Sure they need reminders like, "Before we go into the hall, what should our line look like?" And, "That doesn't sound like a discussion about landforms of the Northeast; you will need to save that conversation for lunchtime."
But with the older kids, there are things that they just get. Like when I told them at Morning Meeting, "You can share something you did over vacation. Not something you got, because we're not here to brag..." and not only did I get a chuckle, but not ONE student broke that rule. And they seemed to enjoy hearing the stories about frolicking in the snow and other wintery mishaps almost as much as I did. They ask each other (and me) appropriate questions, like, "When you watched the ball drop, did you see MC Hammer?" And their replies, such as, "Oh yeah, I saw that too! He was dancing with the Chinese Elvis," leave me in stitches. ("Actually, Donny, Psy is Korean, but I suppose he does dress a lot like Elvis!")
It was nice to reconnect with the kids, and they really stepped up to the academics after Morning Meeting too. Calendar Math is finally clicking after a rocky start, 2 column notes is finally becoming second nature to them after a similar start, and my new insects and arachnids game got them excited again about, well, being back to school.
Although it was hard getting out of bed in the morning, at the end of today I actually felt HAPPY to be working with this group of kiddos when I left work today.