Bridging the Break: How to keep students connected through the holiday break

Winter break is quickly approaching and those two weeks off can bring up different feelings for different kids.  For most students, hopefully they’re excited and also feel like they’ll miss being at school (at least a little).  For some, though, the break can mean a long stretch of missing meals or braving a difficult home life.  And for older, struggling students, the time away from the stresses of school may push them one step closer to dropping out.  For these students, sending them off on a high note by knowing how much you care and that you’re there for them can make a huge difference.  Here are some ideas:

Class holiday card – There are so many cheap and easy ways to make holiday cards on-line with a few photos and even have them printed at the drug store down the street within an hour.  This could be something your grade-level team does so it comes from all the teachers or just for your own students.  If you have the budget, students would love to receive it in the mail as a little reminder of the caring teachers they have at school.

Personal notes – Don’t worry, I’m not suggesting that you write a note to all 100+ students you teach!  Think about those students who may really need some genuine, caring words.  They might be students you know have severe personal or financial situations, the ones you have a tenuous relationship with, or the ones who sit in the back and always seem disengaged and hard to reach.  The effort you put into these will mean a tremendous amount to them, even if they don’t tell you.

Teambuilding – Remember that fun stuff you did the first week of school?  Bring it back!  Culture and team-building take time and effort and right before break is a great time to rev up the class connections so that’s the school association they hold onto over the holiday.

Group chat or hashtag – Depending on your school’s policies, it could be fun to start a group text with a class or group of students so that you all can share what’s going on over break, what they received for Christmas, how excited you are to see them all again, etc.  Before break, announce this and maybe even send a note home, if you need to, to make sure this is an above-board thing that won’t raise any alarm bells with parents or your school leaders.  Other options could be choosing a hashtag that you all will use and follow to stay connected, or if you have a class Facebook page you could keep that active over break.

Parent notes or calls – If a parent gets a positive phone call from you over break or a holiday card in the mail saying nice things about their child, they will be thrilled!  Again, if you aren’t a self-contained teacher, you’d probably want to be strategic about which students you choose.

What other ways do you connect with kids over the holidays?

Previously published on December 12, 2013.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *