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January 2, 2021

3 Activities for Surviving the First Week After Winter Break

2020 was a crazy year! I know that many are not sad to see it go away. As for me, I have mixed feelings. I am glad to see the new year for all the new possibilities. It feels like a fresh start. On the other hand, I am so not ready to go back to school! I have loved my time off! Now that it is the new year, I have to start back to school planning. Here goes...Surviving the First Week After Winter Break!

Confessions of a Frazzled Teacher

3 Ways To Survive the First Week of School After a Break

Please note: There are links to products in this blog post. Using them will not cost you anything but may earn me a small commission if you make a purchase. will totally make my day!

1. Reviewing Procedures Carousel

This is one of my favorite activities to complete after a break since it has almost no prep and gets students moving.

Materials Needed: Chart Paper and Markers



  1. Brainstorm a list of places where your students spend a lot of their time: classroom, lunchroom, bathroom, hallway, etc. Write these places on top of the chart paper. (This can be done ahead of time or with students.)
  2. Then divide students into groups and send them to a paper. They get a small amount of time, like 3-4 minutes, to write as many things as they can to show behavior, how they should act, what they should look like in these locations, etc.
  3. Next, rotate the groups to a different location. They repeat the steps of adding information but first have to read what is already written. They should not duplicate information. This gets students to think beyond the basics. It gets harder as each group cycles through. Because of this, I add time in each rotation. 
  4. Once all groups have cycled through all the locations, we come together to share what was learned. 

Helpful Tips: 

  • Give each group a certain color marker so you know who has contributed what information.
  • Pair higher readers with lower readers to make this activity run smoothly.
  • Discuss your expectations ahead of time to keep it from being a free for all! This activity will be loud, but it works well!

Digital Version: 

  • Create Google Slides with areas you want to review with students: When People are Talking, Working in Small Groups, etc. For me, I would include our sight word practice, Xtra Math time, small groups, etc.
  • Put students into rooms to complete this task. It may be easier to just have each group focus on one area. Then bring the groups back to the main room and discuss. You could also send message reminders and pop into the different groups to keep them on task.

2. Procedure Pantomime

Materials Needed: Index Cards and a Pen (or marker)



  1. Have students brainstorm a list of basic rules/procedures. 
  2. Write these down on note cards. 
  3. Pull these note cards (a few each day) and have students act out the scenarios. This will definitely give them a great visual of how they should act! 

Digital Version: 

  • Complete the brainstorm list and make note of all of the rules/procedures.
  • Send messages to different students and have them act out the scenario. You could also put small groups into rooms and practice acting out a scenario. Then bring everyone back together and perform.

3. New Years Goal Setting

Materials Needed: task cards and recording sheet (FREE)


  1. Print out the task cards and recording sheet. (Click on the picture below to get these free!)
  2. Place the task cards around the room.
  3. Have students walk from card to card answering the questions.
  4. Meet back as a group to discuss their answers.
New Years Task Cards

What are you doing the first week back after your break?

The first week after a long break is tough! Teachers need to reestablish procedures and routines. This blog post contains 3 activities to do with students after a long break (like Winter Break). These activities are all low prep/no prep, making planning easy for teachers. Bonus!!! There is a freebie included! #confessionsofafrazzledteacher {Third, Fourth, and Fifth Graders; classroom management; January lesson planning}

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