Be proactive and prepare for that first week NOW. Create an easier transition for you and your students with fun activities that will put a smile on everyone’s face! Although it is prudent to immediately re-establish classroom rules and academic routines, be sure to carve out some time for creativity and fun!
Here are some simple ideas to “lasso” all that fresh New Year’s energy into productive and fun learning activities.
Make a 2017 New Year’s Time Capsule
- First, locate a large can, jar, bottle, etc.
- Grades K–1: Have students trace their hands or feet and do a writing sample on the paper. On the last day of school, the students can see if they have grown and how much their writing skills have improved!
- Grades 2–8: Have students write a New Year’s resolution or academic goal on a slip of paper. Brainstorm ideas on a chart that are specific and measurable. The students can then roll their resolutions/goals in a scroll and deposit them in the time capsule. The students could also write predictions about how much snow or rain their community will have until the last day of school, how many snow days they will have, how many books they will read, etc. They could also write an essay about what they hope to accomplish by the end of the year.
- Last of all, have students place their work in the time capsule, dig a hole in the school garden, and bury it! Or, have your class see you lock it in a file cabinet, deliver it to the principal’s office for storage, wrap it with secure ribbon, etc.
- Imagine the excitement when your students open the time capsule on the last day of school!
Make snowflakes, snowmen, and other winter art projects for the classroom
Here are some free resources:
- Ideas and directions for making easy coffee filter snowflakes, paper plate penguins, and a variety of snowmen crafts
- Winter art activities from Evan-Moor’s Art for All Seasons includes a chain of ice skaters, a hibernating bear, a snowman, penguin playground, and positive-negative trees
Celebrate “Penguin Awareness Month”
- This informational website on Penguin Awareness Day will help you get started.
- See above for penguin art projects or make this cute paper bag penguin puppet, courtesy of the National Wildlife Federation.
Begin Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Birthday
- Create a classroom bulletin board honoring Dr. Martin Luther King. This free download from Evan-Moor includes suggestions for student writing projects to add to the board.
- Here is a list of thirteen Civil Rights picture books for all ages.
- This blog, Teaching with Style, provides examples of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., art projects.
- This Evan-Moor Pinterest board provides resources to help students learn about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
- Try this Martin Luther King, Jr., stamp activity from education.com.
Finally, here are some Evan-Moor book suggestions for January:
Have a healthy, happy new year!
Alice Evans is a forty-year veteran National Board Certified elementary classroom teacher and a published author. She recently retired from the San Diego Unified School District and has published a children’s chapter book entitled Torrey Pines Summer.