Let's crunch the numbers, shall we? Over the past two weeks, rather than having 10 days of class time, we have had 10 hours. Yikes! Talk about being out of a routine!
...and where have our students' brains been during all that unexpected, mostly unstructured time? Who knows!
So the challenge becomes how do we rein in their brains, energy and focus after snowball fights, sleeping in, innumerable dramas, junk food binges, and who knows what?
I found a great article that was actually written for teachers coming back from extended holiday breaks, but it fits our circumstances very well.
In her article, "How to Use Brain Science to Engage Students After the Holidays." neurologist, Judy Willis, gives us practical information on how to corral our students after a long break.
Here are some of the highlights:
- Novelty and the unexpected get the brain's attention - use them!
- Getting back to the same old same old too quickly may actually contribute to lack of focus and some behavior difficulties.
- Change the furniture around.
- Get them up and moving - brain breaks are great for elevating or calming energy.
- Have music playing.
- Change something in the room.
- Let them get out some of their "stories" from the snow days. Keep in mind that this doesn't have to turn into an episode of Dr. Phil. They can write about it, draw about it...
- Have students write or draw about something from our time off, then with a partner, they have exactly one minute to tell everything that happened. When the minute is up - it's up! Total time = maybe 5 minutes. Total saved time because they had a chance to get it out of their systems = hmmmmm???