Today I looked at my calendar and by the art of simple maths discovered that it is about 1 month to the end of term!…..Yes 1 month left!
Now if you’re new to teaching you may be looking at this and thinking “lots of time left” – but you would be wrong…because the last 2 weeks of term will be handed over to Christmas preparations for most schools. So by even simpler maths we can now see that we have 2 weeks to get the majority of this terms teaching complete!
Now that’s a thought that really wakes you up.
Let’s first put the teaching into perspective…
Yes we do have 1 month left until the end of term – however you will now observe that things are slowly starting to move with regard to Christmas preparations.
- Arrangements for the play / Nativity will be under way
- Perhaps your class has been asked to be a choir…so there are songs to learn
- Maybe the T.A’s have dragged out and checked the Christmas decorations from the store cupboard.
- NOTHING to do with Christmas will be happening in your classroom!
The majority of schools reserve the last 2 weeks for Christmas – by that I mean that in those last 2 weeks it is perfectly ok for you to structure your timetable so that you can do “Christmassy stuff.”
So as we have said, that really leaves us 2 weeks to get this current topic sorted and finished!
Let me give you the inside secret on this…although the last 2 weeks are turned over to Christmas preparations it is better to only have your afternoons devoted to this. That means you are still able to continue with Maths and English in the mornings. Now, you may give things a Christmas twist in these subjects but it does bring some order and stability to those last 2 weeks. If you don’t do this then you will quickly find that your classroom organisation and management comes under pressure …basically there is too much Christmas!
So in effect for the largest 2 subjects we still have 4 weeks to get through the planned curriculum….which is good!
That means for the other subjects you have to start to complete or wrap them up within these next 2 weeks. If you cannot go into the detail you had planned then summarise and teach the main points….and don’t worry about it – that’s what we all do!
Maths and English
These, as we have said, can run all the way through to the end of term – but don’t expect to have a straight run….at this time of year there are interruptions, impromptu extra practices and a whole host of things that just seem to crop up at anytime…personally I love it and it’s great fun just to stop a maths lesson, close the books and all troop down to the hall for a practice!
But despite allowing for these sorts of things you must aim to have finished both the maths and english teaching for this term by the end of term….its important; so make sure you do.
Why are we looking ahead this early?
This time in the term goes very quickly and we look ahead so that we are ready for when our afternoons change focus. These are the things that you need to think about NOW…
- What are we going to make that’s Christmassy to send home?
- Do I need to buy a class Christmas reading book or any Christmas art books for myself?
- I need to practice making the items myself a few times
- Do I have all the paper, paint, paper plates etc etc that I will need for everyone in class + extras for when they go wrong?!
- Do I have plenty of newspaper to cover tables for all this art work?….(one of the benefits of me reading my paper every lunchtime!)
- Is what I have planned suitable to be made by my class…expect to help with folding stuff and measuring at times.
- Have I got other Christmas activities for the children to do and are they photocopied? Word searches, puzzles, colouring etc…there are always occasions when you need to just hand out something for the class to occupy themselves with and on a Christmas theme.
With all these things in mind there are a few things that you may need to do now….
- Take a look at your maths and english planning…where are you at this moment and how does it look for the rest of the term – adjust if necessary.
- Ask in school about resources for Christmas art….schools should have planned extra materials for Christmas but you will get to know when and if they are arriving!
- Look around for either books on children’s Christmas art and order them early or for ideas or examples on websites such as Pinterest.
All of this is, of course, behind the scenes preparation and life in your classroom goes on unchanged – well for the next 2 weeks anyway!
Its a busy time in schools at Christmas and it all comes at the end of a long term. Instead of slowly winding down the children get more and more excited and we in turn get more and more tired.
It is however, a very special time – but do start to think ahead now and you will be ready for the fun!
p.s – don’t forget to buy your class advent calendar!