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The Stretch

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Bring the good coffee.  Play some games.  Teach the kids.  BOOM! Enjoy it! Let’s bring excitement back to education.

Gang, you know exactly what this post is about without having to say it.  The days are shorter, colder, and they don’t stop coming! The stretch from January to March is long.  SO LONG! It is so long it is even a Leap Year.  How can you keep yourself, staff, students, and the community engaged or excited to come to school?  The snow is NOT sticking; you must stick to a plan with resources that WORK. Buckle up. I’ve got your go-to list of ideas to make it through to Spring Break. (Don’t worry; I have that covered, too. Spring Classroom Management)

The School Ecosystem

School buildings are their own ecosystems.  We all know it; we just need to use it as a support system.  Let’s face it.  Your school family probably understands your day more than your own family. It’s not their fault; people outside education just don’t know! In a school family, you all share a common commitment to education and instruction. The ecosystem is synonymous with climate and culture, especially with what is respected and valued.  The bottom line? We want everyone to feel great about coming to school.  


The Sweet Spot

There is also something extraordinary about this time. Many educators didn’t realize how things could change so drastically and quickly until we got that “out of an abundance of caution” phone call that week of March 2020.  As teachers scrambled in a period of hyper-change to adapt and learn new teaching strategies, you may not have even realized you missed out on the sweet spot.  You worked so hard to build relationships, engage with your students, and while we worked our butts off through a screen or a car parade, we missed that sweet time.  The time when you no longer need to teach expectations; you are looking for them to achieve them. You have built connections, so do not miss out on the celebrations of the spring and end-of-the-school-year traditions.  Find joy in this time when you can dig deeper into those relationships, have conversations, and maybe even laugh with them! 


The Super Stretch Seven

1. Bring excitement to learning!

What a great time for innovation! Winter to Spring Break has a few long weekends, but The Strectch is what teachers always want: uninterrupted instructional time.  You can teach! This is the time to shine! Put the work in.  

2. Classroom management: Reset your class at the start of the stretch. 

Check out a recent blog about The Power of Personal Reflection.  We dig deeper into this topic.  When it comes to classroom management that works, you need to set, reset, and hard reset when required. 

3. Staff Connections


  • “Treat yo self” to the excellent coffee. Take turns for the pickup and use those gift cards from the kids.  Order extra whipped cream. 
  • “Treat yo self” to actual lunch meals.  Imagine if you only needed to pack lunch twice or three times a week?  Lunch buddies are the best.  Pack a lunch for two (or more) and share, and rotate the days with your lunch buddies. Watch the gourmet recipes pour in with great conversation. You will eat like royalty instead of working through your lunch or eating leftovers from last night. You will even have time for a bathroom break! 
  • “Treat yo self” to some fun! Host staff-only challenges! Watch the podcast for March MADNESS tips and tricks that can bring healthy and happy competition. 


Did the dress code evolve at your school after the pandemic? One of my favorite things is to announce a dress-down Monday. While you’re at it, make it a T-shirt Tuesday! Why not the whole week? We all know when we are comfortable, we are our best selves!

5. RPS- Rock Paper Scissors Tournament

 Watch this Instagram post for a student and staff introduction to an RPS challenge. Here’s the gist: Students are given beads, and teachers get the fancy beads. The winner of RPS rounds collects beads, and the winner is celebrated and notorious!   

6. Humor

Humor in the classroom is my JAM.  In “The Stretch,” you have worked to build connections.  You know the kids that can engage in a joke with you.  I am a huge fan of Dad Jokes.

7. Host an event!

 Crew, you know I love to host a great rally.  You have several amazing options depending on when you start your school year. 100th Day Celebrations are perfect for the elementary crew! Take the day to celebrate! Do all the 100 things that bring joy, happiness, and fun to the day. 

“Halfway There” is just right for the middle and high school levels. Play Bon Jovi’s (Jersey Shout Out) “Living on a Prayer” at the rally's start or over the announcements.  Celebrate the moment and make memories. Get out your air guitar or rocker wig! 


Need some more easy-to-implement ideas? 

Check out these books:

10-Minute Classroom Openers is a must-have resource for teachers, whether you're a seasoned educator or just starting your teaching journey. For those of you familiar with Stand Tall Leadership, you know how important it is for schools to have a positive climate and culture.  

This book is a game-changer, offering 150 quick, engaging activities designed to kickstart each day with a burst of positivity and connection.  Everyone in education can benefit from this resource for their Social Emotional Learning (SEL) programs. 

The best part of this book to implement SEL in your classroom? There is zero prep needed.  ALL you need is this book and five to ten minutes! It’s easy to see- you don’t even need your readers! 

Ideas, Ideas, Ideas is your handbook for free (or inexpensive) ways to keep the momentum of the climate and culture you are working so hard to maintain on your campus. 


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