Keeping Your Sanity Heading into the Holidays

Thanks for checking in for another stop on our 12 Days of Christmas blog hop! Today, Nouvelle ELA and I are offering up some suggestions for how to stay sane with the holidays happening!

It's that time of year again: the holiday season. As this time of year rolls around, I know that our schedule starts to get a little crazy, and our students start feeling a little restless.

Let's admit it: we're all ready for a break after the long fall semester. But, how do you keep your sanity in tact with chaos ensuing all around you? Stick to a schedule.

Having a structured schedule can solve so many of our classroom management challenges, especially during this time of year when there are a million different things going on. As a write my lesson plans, I jot down a general outline of my lesson plans on my desk pad. This allows me to have a simplified version of my plan of action within arms reach.

Here's what my daily schedule looks like. It's not the same content every day or the same approach every day, but this "schedule" helps my students know what to expect and how to transition.

We start off with 15 minutes of independent reading every. single. day. Every single day. We never skip independent reading.

Then, we move on to bell ringers.

The bell ringer schedule is posted in the classroom so that my students know what we're doing each day. Vocabulary on Monday, article of the week on Tuesday, status of the class on Wednesday, combining sentences on Thursday, and reading responses on Friday. 

When we finish these two things, we check out our grammar and vocabulary that we're working on. This is sometimes mentor sentences and sometimes it's breaking down roots, prefixes, and suffixes. 

After this, I teach a short mini-lesson for reading or writing workshop, depending on which week we're on, that doesn't last more than 15 minutes. Then my students spend the rest of the block applying the content that they've just read. 

Here's the thing. It may seem monotonous, but I mix it up. Sometimes vocabulary is a game of kahoot or quizlet live. Sometimes grammar is a video or prezi, and sometimes it's an egg toss race. I change the lighting and music to fit the mood. I switch up their groups. I change the arrangement of the room. It's chaotic structure. They know what they're going to get (reading, bell ringer, grammar/vocab, mini-lesson, practice), but they're don't know exactly how it's going to be delivered. 

We've followed this routine for so long that my students know how to run our classroom without me. Which brings us back to the chaos. Even though we've got a million things going on, a million announcements, a million tests, a million meetings, and a million activities, they know what my expectations are. 

Following this routine/schedule allows me to keep my sanity because they know that we're not going to deviate from the routine. We follow this schedule right down to the day before semester tests which is a review day. 

It's nice for them to know exactly what to expect when they come to class, and it's nice for me to know exactly what to expect when it comes to their behavior. We all leave the classroom happy when winter break gets here. 

Need some help keeping it together as the holidays approach? Click on the picture below and download this free desk planner to jot down your plan of action. Trust me. You'll thank me later. 

If you haven't stopped by yet, don't forget to check out today's other blogger in our 12 Days of Christmas giveaway: Nouvelle ELA! Then head over to bloghop to enter the giveaway to win some awesome gifts! Today, you have the change to win a $20 Target giftcard! Yes, yes, yes! 

Click on the picture below to check out these awesome teacher authors' sanity saving ideas!

The 12 Days of December

Stay sane my fellow teachers. Stay sane.


  1. Love your site! Thank you the giveaway opportunity!! 😀❤💯

  2. Hello Krisanna! I am a new new follower and first year teacher. I would love to have more information about your Bell Ringers. Would it be possible to email you for more info and sound advice?

    1. Absolutely! My email is!