During the first half of the school year, we faced the front of the room, but when students came back from Christmas break, I had things turned around so that the side of the room became the front. I wanted the fresh visual perspective to encourage them to take on a fresh perspective about other things as well, perhaps even areas of their lives where they wanted to set new goals.

Hanging Paper Lanterns in Classroom

For some new year’s cheer, I hung blue and white paper lanterns from the ceiling and updated the welcome-back-to-school banner I made back in August. I also put up new bulletin boards and changed out the classroom posters, so that former students would find the room as refreshing as the four new students who joined our class this semester.

Happy New Year Banner

We started our first day back talking about Christmas gifts and trips, and then moved on to New Year’s celebrations and types of goals students had set for themselves. We read other students’ goals for the new year from a magazine so they could see what types of changes other students wanted to make. In all of this I tried to emphasize how new perspectives can be so healthy. I then moved on to sharing what my goals for them in this second half of the school year are.

I think it really makes a difference when you keep your classroom interesting, refreshing and inviting. Leaving things the same way all the time can negatively influence creativity, enthusiasm and interest. If you want students to return to your class after the Christmas holiday refreshed, recharged and ready to give you their best, then be sure to offer them a refreshed, recharged and ready environment to work in.