Creative Activities To Engage Students For Back To School After Winter Break (Blog)

Creative activities to engage students for back to school after winter break

Happy New Year to educators and students! Getting into the swing of things and returning to school after winter break can feel tough. With these creative activities to engage students, you and your classroom will get back on track from the very first day of school after winter break and holiday celebrations.

We chatted with some educators in the Flocabulary community about the best way to re-engage students after winter break, and a clear theme emerged: culture-building. Use these Flocabulary activities when creating your lesson plan after winter break.

Captivate students and make learning experiences memorable and interesting through Flocabulary. Sign up below to access the activities and lessons shared in this blog post!

Here are activities for after winter break to create a strong, positive culture in your classroom, inspired by these educators.

Creative activities to engage students for back to school after winter break

1. Set new year goals

Who doesn’t love a little feel-good inspiration as we aspire to accomplish new goals in the year ahead?

Here’s how Andrea Runnels, a fifth-grade teacher at Kanoheda Elementary in Georgia, planned to pump up students for back to school after winter break for the new year:

Activities to engage student using educational videos about goal setting

“I love using Kid President as a positive role model for my students. I plan to show his ‘Guide to Being Awesome’ video. Then we will make a plan to be awesome! I have picked a single word –‘One Little Word’– to focus on as my theme for this year, and I’m going to have my students do the same. They’ll create a bulletin board for this word instead of the traditional resolutions. This way, I can refer to each child’s words to redirect and guide their learning and character development for the rest of the year. I love Flocabulary’s Goal Setting video and plan to show that, too, and have my students write about a specific academic goal for the rest of the year.”

2. Reinforce classroom routines and expectations

In this Edutopia article, educator Brian Sztabnik suggests that getting back to routines set at the beginning of the year is an important post-break culture builder. What we heard from Flocab educators backed that up. Flocabulary is a great tool for establishing engaging and fun classroom routines through after winter break activities that will support your classroom behavior management strategies.

Michael Lewis, a fifth-grade teacher at Blue Ball Elementary School in Pennsylvania, told us, “I used the first day back after break this year to re-go-over my expectations and classroom rules. This way, the New Year is a fresh start with fresh reminders.”

3. Utilize character education video lessons

Get ready to boost classroom learning after the winter break with Flocabulary’s character education videos. These engaging resources help teach important life skills and expand vocabulary while making learning fun. By exploring topics like trust, honesty, responsibility, decision-making, anti-bullying, and goal setting, teachers can create a supportive environment where students learn to apply these skills in school and life. Integrating these videos into post-winter break lessons promotes a positive classroom atmosphere and equips students with valuable tools for personal growth.

The first day of school back from winter break and the holiday season is the perfect time to encourage a growth mindset for students as they adjust back to their routines and set goals. Check out the following posts to explore lessons for these topics:

4. Practice praise and positivity

We all want to feel safe sharing our ideas, and creating a positive and open environment for students to express themselves is key to a strong classroom culture. If you aim to create a more positive and open environment after the break, Liz Maxson, a high school English teacher at Fairlawn Local Schools in Ohio, suggests leading by example and really listening to students.

“My best tip is to always remember that we, as teachers, learn as much or more from our students,” she said. “Be open to what students have to offer. Once they become engaged and know that you care, everyone wins! One of the best ways I keep my classroom open and show value to student input is to never miss an opportunity to incorporate, praise, or give a ‘shout-out’ to a student’s ideas or work. Whether I make comments about their writing in their journals, praise well-thought-out test responses, get excited during a discussion, or share one student’s question or idea with his/her peers in another class, I want them to feel that their work is valuable and necessary to help us all be successful in class. I love watching students praise each other and respect each other for sharing and impressing us all.”

5. Have fun with student voice and choice

Creative ways to engage students using Lyric Lab activity

Easing back into the school routine is a little sweeter, with some fun thrown in the mix. Katie Graven, fifth-grade teacher at Big Walnut Intermediate School in Ohio, suggests building upon the holiday element of surprise for fun classroom twists. Consider using Flocabulary’s Lyric Lab, a student favorite, to amplify student voice in your classroom. Share some after winter break writing prompts and have students write what they did over break through a rap.

“Hide a key element for your lesson in a box and let students open it up during class, draw slips of paper out of a bag to make choices in class, wrap books in wrapping paper…think like a kid!” she suggests.

And if you’re looking to bring more fun into your classroom, you can always look to Flocabulary! Kick off your next lesson with a Flocabulary video, or get students started with Lyric Lab to create their own academic raps! Using Lyric Lab for after winter break activities is perfect for motivating and gaining students’ interest.

Use Flocabulary for after winter break activities and beyond

Thanks to the educators who contributed to this post for their outstanding culture-building ideas! Start using these activities in your classroom to creatively engage your students in the new year.

Captivate students and make learning experiences memorable and interesting through Flocabulary. Sign up below to access the activities and lessons shared in this blog post!