4 Creative Tips And Activities To Engage Students After Winter Break

4 Creative tips and activities to engage students after winter break

Happy new year to educators and students! Getting into the swing of things after the holidays can be tricky. With these creative activities to engage students, you and your classroom will get back on track 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. To access the Flocabulary activities we’re sharing, sign up below!

Here are four ways to create a strong, positive culture in your classroom after the break, inspired by these educators.

4 Creative tips and activities to engage students 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, fifth-grade teacher at Kanoheda Elementary in Georgia, planned to pump up students for 2016:

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.

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. 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 Ohiosuggests, suggests to lead by example and really listen 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.”

4. Have fun with student voice activities

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.

“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!

Use Flocabulary’s creative activities to engage students

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.

New to Flocabulary? Sign up for an account to access these resources for free.