Strategies to Help Students Stay on Track During Winter Break

Osmosis Team
Published on Dec 5, 2022. Updated on Nov 23, 2022.

There's no doubt that time away from school is a welcome change during winter break, but it can also hamper a student's progress once they return to their coursework. Here are five tips for educators to keep students engaged during the winter break.

Winter break is an exciting time for students because it not only signifies the successful completion of the term but also marks the upcoming break. Students are looking forward to travel, time with friends and family, and a break from school. Although time away is much needed, keeping students engaged during the break can assist with their transition into the upcoming semester.

1. Keep in touch 

Although students may not be checking emails or learning management sites as often, one way to keep connected is to let them know you care beyond an academic level. You can send an email with a personalized touch or individual messages. This shows your students that you care about them as people inside and outside of the classroom. 

2. Offer optional study resources

Some students want to review and prepare over break. Providing them with assessment items, case studies, interesting journal articles, or videos to review allows them to access resources at their own pace if they choose. This can be as simple as putting your top resources from the past term into a list on your learning management site or in an email just before the break.

3. Promote volunteer opportunities 

Winter break is a great time to get out into the community and help their neighbors. Tell your students about opportunities in the local area such as volunteering at a vaccination clinic, assisted living community, or toy drive. Volunteering brings students together with members of the community and helps them connect what they learn in the classroom to real-life experiences. 

4. Encourage the creation of personal learning objectives

One way to encourage self-directed learning is to ask students to create their own personal learning objectives. Before completing the term, have students write down their goals for the next term. These don’t have to be formal or measurable objectives; however, they should be meaningful to the student. Encourage students to save these and keep them somewhere they view daily, so they continue to reflect on their goals over break and set intentions for the new term. 

5. Take care of yourself 

Keeping students engaged takes energy, time, and commitment from faculty. To be the most effective educator you can be, make sure you give yourself time for rest and recuperation over the break too. Students can see when we aren’t feeling our best physically and emotionally, so it’s important to “fill your own cup” before trying to fill others. 

Have an amazing winter break everyone! We will see you in the new year. 


Horning, M. L., Ostrow, L., Beierwaltes, P., Beaudette, J., Schmitz, K., & Fulkerson, J. A. (2020). Service learning within community-engaged research: Facilitating nursing student learning outcomes. Journal of Professional Nursing, 36(6), 510–513. 

Ghasemi, M. R., Moonaghi, H. K., & Heydari, A.. (2020). Strategies for sustaining and enhancing nursing students’ engagement in academic and clinical settings: A narrative review. Korean Journal of Medical Education, 32(2), 103–117. 

Peihler, C. (2017). 5 ways to keep students and teachers learning over winter break.

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