If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

L-O-N-G Holiday Break and Snow Days...

I don't think holiday breaks ever come as quickly as teachers and students need them sometimes.  It always seems that the last two or three days before a break are the rowdiest, most difficult to manage in some semblance of order.

Then, the students have some time away from one another, away from the order and confines of the school routine, away from the very walls that house their learning environment...and away from the teacher.  Plus, the teachers have a bit of time away from lesson planning, assessing student learning, re-teaching or enriching student learning, guiding reading and writing, revising, etc. and some time away from the students and the very school-house (what my grandfather used to call every school as if they were all still little one-room buildings instead of large campuses).

Those little breaks really make a huge difference and it doesn't matter how much students enjoy learning and the social aspects of school or how much teachers love their job and their students.  Those little breaks are a necessity to ensure harmony and peace.

Then, parents are generally glad to have a break from the routine and confines of a time-schedule.  So, they appreciate the break as well.

However...

After a couple of weeks of less structure and lots of togetherness at home, everybody seems ready to be back into that routine and structure.  Then, when we add a couple of days of extended break with COLD temperatures (don't forget the Polar Vortex) that keeps folks cooped up inside, whew!  Change is a good thing!

As I walked the hallways of the school building I was in today, I saw students engaged in the learning activities teachers had planned for them.  I saw students with a sparkle in their eye and involved in the process that is learning.  I heard a few reminders of hallway behavior expectations, but I also saw students who were eager for transition and participation.

There were some fidgety folks in the hallways and I'm sure there was similar action within the classroom because those boys and girls really need to get outside and run and romp and just burn energy that only children can do.  So, I'm looking forward to temperatures above the freezing range for the next couple of days and I know that those teachers and students and parents will appreciate that sort of environment, too!

As instructional technology coaches, we try to stay out of the way at the beginning and the ending of the semesters of school to give teachers and students an opportunity to establish their learning community and set up some routines and expectations.  Although I think some folks believe we do, that is not a time for us to sit with our feed propped on the desk eating bon-bons, though!  We are working behind the scenes and getting things ready for teachers and students to implement support tools and learning platforms.  We are also mapping out professional development sessions and combing through lesson plans to help teachers polish them for teaching, publication, and sharing.

We also took a little time yesterday to tidy and clean up our storage area, purge some of the outdated files, and get organized a bit for the semester ahead.  So, I guess we were getting our fidgets out as well.

I hope you are getting a little romping in during these cold, frizzling days but that you are staying warm, too!