Behavior Management and Instructional Strategies for Surviving the Holiday Madness

classroom management Dec 05, 2019

As we head into the holiday madness and the home stretch for 2019, everyone's in anticipation mode. This can be fun or agonizing depending on what's going on in your classroom and school.

I've always been torn this time of year.

On the one hand, there's holiday programs to prepare for and all kinds of assemblies and other events that are fun and exciting. On the other hand, losing precious instructional time is always difficult for us teachers. I want both but something has to give. As I always say...a YES to one thing is a NO to something else. We have finite time in our day. We simply can't do it all. 

So here's how you can deal with it all in a way that melds the two extremes. 

Put everything on the calendar that you have no control over - Christmas play, a sing along, school assembly, etc. Make up your mind to be happy for all the moments that make your school a community. 

Then, ask yourself this question:

What are the essentials I need to teach in December? [This applies to the end of the school year madness as well.] Put the essentials on the plan - schedule them all. You'll have to be creative and come up with lessons that do double duty like a language arts lesson that also deals with your social studies or science curriculum. The goal is to be effective and efficient so you can relax about the learning and focus on enjoying the moments and staying on top of your classroom management. 

How do you keep your students attention and keep their behavior on track when they are barely hanging on?

That's the million dollar question, isn't it?! Well, there's not a perfect answer, but here's 4 things that will help.

  1. Mentor Texts Pull a set of fabulous picture books and other texts that all go together in some way for each week that you'll teach from. This provides a theme for the week, is the basis for your teaching and is engaging and fun.
  2. Play into their nervous energy. Plan "get up out of your seat" activities and projects to reinforce their learning. These can be small, simple things that just surprise them or capture their imaginations,  bigger projects or a bit of both. 
  3. Provide purpose. Children of all ages love to feel needed and/or that they're doing something of value. Remind them often of your [and their] overarching purpose or goals - building stamina in their reading, challenging themselves to become better at something in writing or math... Your students have real work to do and a sense of urgency that all this learning will benefit them and make them better, stronger and more capable. This is the glue that holds your class culture together. Reinforce it. If you don't have this, begin creating it.
  4. Stay strong. I KNOW how tired you are, but DON'T let your classroom management slip. I have a saying that explains it all: Velvet Over Steel. It means you have a caring, velvet approach and a backbone of steel. Now more that ever, your students NEED stability in this ever changing and chaotic time of year. In order to provide a feeling fo security, caring and trust in your classroom for your students, you MUST be reliable and trustworthy. That means you do exactly what you said you'd do if they fail to meet expectations for behavior, work ethic or attitude. 

I have great faith in you. You can get through this craziness with grace and, at least a little, sanity. ;)

Want a few more classroom management tips? Take my Classroom Management Quiz and I'll send you more classroom management ideas. 

P.S. As always, you can access my vault of free classroom printables here.



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