It’s ALMOST 2017, y’all! Can you believe it? It’s the year I turn the BIG 4-0! It’s also a time to start fresh, even in the middle of a school year. But how can we teach our students what New Years means…and why it’s exciting and important and inspiring? I hope this post is filled with ideas to help you in your own classroom.
It’s important for younger students (like my firsties) to understand the difference between the calendar year and the school year. Otherwise, it’s sounds crazy to say “We’re celebrating a NEW year” when they’re still in the same grade! Remind students that when they left for Christmas break, it was 2016. But now, it’s 2017! Explain that each year on December 31st at midnight, it becomes a new year, so we just count up one time. Ask them: What year will it be the next year? Do this several times as they count up…. 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021.
Next up, have your students read about the New Year. This can be in the form of a book or a fluency passage. Here are some great books you may want to check out:
- The Night Before New Year’s by Natasha Wing
- P. Bear’s New Year’s Party: A Counting Book by Paul Lewis
- Squirrel’s New Year’s Resolution by Pat Miller
- Shante’ Keys and the New Year’s Peas by Gail Piernas-Davenport
- A New Year’s Reunion: A Chinese Story by Yu Li-Qioing
- Calendar Mysteries: New Year’s Eve Thieves by Ronald Roy
- New Year’s Eve Sleepover at the Black Lagoon by Mike Thaler
- Calendar Club Mysteries: The Case of the New Year’s Eve Nightmare by Nancy Star
- Bringing in the New Year by Grace Li
My class will be using this Fluency Fold-Up™ to read about New Year’s Day. Students will complete a pre-reading activity, read the fluency passage, answer comprehension questions, and respond with writing and drawing.
If you choose to include the Chinese New Year as a part of your New Year’s learning, I love this freebie from the fabulous Erin Waters!
New Year’s is a fabulous time to teach students about reflecting and anticipating. As they reflect on the previous year, encourage them to look at their successes, lessons learned, skills acquired, challenges overcome, and blessings. Have them reflect using my 2016 In One Little Word page:
I hate the idea of stopping the reflections at New Year’s. Why not have students reflect WEEKLY? I simply adore this FREEBIE and blog post by Rebecca at Create Teach Share.
Another fun way to have students reflect is to let them create a tabbed book like this one:
And what fun is learning without a little celebratory craftivity? Students can make a New Year’s party hat to celebrate! Print the hats on white card stock and have students color and cut on the outside edges. Glue or securely tape the tabbed edge. Add elastic cord to the bottom to fit each student. And, Voila! A party hat for the New Year!
Another fun craft is a party whistle. Print the “10 in 2017” page on colorful card stock. Have students list their top 10 goals for the New Year, then roll the paper into a tube shape to represent a party whistle.
Add some tissue paper to the end and students can always remember their goals for the year in a fun and festive way.
Here’s a great tutorial for how to make this!
Speaking of goals, I love teaching students that goals should be SMART– Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. I love, love, love these SMART goal planning pages and this blog post by the 3AM Teacher. Be sure to check them out!
I’ll be using these pages to make my own SMART goals for the New Year! Perhaps you could collaborate with your kiddos and make some whole class SMART goals as well. That would be great for modeling how students can formulate their own SMART goals.
What about incorporating STEM into your classroom New Year’s celebration? I love this party popper featured on Little Bins for Little Hands!
Or maybe….Fireworks in a Jar for your STEM activity? This fun idea comes from I Can Teach my Child!
Do you like my Fluency Fold-Up™, Crafts, One Little Word Pages, and Tabbed Book for the New Year? You can find them on Teachers Pay Teachers by clicking below!
I also have a little FREEBIE for y’all. This one page planner is perfect for YOU or your (older) students! Grab it by clicking the picture below!