Kick Start 2nd Half of School Year on Positive Note

Start the 2nd Half of School on a Positive Note
Posted on 01/18/2022
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Five Tips to Kick-start the Second Half of the School Year on a Positive Note

January 2022 | Issue #27

After a lengthy winter break, it may be hard to get back into the groove of returning to school again. For most educators, winter break often means you’ve reached the halfway mark for the school year, but the second half often brings challenges such as end of the year assessments, tense deadlines, changes in student behavior, and staff burnout. By implementing reliable strategies within your daily routines, you can help offset the pressures that are associated with the end of year.

Our students may have returned from winter recess with a variety of emotions and behaviors that can potentially disrupt learning. For example, feeling home sick or a lack of motivation can affect even the most studious students upon their return to campus. Thankfully, we can influence these feelings by using strategies to shape the classroom environment. It is important to take time to re-evaluate routines and regularly provide students with opportunities to express and discuss their experiences over the break.

If you are feeling overwhelmed, try taking a temperature check on the steps you took to bring everyone back. Consider how intentional you were in your approach, and how the present circumstances may be affecting the feelings and interactions happening on your campus. When schools promote safe, caring, and supportive classrooms, they are more likely to create a positive culture and climate on campus.

How can we kick-start the second half of the school year successfully?

  1. Tip 1: Due to disruptions in learning continuity, some students may have had less time than typically allotted in recent years to practice and form the habits needed to navigate the classroom and campus. One way to establish a positive culture is to provide staff and students with a re-orientation on the expectations for school. It’s important to schedule time throughout the instructional day to practice the daily routines and activities that lead to academic success.
  2. Tip 2: Students return to school excited to see their friends, but also not ready to just jump back into everyday school routines. Provide opportunities for students to share their experiences over the winter recess and encourage them to foster new relationships with peers through class discussion and perspective taking. This will allow for a transition for students and yourself to eliminate a quick burnout.
  3. Tip 3: After taking an extended amount of time off with your family, returning to a fast-paced environment can be overwhelming. Staff self-care and wellness provide opportunities on campus and in the classroom for people to be their best selves. For example: giving brain breaks in between activities, creating a staff wellness center in the teacher’s lounge or visiting CAHELP’s Virtual Wellness Center, can allow for time for grounding and reflection. Visit the CAHELP's Virtual Calming & Wellness site.
  4. Tip 4: It is easy to focus on the negative in our busy lives, so it is important to capture opportunities to celebrate successes. Create opportunities for you and your students to revel in knowing that tasks and projects have been completed. Having smaller and quick celebrations, will allow everyone the opportunity to not focus on the pressures that may be surrounding them.
  5. Tip 5: Students spend most of their school day in the classroom. Incorporating social emotional learning is a great way to foster relationships, build comradery and keep students engaged within the classroom. Use welcoming rituals, engagement strategies and optimistic closing activities to set the tone for the rest of the year. Such as a morning circle to start the day, a mindful minute after a transition, and a one-minute accolade to end the day.


Below are some additional links to resources to help support healthy classroom environments for students and staff.