Recreating our Classroom Community in the New Year

IMG_4581It’s Sunday afternoon and here I sit, looking at my to-do list, planning for the week ahead in kindergarten, working on a presentation for later in January, checking Facebook…daydreaming out the window about how great the past two weeks of winter break have been. It’s a new year (on the calendar, at least) and I’m excited about seeing my kids tomorrow. I’m a bit worried too. While these two weeks off have been wonderfully fun and relaxing, well…it’s been TWO WEEKS OFF from school and routines for my kindergarteners. I know how important it is to rebuild our community, revisit expectations and routines and to make a plan for the rest of our year together. In a lot of ways, I see it almost like a second First Day of School. It’s a refreshing fresh start and a new beginning.

Tomorrow I want to be sure and listen to every child. I am sure they will be full of stories to tell and memories to share from their two weeks off. I don’t want to jump right into the new math unit or literacy unit of study right away. I want to make time to welcome the children back to our classroom family, to allow them to reconnect, play, enjoy each other, share their hopes and dreams for 2014 and to ease back into our routines and life in the classroom. I want to start our morning meeting by making a chart of “What kind of class do we want to have in 2014?” with the kids – creating a future for us together in the new year. I want to remember that community is at the heart of our classroom and when we’ve been apart for two weeks we need time to reconnect and recreate. What a fun opportunity as we return to our classrooms tomorrow! Enjoy the time with your students and I wish you a most excellent 2014!

What are you focusing on as you go back to school after winter break?

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8 thoughts on “Recreating our Classroom Community in the New Year

  1. I was just doing the same thing (should be lesson plans but really everything else!) But most importantly- how to get my 4th graders excited & back into learning together mode after almost 3 weeks away! Have a happy January!

  2. This is a wonderful way to start the new year with all the little ones. I’m thinking of the same things. I’m anxious to hear all my first graders’ stories, and I also want to encourage those children less likely to speak, to share their experiences. Helping them understand they too have an interesting voice and others want to hear
    them is crucial. Before the break, they were developing great academic conversations and feeling comfortable talking about their lives. I’m hoping they’ve maintained the interest in themselves and will continue to feel excited sharing with others.

  3. So smart to listen to their excited tales. I’m sure they are just as excited to see you and their friends. So smart not to jump right into your agenda but listen first. And so smart to think…it is the second first day of school — what a great way to enter the classroom. It’s like now we know each other and we’ve learned a lot, how do we want to make our learning even better.

  4. Katie, when I read what you write I nod as if we are in conversation. I love the way you think and teach. I can’t wait to see my 20 kids tomorrow morning. I want to hear all about what they did as well.

  5. Exactly what I plan on doing. New Years is a gift and we will be planning out our new year and resolutions to make our learning better! :)

  6. I plan on doing the exact same thing. New Years is a gift. We have the opportunity to regroup, go over expectations and make our resolutions so we can make the class even better and so we can learn even more.

  7. Pingback: Recreating Our Classroom Community – Part 2 | Catching Readers Before They Fall

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