Thursday, October 9, 2014

Surviving The Day Before a Break!

 When I think about fall I think about leaves changing, cooler weather, and LOTS of break time. Here in Alabama fall break is coming up next week. After fall break is Thanksgiving break, then Christmas break. I love breaks, but keeping things in order the few days before a break can be rough!! 

Students show up to class excited, jittery, and chatty which makes it really difficult to keep things running smoothly. 

I don't have all of the answers to how to keep things going, but here are some ideas that have worked for me!


 Plan a super fun activity for that last day of school before a break! 
This could be a math lab that has students running around the school football field taking measurements, an interactive PowerPoint race, or just a plain old team building activity. 
(Here are links to some fun team building ideas: Team Building, Games) Make that day before break so much fun that when students come back to school they' forget that they've never liked math. (Wouldn't that be great?!?!)


Be Flexible! 
Where I live, it is not uncommon for parents to check students out early the last day of school before break, or to keep them home that last day so that they can leave early for their break destination. Planning for this ahead of time, I make sure not to plan anything too important for that day. What's the use of planning a fantastic lesson on solving multi-step equations with variables on both sides, if only 60% of the class is there to hear the lesson? Save yourself time & energy by adjusting your schedule to ensure that students who attend class will benefit from it, but at the same time that students who are absent are not in too much trouble for being gone. The last thing you want to do on your break is worry about how to reteach the 30% of students who missed your fantastic lesson.


Use breaks from school as a way to build stronger relationships with your students. Take the time to find out what your students will be doing over the break. When school picks up again ask them about break. For example, ask Johnny what he has planned for fall break. He may say he plans to visit his older brother in another state, or will be spending time at a skate park. When you see him again after break asking how his trip went will earn you major brownie points!! (This works especially well with students who seem distant and out of touch in class!) 


Breathe (and eat lots of chocolate - seriously!!!) 
Don't let that day before break stress you out too much. Remember you'll have all break to relax and hangout with your family! A trainer in one of my favorite workout videos (from the 21 day fix) reminds viewers constantly that they can do anything for a minute. Remembering that makes all the difference when I feel like I am about to die during a work out. That idea can also be applied to time in the classroom. You can do anything for a minute! Dealing with excited teens can be rough, but it is not going to least forever! 

If you have fall break coming up I hope it's a great one! For those of you who have to wait for Thanksgiving for a break..............I'm sorry!!! :)

Do you have any other tips for surviving pre-break class? Let me know in the comments below!


  1. Yes! These are great tips. Absolutely do not give a test the day before break. That is a mistake I will not repeat!

  2. Totally! I've had colleagues who would make it a point to always give tests before break thinking it'd keep students from being absent. Backfires every time! :)

  3. Randi thanks for your nice post.I am your newest follower and I am about to purchase your data binders... I have really enjoyed reading all your posts about it and I have a much clearer vision so I am ready to implement.Team building games.