Am so excited re the holidays which are fast approaching! With one week to go, I know the class are going to be going slightly more mental than usual! Before every celebration or big event, i.e. Halloween, Easter, Christmas or Bank Holdiays, certain members of my class will start to lose the plot, get overexcited and become hyperactive little aliens.
Last week, we were getting our class play ready and some of the students start to get hyped at the mere mention of Christmas.
There are a few things we can do as teachers to help the class (and ourselves) not to go to over the top with the excitement of Christmas. Yes, of course the children are excited but the teacher is still the one that has to try to manage the behaviour until the bell rings on the 23rd December! A few things I try that work for me are…
1. I actually don’t make a big, big deal of Christmas or any season. I am teaching Advent at the minute and this is during my religion class and it is what Christmas should be about…I have seen loads of teachers turning their classrooms into well-intentioned grottos. I never get a Christmas tree, but this year we made a big branch into a glittery homemade one with crafty baubles. The tree is not in your face and it very Christmassy in a toned down way. I also have an Advent wreath and display at the back of the room and of course the cards i get from the children are blu-tacked up by my desk! Imagine if you were a child coming up to Christmas and you were trying to learn your Irish verbs surrounded by glittarama, santas and musical Christmas trees…hmmmm..i think you would find it very hard to concentrate!
2. I keep the class learning about non-Christmassy things until the last possible minute…My Gaeilge lessons will be themed from Thurs onwards but everything else will remain normal! On the last week, Monday and Tuesday will be full of educational, curriculum filled but fun activites like Table Quizes, project work, carol singing and so on…
3. There will be no crazy sugar filled parties in my room!Well, not until half an hour before we head off for the holidays! I have never been a big believer in the “Get them silly and sick on sugar and caffeine” parties that some well-intentioned teachers host… I will let the children bring in 1 or 2 treats on the last day, we can have a bumper “Golden Time” and watch a film with the projector like ” The Grinch” or ” Snowman”. I will ask them for ideas about what kind of things they would like to do in their Golden Time. I will have loads of puzzles available for the class as well. I remember one teacher who had a big Christmas party for her Junior Infant class. She started the fun and frolics at 930 in the morning. She ladened them with sugar, soft jellies, celebrations etc. and by 10 o’ clock, there were some children getting sick over the tables….lovely!
4. Keep it calm! I may sound like a scrooge and it might sound as if I run my classroom with an iron fist but nothing could be further from the truth. My students enjoy every day and in particular enjoy the last few days of non-chaotic madness. They have enough crazy materialism in their local shopping centres, at home and on tv..Let school be an educational, fun and Christmassy affair for them! But don’t ruin it by creating a mental atmosphere and then wondering why the children lose the plot in the last few days. Keep them as calm-ish as you can and that way the children will enjoy a chilled out Christmas in school!
There must be other opinions out there, let’s not be shy! Tell me if you agree or disagree. Maybe you have some other tips you can share. Maybe you can convince me to change my mind…( unlikely, I am a stubborn old so and so)
Nollaig Shona Daoibh!