The Christmas decorations are put away and celebrating the arrival of 2019 is old news. What’s a teacher to do? The winter doldrums have truly set in. This is the time of year that separates the good educators from the great ones. Creative and effective teaching strategies are needed to engage students and keep the winter blues from attacking.
While the scientific community debates if Seasonal Affective Disorder is real, most teachers would agree increased moodiness and lethargy in students’ behavior right after the holidays is all too real!
Teaching Strategies to Beat the Winter Blues
- Move, move, and move some more! Take frequent breaks so kids can stay active. Play a game where every time a certain word is said by the teacher, the kids jump up and change chairs. This will keep students engaged as well as allow them to move around the room. This is also a great time of year to play the dance freeze game!
- Reverse the schedule. Changing the day’s schedule of events can keep kids excited about coming to school. If possible, really switch it up, and have teachers change classrooms for the day. The kids love this! Don’t tell them beforehand; surprise them.
- Have a “snowball” paper toss. Kids will have a blast as they write a fun fact about themselves and wad up the paper. On cue, they throw it. Another student picks it up and guesses who wrote it. This will put smiles on faces and works off a little energy, too.
- Host Fabulous Friday events. Every Friday during the winter months use the last hour of the day to do something special. Kids will look forward to this special time all week long.
Need Fabulous Friday ideas?
- Host a science party. Just because the word “party” is used doesn’t mean learning isn’t happening. This is a great time of year to help Herman Tweed in the Fuddlebrook book, The Disappearing Snowman discover what happened to Sully the snowman. Don’t forget to do the hands-on science activities in the back of the book. Learning about states of matter has never been more fun!
- Create fake snow concoctions. There are many recipes found online for fake snow. Students can research and come up with their own recipes.
- Experiment with kitchen chemistry activities. Kids love to cook and this is a great time to have a cooking challenge in the classroom. If you don’t have an oven to use, there are plenty of no bake recipes online. Use our Quirkles book, Kitchen Chemistry Kal for inspiration.
- Host a Minute to Win It party. Students will LOVE the crazy challenges and this definitely keeps them engaged.
- Have a popcorn and cocoa party while reading a favorite book.
These activities along with many others can keep kids excited about school and gives them something to look forward to each day. The good news is it doesn’t take a lot to get BIG results. So, while January and February can seem extra long, adding a little pizzazz to the day can work wonders.