So many activities to do in January…not enough time. January usually flies by. The students (and teachers) have had a nice break to recharge their brains. January is a fun month to learn about a lot of things, so let’s dive in…
New Year’s Activities
New Year’s activities will most likely be the first thing that you will do with your students when they come back to the classroom. Most teachers have their students write about New Year’s Resolutions, but I liked to ask my students what they wanted to learn to do this year. Do they want to learn to ride a bike? How to ski? How to multiply? Or do they have a challenge they want to do… I want to read x amount of books this year. I want to run this many miles this year. The lists and opportunities are endless. Your students will surprise you with what they come up with.
January is the peak month for winter. There is so much learning around the winter season.
Here are some science ideas:
- It is a great time to learn about animal habitats.
- It is also a good time to talk about winter crops.
- Shadows and how the Earth rotates during this time of year.
- How it is a different climate in different parts of the world.
Here are a few great writing ideas that are centered around winter:
- How to build a snowman
- How to make hot cocoa
- The best strategies for building a snowman
- What a Penguin (polar bear, seals, wolves, moose, elk, and walruses) does during the winter
- What is an Eskimo?
- My favorite winter game (Xgames or Olympics) is…
- My favorite memory of winter is…
- Something that I am looking forward to this year is…
- What it would be like to live in an igloo
- If we have a snow day I will…
- The day and life of the Abominable Snowman
- The day I turned into a snowman
- I am trapped in a snow globe
Another fun game we would play is a paper snowball fight. A student will write their rough draft (don’t forget to put their name on it…lol). Then we have a 1-minute paper snowball fight. When finished, they choose one snowball and do a peer review of the paper. You can do a paper snowball fight with a variety of activities.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day
Martin Luther King Jr. Day falls on the third Monday in January. This is a great time to learn about this great man of our past. Read books to your students and t4each them about the great sacrifices Mr. King made. You may want to take a virtual field trip to these two museums:
- The Lorraine Motel, in Memphis, Tennessee, is where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. It is now the National Civil Rights Museum. Take the tour here.
- Martin Luther King Jr. was born and raised in Atlanta, GA. Every year our 3rd graders took a trip to this National Park. If you are not close enough to visit, here is the website to learn more.
Chinese New Year
In some years, Chinese New Year falls in January. You may want to teach about the history of this holiday. In Chinese culture, people celebrate for 15 days. Do something every day for 15 days to help celebrate this holiday. You may want to contact a local Chinese restaurant to see what they could do to help you out during this time. One year an owner came and talked to my classroom. She handed out fortune coins, chopsticks, and fortune cookies to each of them. She even brought enough fried rice for them to eat as a snack.
100th Day Of School
Sometimes the 100th day falls in January and sometimes in February. Even if it is next month, you may want to start preparing now. You may want to try to find someone who is 100 years old to speak or read a book to your class. You may want to dress up like a 100-year-old. Here are some 100th-day activities that I have done with my students:
- Glue 100 things to this poster board (Skittles, m&ms, pennies, Fruit Loops, cotton balls, etc.)
- Group items by 10s and count by 10s.
- Make a collage with the number 100
- Write about what you would do if you lived to be 100
- Build a structure with 100 popsicle sticks (we did this by groups and had a contest to see who could build it the highest.)
- Make a crown that says they are 100 days smarter.
I wish you a wonderful second half of your school year. If you need any support from me, please feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org