • Attention span. No matter the grade level or academic ability, students across the board tend to have shorter attention spans in December in great anticipation of the promised break. This doesn't mean that you take it easy on your students or expect any less. But if you can use the shortened attention spans and work it into your lessons, you'll be much better off. Maybe this involves smaller chunks of work, more opportunities to get up and move, or more hands-on activities. What works best to keep your students on track? 

  • Expectations. For years, the last day or two before the winter break brought promises of movies, snacks, and games. This approach to surviving those last minutes has been met with much opposition in recent times, driven by the idea that every activity must be related to the standards. As you are planning your December, know your building's administrators' expectations. We'd never suggest or recommend doing something that is not allowed or looked down upon! We will, however, mention that there are certainly ways to keep your students entertained and quiet with a movie while also sticking to the standards with activities for them to complete while watching it. (We know that's valuable time for you to get that last-minute grading done.) 

  • Timing. There are plenty of logistics to consider. Do you have mid-terms, finals, or other major assessments? When are grades due? Are there any workdays? If you want to finish grades before you leave, you definitely don't want to test on the last day. But then what do you do in the days between testing and break? It's certainly not a time to start something new, but you don't want to waste anyone's time, either. Consider enrichment activities. Or lessons that will help bridge what they already know and what they should expect when they come back. Again, you don't want to actually start something new, but building anticipation for what's to come could be fun! 

Planning and preparing for this chaotic time now saves you from panic and stress later. Floundering for lessons and activities is stressful and students can usually tell when their teachers are not prepared. Don't be that teacher. Be the teacher students are looking forward to seeing you again in January! 

Add These Podcasts to Your Queue NOW!

Add These Podcasts to Your Queue NOW!

 

When you don't have time to sit down and comb through pages and pages of search results on the internet but you need some inspiration, help on how to teach a lesson or lead a discussion, or just to know that you're not alone, what can you do? Listen to a podcast! Listen on your drive to school or when you're running errands. Maybe set aside some time during the week to catch the latest episode. Podcasts are incredible resources that you can take with you on the go.  

This curated list spans from fun and light-hearted stories to resources and tools to help you build equity in your classroom and school environment. These hosts bring in experts and thought-leaders across a multitude of topics to give you insights, inspiration, and confidence to keep moving forward in your class. We hope that you find something that speaks to you to add to your queue today! 

Teachers Need Teachers - Journey with Kim and discover how to navigate your first years of teaching, balancing work and home life. She doesn't want you to just survive, but thrive in those important years! With short episodes, you can hear tips and tricks on organization, classroom management, engaging lessons, and even how to write a great teacher resume. As a beginning teacher, we know it's overwhelming. But having a resource who can talk you through big topics can make things so much easier. 

The Leading Equity Podcast - Join Dr. Eakins and his guests as they bring knowledge, experience, and stories to help educators on the road to equity in their classrooms and schools. Each episode is focused on how to support student advocates (teachers) to not accept the status quo, to speak up on behalf of others, and most importantly, to equip students with the resources they need to thrive in the classrooms and the world beyond. 

Crying in My Car - There are some things you just have to laugh about, either because it's so sad or so incredibly unbelievable. Comedian Devin Seibold shares his thoughts and insights on things going on in the world of education and other related topics. You will probably laugh. You might cry. You will definitely learn something. 

Truth for Teachers - Listen and learn endless ways to create a positive, inclusive classroom culture right where you are. This podcast provides everything from how to set boundaries with parents to culturally relevant curriculum. A National Board Certified Teacher, Angela Watson shares her experiences and knowledge and includes tons of support for social-emotional learning and blended teaching models. 

Cult of Pedagogy - Hosted by a former teacher, this podcast publishes highly-researched topics, classroom support and resources, and a diverse pool of guest speakers. Jennifer Gonzalez says about her podcast, "if it has to do with teaching, we're talking about it." With such a wide variety of topics, Cult of Pedagogy is sure to have something you're looking for.