5 Ways to Revitalize Your Classroom in the New Year
As you start the new year, it’s the perfect time to reevaluate. What’s working in your classroom? What could use some help? Take stock and then take action. Check out these quick tips to revitalize your classroom in the new year.
A new year and resolutions go hand in hand, and that’s true in the classroom, too. The start of the second half of the year is a great time to have students set goals for themselves. Use a cute sentence starter like this one, or brainstorm ideas as a class. There are plenty of creative ideas to display students’ resolutions in the classroom. Research shows that visuals are an important tool in helping us achieve our goals.
This is also a good time to give students a refresher on class rules and expectations that you set at the beginning of the year.
Mix It Up
Use the new year to breathe new life into your room. Create new seating arrangements, redo bulletin boards, and redecorate your door. Hang new posters or change up displays of student work. You may still be in the same room you’ve been in all year, but it doesn’t have to feel stale. Add some bright colors to perk students up on cold, winter days, or embrace the season and create a winter wonderland theme with hanging homemade snowflakes.
Organization is key to an efficient classroom, but it doesn’t have to be boring. Think outside the box. Repurpose cans or spice racks for storage, and spiff up worn-off labels (or label things that never had a label in the first place!).
Have everything you need at your fingertips with an all-purpose teacher binder. Follow this easy tutorial to create a practical one that will keep you on top of your to-do list.
Enlist your students to help keep your classroom organized. Even the youngest ones can have classroom jobs—from clearing off their desks each day to keeping the classroom library organized. Have students fill out a classroom job application for the tasks that most interest them, and put them to work.
Get Ready for Tests
The second half of the year is filled with standardized tests, but there’s no need to panic. You still have time to prepare your students. Take a look at your class and focus on concepts that need extra support while you pepper your regular instruction with test review. Find ways to keep kids motivated in the weeks leading up to tests by offering fun rewards for reaching goals or adding friendly competitions to skills reviews. Help get your students ready by reinforcing test-taking strategies.
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Prepare for Indoor Recess
Winter weather means it’s inevitable: Your students are going to be stuck inside for recess some days. Take time to prepare your classroom for indoor recess. Assign stations for younger students, and provide plenty of hands-on activities to keep older students busy. Invite your kids to participate in an indoor snowball fight, or stock up on decks of cards paired with instructions for basic games. Keep art supplies handy for students who like to draw or color. Be sure to set clear rules for what students can and cannot do during indoor recess.
This blog was originally published on December 20, 2016. It was updated on December 12, 2022.