Besides June, I would say that December is the most challenging month for my students. We have just had several days off due to Thanksgiving Break, and now the holiday break is just weeks away. While I am excited, the kids are just plain restless. It’s hard to get them back into the groove for December. So, here are just a few strategies for keeping some serenity (and actual academics) in your classroom for the month of December.
1. Keep as much routine as possible! As much as it sounds fun to try new activities, right now is probably not ideal timing. Kids really thrive on routine.
2. Offer small “rewards” for positive behavior acts. Allow a student to choose the reading passage, lead the class in a lesson, or even tell a joke to the class. You’ll have to tailor the rewards to your students, but even something small can go a long way.
3. Meet individually with your students struggling the most. Come up with a plan to help him or her complete work.
4. Have extra “fun work” ready for those who finish early. It’s not only a way to keep your students on task at all times, but also encourages some reluctant workers to get their work done at a faster pace.
5. Get students working on task cards. I cannot stress how much I love task cards! They get kids working in groups and you can even print out an answer sheet so they can check their work on their own. That also gives you the much needed time to work with those struggling the most.