Sunday, December 15, 2013

Six Ways to Survive The Last Week Before Christmas

Six Ways to Survive The Last Week Before Christmas: This blog post has several ideas for keeping the children engaged in learning during those VERY busy weeks before Christmas, including freebies for active learners!

I'm bracing myself for a challenging week.  
It's a busy time of year.
There are very few hours of sunlight per day.  
That really affects the spirit of many.
Kids are overstimulated, sleep deprived, and downright cranky.
Plus, did you realize the full moon is this week, too?  

Here are Six Ways to Survive the Last Week Before Christmas:

1.  Bribery Works!  Yes, I've been known to resort to bribery. I would hope that children want to be good just for that personal pride, but that's not realistic.  They need to earn something.  
This week, we're working toward a Christmas party on Thursday afternoon.  I've already planned the party.  We'll have entertainment and gifts to open, and food and fun stuff.  But I tell them those plans can be cancelled if they don't earn the party.  I've come close to cancelling the party in the past, but we've always had the party.  One thing to remember about bribery... the "bait" needs to be WORTH IT, or it won't work next time!

2.  Keep Them Active!  I've got some games (freebies!) that keep the kids out of their seats.
Try Golfing for Tens, 
adding tens

Counting to 100 freebie


Or even a game like this one I found on Amazon.  (Click images for links to these games.)
for active learners

The key is to get the kids having so much fun, they don't realize they're practicing their adding skills!

3.  Try a Little Yoga!
book: Yoga for Children

Kids really adapt well to Yoga, and it really calms them down and helps them focus!  Honestly, it helps me, too!

4.  Add some music to your day!

I use this one in my classroom frequently and I swear by it! (Click image for link.)
music to help students concentrate

Any baroque music makes a great calming background for the classroom!
baroque music

Of course, my acupuncturist uses this background music, and I know it relaxes me!
ocean sounds CD

Or, if you're looking for holiday music, this one is my personal favorite for the classroom
Carpenter's Christmas CD



And who doesn't love this one?
A Charlie Brown Christmas CD


5.  Let them paint!
I am always amazed at how quiet the children become when I pull out the water colors!  Of course, one needs to have an educational purpose for painting, but I really don't think creative teachers like us would have a problem thinking of something, do you?Watercolor paint
6. Have a Game Day!

There are plenty of board games out there that are perfect for strengthening the children's reading and maths skills, and some great strategy building, but be sure to keep the "learning" part a secret... they'll think they're getting away with something!  Here are a few of my favorites:

Apples to Apples is my favorite!  It always makes the kids giggle, and (shhhh...works some valuable thinking skills)
fun game (and educational, too!)

Scrabble works reading, writing and even math, as well as strategic thinking!
educational fun

Uno is a classic!
Uno

Plus, Yahtzee is a great game for strengthening math skills!
Yahtzee
Then of course, regular playing cards will always entertain, and make mathematical paths in the brain.  (Seriously!)

playing cards

Well, there are six ideas to help you through this week.  I hope this helps!

But, as all teachers know, when all else fails, be sure to keep a stash of chocolate in your desk for those particularly stressful days!
chocolate!

And if you're still looking for holidays, I've got a whole bunch of freebies linked to my
  December Pinterest Board!





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