Sunday, April 14, 2013

How to Make Mondays Your Best Days

Manic Monday

Just another Manic Monday! How many of us sing that to ourselves on Monday morning? I used to hum it to myself on Monday mornings when I was young.

I used to hate Mondays!

When I first started teaching, years ago, I dreaded Monday mornings, more than anything. Fresh out of school, and used to sleeping in, I found this new Monday morning work routine agonizing. On top of this, I had little second graders and was quite young myself (I graduated from college at 19). Honestly, if my classroom hadn't been directly across from a secretary's office, I would probably have put on a documentary and dozed at my desk! As it was, I had enough trouble keeping students busy on Mondays while I got myself together.

Things got better.

Over time, thankfully, I've learned to plan better, and have developed some strategies to make Mondays as good as any other day (at least for students!). 

Here are some things I do to help myself & my students thrive on Mondays.

1. Plan Mondays & Tuesdays on the Friday before.
This includes having all copies made and placed in a special folder on your desk. Ideally, we would have planned the whole week, but plans change as the week progresses anyway, so it's not always feasible or possible to do this. In any case, I've found that planning Mondays and Tuesdays gets me to Wednesdays even, much of the time, since I don't always accomplish everything I've set out to do.
2. Keep your Substitute Folder well-stocked.
I like to keep at least 5 copied activities in my Substitute Folder. This is great for emergencies, like when you have to be absent unexpectedly, or are out of commission mentally (this seems to happen most often on Mondays!). 

Substitute Folder

3. Learn about a few simple games and activities that you can use.
Choose activities that don't require making copies. Sometimes I'll use a page from a textbook as a guide, for example using a page of adjectives to have students guess synonyms & antonyms. Students can then write a describing paragraph using these words. Another game students enjoy is playing 20 questions in pairs, using class dictionaries. Or, try these activities from Teaching English with Minimal Resources.

4. Have a Monday Morning Folder
Get a colored manila folder and, yes, label it Monday Mornings. Also, create a folder on your computer Desktop labeled Monday Morning. When you come across a simple, high-quality language activity that your students enjoy, save a copy of it in this folder.

To Really Make Your Monday Mornings Shine:

Visit my blog! I plan to have something for you here, on my blog, every Monday morning. Each Monday post will feature a quality ESL activity suitable for the first morning of the week. You can use this activity first thing in the morning, or for any day you feel like doing something a little different, but still easy. Hopefully, you'll like the activity enough to save it to your own Monday Morning folder.

Monday Mornings Folder

All activities posted on Monday fulfill the following criteria:

1. They require no preparation except copying a single page.
2. They take at least 30 minutes to complete & can be extended to 50 minutes.
3. They build language

I hope you'll look for my post & worksheet first thing tomorrow, Monday morning! 

Thanks for reading, and see you tomorrow!

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