Sunday, October 20, 2019

Kim Frencken: Beware of the crazy days

Beware of the crazy season. It starts in mid-October and ends when school resumes in January. You'll easily recognize it by the pumpkins and poinsettia displays. Retailers call it Hallowthanksmas. I call it crazy.

It happens between October and January, there is little time for catching your breath. Forget about finding your mind. School days go by in a blur of frenzied activities, parties, and hyper kids.

There seems to be little time for quality instruction with parties and concerts, and assemblies. Keeping focus and competing with costume comparisons is virtually impossible. Writing Christmas list becomes the writing lesson. Planning classroom parties takes precedence over lesson planning.

How do you survive and keep your kids engaged in quality lessons? Don't try to fight the system. It is what it is. There have always been holiday concerts and parties. There are always kids physically exhausted and mentally wired after Halloween. There always will be. Thanksgiving vacation will always cause a ripple of excitement. Kids will always be wide-eyed thinking about Christmas.

Make the best of the situation. Find resources (or create them) that play into the holiday spirit. Quality resources that provide review or reinforcement of skills. Limit how many new concepts/standards you teach (I know there isn't enough time). Focus on reinforcing skills you've previously taught.

Enjoy the holiday season. Count your blessings. Breathe. It happens once a year. Every year. You survived last year. You'll survive this year. You've got this.

(For more of Kim Frencken's writing and information about her educational products, check out her blog, Chocolate For the Teacher.)

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