Conscious Discipline: strong name, excellent social-emotional curriculum resource.
The long stretch between President’s Day and Spring Break can sometimes feel like the longest time of year. In February, kids are getting antsy for breaks, and if you teach in a public school, state testing is just around the corner. In order to make this time as smooth as possible, we suggest:
-Cover your testing bases and begin to prepare for success. Most teachers don’t love state testing, but it is a fact of life in many classrooms, so every child deserves their best chance. Make an inventory of students who have test modifications/accommodations on their IEPs and 504 plans, and start taking steps to make sure everything is in place. On that note, also make a list of students who might benefit from modifications/accommodations but don’t currently have them documented. Talk to your special education or testing coordinator and see what can be done, and begin to gather the necessary documentation. Remember, even with testing, inclusion is about equity. If people in your community push back against testing accommodations and modifications, Not everyone needs to get the same thing in order for things to be fair. Fair isn’t everyone getting the same thing, it is everyone getting what they need to succeed. Check out Understood.org for any resources you may need.
-Prepare kids for break. While many teachers and kids love breaks in the school year, many other students find the change in schedule and lack of structure to be challenging. Reach out to kids and families and see how you can support them in their time off (with, for example, visual schedules, checklists, goals, or even work!) ensuring all kids come back rested and refreshed. Understood.org can again can help you out with examples to work from.
-Set aside time for some love! In the heart of winter, warm up your classroom with some community building. Have kids make and share sentiments about how they feel about their class and each other. Conscious Discipline is an outstanding, research-based social-emotional curriculum and their website is a great place to start.