As much as I want to just chill on the Friday after Thanksgiving, I know that it really is in the best interests of my students to dedicate at least 45-90 minutes to school.
Because I need to make sure that the month of December ROCKS!
See, classroom minutes are precious and the fact of the matter is, it's way too easy to allow December to slip away into a "we are almost at the Holiday Break" mode... and class can all-too-easily devolve into a space where we are somewhat just biding our time until Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer comes to town. I don't want that. It's bad for my kids. It's bad for my classroom aspirations. It's bad for our school and for our society. December represents an excellent opportunity to turn UP the heat (not to lighten up) -- to bring our A game, to intellectually work at a double-time pace so that we squeeze whatever juice there is left in the fruit of 2009 to the max. It's a mentality more of us ought to have. (New teachers, are you listening? You might have some terrible role models on campus who will give you the "countdown til they are "free" every day for the next month but don't listen to them!).
I want my kids to end on a BANG!
not on a "slide away". Most solid teachers do.
The Friday after Thanksgiving is thus where I take stock and devise this "plan" to succeed. (Cause without a plan the chances of actually accomplishing this are small.
It's funny, too, because I remember my first year as a teacher how I scheduled a big test for the day right before the holiday break -- a HUGE test, one that would follow through on my belief that school is not over until it's over -- and everything I did in the month of December pointed directly to that one final Ka-Boom!
And then only about 43% of the class showed up the day before the break and it was 3 weeks before I could sort out what the heck had happened.
So now I know. December 18 (and 17th and even 16th) at my school is going to have low attendance. This means that out of 14 teaching days in the entire month, I really will only have about 11 or 12 instructional days before they are gone-zo for 2 1/2 weeks.
How will I make the most of these days?
With the plan I craft on the Friday after Thanksgiving. Though it's nice to have the day off, it's nicer to know that when I get back, we are gonna bring some heat before the big break.