Saturday, January 9, 2016

Celebrating Routine {Celebrate this Week 1-09-16}

As I returned to the classroom on Monday, fresh from winter break, I have to admit that I was a bit nervous.

I always get nervous on the first day back after a vacation.  I don't know why, but I think it has something to do my fear of forgetting how we 'do things,' which is absolutely ridiculous.

I've been teaching 4th grade long enough that once I make my lesson plans, I don't have to check them too often.  I know the activities I want to complete, but I am also responsive to what my students need and will often change things up at the last minute.

But on Monday, I must have read my lesson plans over at least six times.

What is my problem? I kept asking myself.

When the students arrived, things started to fall into place.  We did our "Thirty Second Share" of our break time (which we do every Monday).  Then we practiced our math facts with a Five Minute Frenzy (which we do every Monday).  After Art, I started to teach the first lesson in our new math unit, but quickly realized the kids needed a review of what we learned before break so I detoured away from the plan and we reviewed.

The routine returned and it felt good.

By the end of the day, life in our classroom had returned to normal (if there is such a thing).  My kids settled down as the day went on.

I think the reason I felt so out of place was that I had been out of my routine for a week.   But so were my students -- and it showed more in some than in others.

No daily reading, no writing, no math fact practice, maybe not even a hot meal.

More video games, staying up late,  time at the babysitter's, getting along (or not) with brothers and sisters, or maybe just sitting and doing nothing.

Like me, I feel kids thrive on routine.  With a routine, they know what to expect.  There is a rhythm and a predictability to their day.  Routines are calming.

On Friday afternoon as I reflected on our week, it felt like winter break was months ago, not days.  Our daily routine had returned to our classroom, settling us all down.


  1. Jennifer, one thing you said struck a cord with me: routines are calming. Bam! That is what I am missing. When working in public education there were routines and patterns to each day. Now as a consultant in my unretirement mode, there is no particular routine. That is why I am feeling betwixt and between multiple projects. Time to recoup & find the balance. Thanks for sharing your back-to-school thoughts.

  2. Oh I, too, thrive on routine!!! I agree that the students do too. Happy first week back!

  3. There is a lot to be said about the safety of routines, isn't there? It is like all of life's conundrums knowing when to break out of the routine and when to sustain it.

  4. This is perfect. I too didn't follow routine but it was purposeful. I wanted time for the "extras" since we were gone for two weeks. After school Monday, I reflected and I thought we need to get back in our routine I was off and so were my students. Brought back the routines on Tuesday and we were up and running.

  5. I love that you are celebrating routines but that you also are so wise to detour during your first math lesson when you realized your students needed a review.

  6. We had winter break for three weeks. I hope it will be quick and easy getting back to the routines. I agree that the predictability of routines has a calming effect.

  7. I felt the same way on Thursday--and then we had a snow day on Friday! Yikes. The kids get a four day weekend since Monday is an inservice day. Luckily, it's the start of a new semester on Tuesday, so starting routines will be part of the lesson plan!

  8. I think I was always nervous when returning, & we all had to find a way to settle in, but as you wrote, by the end of the day/week, you were all back, feeling hugged in the routine. Your observations about routine are right. Each of us likes to know that certain things can be counted on. Glad you got your 'mojo' back, Jennifer!

  9. I think we get nervous because we care. That's a good thing. (I do it every Monday, it seems.) The predictability of routines can be comforting. I know there was a certain comfort to returning to be with my students this week - even if it felt really rough getting out of bed this week after all that time off to sleep in!

  10. It takes time to settle in - but settle in, we do, and then we're off and running. Happy New Year, Jennifer!

  11. I agree break seems like a long ago thing. It is nice to settle back into the routine, but I miss sleeping in. :)

  12. Always a challenge coming back . . . but you're so right. Before long, the rhythm of routine claims its spot and all is well. Glad you had a good return to school last week.


Thank you for leaving a comment!