Can you believe how fast the time has gone? Now that we have decked the halls and falalalalaed, it's time to start to focus on going back to school. Those Sunday scaries might be running to the max today, but don't worry! We've got you covered for not only an easy transition day back to school, but also fun for your students. Oh, and did we mention that you will cover a ton of curriculum too. Let's get started!
Around year eight of my career, I really started dreading going back to school after Christmas. Christmastime was the highlight of the school year because every day brought a new adventure and the excitement for Christmas was building. So one year, I decided why not celebrate our first day of the new year as a class? This was one of the best decisions I have ever made! Keep reading to see how our day was mapped out.
For some reason math was the trickiest component for planning our day until I remembered good 'ol Teachers Pay Teachers! I simply searched "New Year's Color by Number" and sure enough I was able to find exactly what I was looking for! Students had to solve math problems and then color the answers a certain color. By the end, the students had decoded a picture with the current year. There is no doubt in my mind that you can head over to Teachers Pay Teachers and find something just like this activity!
The language arts component to our day was so much fun to plan! I just let my imagination take over and think about what my students would have fun doing. We began by reading the story Squirrel's New Year's Resolution by Pat Miller. Of course, we took time to discuss what resolutions are and why people make them. Once students had a good handle on this, then they would create a party hat out of construction paper. They would have to write a resolution on their hat and decorate it. Students earned points for completing the resolution component because this demonstrated comprehension of the story and our discussion. They had so much fun with this!
Next, we used Anna DiGilio's reading comparison passages, “The History of New Year's Eve.” This was my class' first time completing an activity with two similar articles and diving deep into comparing and contrasting, so we did it together. They were very engaged with the content and I would recommend this purchase to anyone!
After lunch was the climax of our day! We returned to the classroom around 11:35 and began our countdown to our first "Happy Noon Year!" Students had saved their scraps from their party hats they made in the morning, so now they were able to tear these into pieces for confetti. A local restaurant owner, who knew I was a teacher, ended up donating an unopened box of hats, horns, crowns, and beads so our decorations were all set (EVERY YEAR). I projected a giant clock on the board so all eyes could see the countdown. We played some music while we waited and shared our resolutions.
5,4,3,2,1....."Happy Noon Year!" The horns were tooting, the hats were tossing, and the confetti fell like rain. We listened to a New Year's song of other countries on YouTube and ended with The Star Spangled Banner. Oh my goodness did my students enjoy this day! But what's a party without a treat? I brought in Rice Krispy treats and juice boxes as the snack and you would have thought I was giving them prime rib. They joy on their faces this first day back made it worth every minute!
We hope this blog post helps to ease some of those Sunday scaries. Maybe you don't plan a day exactly like this, but try to find something to get excited about. If you can do that, then heading back to school won't seem hard at all. If you are having trouble thinking of something that excites you, then please feel free to reach out to us (@lessonplantoolbox) and we are more than happy to help you think. Cheers to the happiest of the New Year's!
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