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Hit the Ground Running: What to Prep NOW for January Success

organization Dec 13, 2017

Raise your hand if you stress out over school at the end of your Christmas Break. We all know it's coming- the January Back-to-School craziness. Let's prepare for it now, so you can enjoy a true break. That's crazy talk, right?! No, it's your new normal.

After the break, things start to really move fast in school. We have standardized testing, Valentine's Day, Black History Month, the general retraining of our students and ourselves and much more. Let's face it. As lovely and necessary as it is to have a break, it's a lot of work to get back in the swing of things. In fact, it's nuts! 

So, prepare now. Have your first week back (at least) planned and ready before you leave for Christmas Break. This means:

  • Lessons planned (~ 2 hours)

  • Copies made (30 minutes or less)

  • Extra items for activities, demonstrations or experiments purchased or gathered (~ 1 hour)

  • Lesson Materials organized and ready to go (last day ~ 20 minutes)

  • Assessment Materials: Create, adjust or gather exit slips, quizzes, grading rubrics, etc. (~ 1 hour)

PLUS - Have a plan, my friend, for re-training your students in all of your routines and procedures as well. This means:

  • First Day Back: Regular stop and think aloud moments. Hmmm... it's been awhile, and I'm so forgetful. Please remind me what we do as soon as we get to our classroom. Oh good. Thanks for that reminder. Now, show me.

  • Second Day Back: Stop and think aloud moments anywhere that went a little rough the day before.

  • Third Day Back: Stop and think aloud moments anywhere that went a little rough the 2 days before. Spot check, as needed.

  • Fourth Day Back: Spot check, as needed.

Your life will be so much calmer that first week back (and the rest of the year) if you take the time to do this. Here's a Free January Success Checklist to help you.

THEN - If you can squeeze anything else in, do these.

  • (10 minutes) Calendar Check: Are all of your events for the rest of the year on your calendar?

  • (1 hour w/student help) Checklist for classroom shutdown - plants or class pets to take home, securing electronics, extra trash bags ready for last minute cleanup, cleaning desks- inside and out, last minute grading, returning all work to students, etc.

  • (20 minutes) Test Prep Plan: Plan for fitting in some prep for standardized testing. Get it on the calendar.

  • (30 minutes - 1 hour) Email Templates: Write up and save email drafts for requests for volunteers and/or room parents for any celebrations and events coming up (Valentine's Day, 100's Day, Standardized Testing, Fat Tuesday, St. Patrick's Day, Last Day of School, field trips, etc.

  • ( 1 hour or less) Empty your inbox (or deal with the stacks of papers) - deal with all papers and items in your inbox. (file, trash, respond, do)

  • (~ 1 hour) Empty your email inbox - Take one hour to deal with each item and make a decision as quickly as you can (respond, file, delete, do).

I know it's nuts. I know you feel like you can't do one more thing. This is an investment in the rest of your year and in your sanity. If you can do even half of this, you'll be ahead of the game in January. Get your FREE January Success Checklist here.

Teach joyfully,



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