It’s January–yikes!

Around this time each year, things change for me and my students.

First, my students and I stumble a bit.  Transitions are rough, the chit-chat escalates and assignment follow-through wanes.  It’s a winter phenomenon.  Not a huge surprise.

Second, I begin to panic about the remainder of the year and all that’s still to learn, know and be able to do.  I know how quickly the spring slips away and how many intrusions there are on our school day.  My own responsibility and expectations weigh me down.

I think the two changes mutually reinforce one another in a negative manner.  My goal for this January is to not allow the spiral of stress overwhelm me nor my students.

Step 1: Class meeting about norms & agreements from August

Step 2: Acknowledge that my 6th graders are changing–it’s ok

Step 3: Allow myself the liberty to teach and guide as I always do and let the calendar handle itself.  I don’t have control over outside intrusions, never have.  I certainly can’t be my most effective self if I’m overwhelmed and feeling rushed.

Step 4: Keep my students in the loop–transition challenges, my expectations for the second half of the year, how 6th graders should be changing as the year progresses

Step 5: Institute the 5-minute check-in EVERYDAY.  Circle up! and debrief our improvements, make suggestions, set goals for tomorrow, and celebrate our work together.  Everyday.

Even with the annual roughness of January, I am confident we will regroup, renew and finish strong.

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