How to Review and Reinforce Key Concepts After Winter Break

How to Review and Reinforce Key Concepts After Winter Break

Returning from winter break has a different vibe when students fill into your classroom. Amid this happy reunion, teachers are aware of the challenge ahead: reigniting the learning spark and reviewing key concepts that had faded into the background during the break. Leaving the question – what’s the best way to review and reengage after winter break before diving back into new curriculum?

I’ve teamed up with other upper elementary teachers to bring you ideas for reviewing and reinforcing key concepts after winter break. Check out our ideas that will reignite learning mode with your students!

Strengthen Math Fact Fluency

Multiplication Timed Tests for Math Fact Fluency

One of the key foundations in math is having fact fluency mastery. Having the basics available for quick recall, students can tackle more complex math problems. After returning from a break, starting with some basic math fact fluency practice can help students revive their math memory.

I wrote a blog post that can help you with math facts! Read about 4 Ways to Boost Math Fact Fluency in Upper Elementary so you can add this to your back to school after break plans!

Use Mini Check-ins

math test prep check-ins by A Teacher's Wonderland

Breaks can be amazing. You can explore the world, stay by the fire with some hot cocoa, or just hang on the couch and watch TV. If you, the teacher, are doing this…imagine what your students are doing. There is nothing wrong with relaxing, but students need to start getting their heads into an active mindset.

Ronnie from A Teacher’s Wonderland has an idea regarding reinforcing key concepts after winter break. One great way to do this is by providing your students with mini check-ins related to your lessons from before the break. You can have students work on test prep assessments to review previously taught skills. Ronnie has a blog post about how to use test prep throughout the year. You can read all about it here!

Goal Setting for the New Year

New Year's lapbook by Comprehension Connection

After your students have been on vacation, routines are often forgotten. One of the best ways Carla from Comprehension Connection gets students back on track is with goal setting.

At New Year’s, we often talk about resolutions. This is an excellent segue into goal setting and progress measurement, especially if you’ve set learning goals earlier in the year. You might use her A New Year, a New Me lapbook to help guide your discussion about goal setting and measuring progress. She’s also written a blog post all about goal setting resources that include suggested book titles, bulletin board ideas, freebies, and links to online activities. Visit her site to grab the freebies and learn more!

Paired Passages for ELA Review

paired passaged by Creative Classroom Core

After winter break, finding engaging activities to provide students with the review opportunities they desperately need can be challenging. Marissa from Creative Classroom Core loves using paired passages to review key reading strategies in her upper elementary ELA classroom. These engaging tools help develop critical reading skills and enhance understanding of various texts and subjects, making them excellent review tools.

To have success when using paired passage instruction, thoughtful text selection is key. It’s essential to choose texts that fit well together in terms of their themes, concepts, or historical contexts. By mixing fiction with non-fiction, poetry with prose, or even texts from different cultures, students can discover connections that go beyond each text individually. This approach helps students see literature as a collection of interconnected ideas. Read more tips and tricks for using paired passages in your classroom by visiting the Creative Classroom Core blog!

Set the Tone with Relaxed Activities

differentiated math activity by Amber from TGIF

Starting the year off on the right foot is crucial after winter break! After holiday festivities and time sleeping in, getting back into the groove is tough on students and teachers! Amber from TGIF loves setting the tone on the first day back to school in January by easing back in with relaxed educational activities.

Reviewing previously learned material, setting achievable goals, and gradually increasing the level of difficulty in assignments those first few days really help get everyone back in the groove both academically and emotionally. Hop on over to Amber from TGIF’s blog post on what activities she does the first few days after winter break to learn more!

Review with Games

Reviewing and reinforcing key concepts is a necessary and important part of teaching – especially after winter break. Some effective strategies to help students refresh their knowledge and get back into their learning routine include things like the use of concept maps, peer teaching, and even reflection.

Tammy from The Owl Teacher loves to incorporate games to motivate and engage students. Oftentimes, with games, students don’t even think about the learning aspect but are focused on winning and fun. While many teachers are familiar with review games such as Jeopardy, Kahoot, or Quizlet, Tammy writes about 5 Games for Reviewing Any Content that also engages students creatively. Visit her blog to learn more!

Winter Break Memories

winter memories by Longwing Learning

Harnessing the creative energy of winter break memories, Vanessa from Longwing Learning has students complete a writing prompt centered around winter break memories to review and reinforce key writing concepts after winter break. The winter writing prompt includes different opportunities for students to share their holiday experiences with classmates. Integrating personal experiences into the learning process in a fun and positive writing experience after a long break allows students to transition smoothly into core subjects.

Returning to school requires a thoughtful blend of academic rigor and emotional awareness. By integrating the diverse strategies shared by other upper elementary teachers, you can effectively reignite the spark of learning in your students. From strengthening math fact fluency to using mini check-ins, goal setting, paired passages for ELA review, relaxed activities, and engaging games, each approach offers a unique way to help students transition smoothly from holiday mode back into the classroom.

Remember, the key is to reconnect with your students, review what they’ve learned, and reignite their passion for learning. As you implement these strategies, you’re not just refreshing their memories but also fostering a renewed enthusiasm for the educational journey ahead. Let’s make this post-winter break period a time of exciting re-engagement and growth in your classroom!

Interested in Finding More Ideas for After Winter Break?

How to Review and Reinforce Key Concepts After Winter Break