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Back from Break: New Year’s Lesson Ideas for Students

The sign winter break is coming to a close is always the countdown to the New Year.  When students and teachers head back to school after break, they are refreshed, excited, and ready to take on new academic challenges.  Starting off the New Year on the right foot is very similar to the first day of school all over again.  Take this renewed interest to reacquaint students to classroom rules and expectations along with taking the time to share experiences of winter break.  This will help your classroom and students to be successful for the New Year.

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Writing Activities for the New Year

Creative writing and writing prompts are a great way to start of the New Year for your classes.  Getting students back into the academic mindset can be difficult, but if you tailor the assignments to include reflections of the past year or break time activities, and also looking toward the next year and their future, students can really be engaged in the writing process while gaining their academic bearings.   The Teacher’s Corner has many New Year’s writing activities along with links to other websites that have other activities and lesson ideas.  To encourage journal writing they have a link to a printables page with lined paper with a New Year’s theme.  This creative paper can encourage students to write.  Many different lessons can be based on using this paper like making a New Year’s resolution or a list of accomplishments they would like to achieve over the next year.  These can then be shared with the class.  Sharing these goals helps to make individuals accountable for reaching for their goals.

The History of New Year’s

Another great back to school activity for the New Year is for the students to learn about the history of New Year’s.  The History Channel has many videos about the history and traditions of the New Year’s celebrations.  Students could also learn about how different cultures and countries celebrate the incoming of the New Year.   Education World has a great article for teachers to get ideas about what to teach students when learning about the variety of calendars and how different cultures celebrate the New Year on different dates.  A great tie-in would be to present the materials to the students and then they would create their own calendar based on their findings and opinions.

Art & New Year’s

Of course, you can’t teach about New Year’s without incorporating at least one art related activity.  However, these activities don’t have to be meaningless add-ons or just for fun.  Tying in art activities with core curriculum concepts is easy.  For example, if you have students create their own calendar based on learning about other cultures and how and when they celebrate New Year’s, students can become artists when labeling the dates or creating the top part of a calendar.  Here is a great template to use for this activity from About.com

Students can also learn to sing “Auld Lange Syne.”  During this lesson, students can also learn about the history of the song and its importance to English speaking cultures.   Another great site to review for material is Wilstar.  This site has the history and academic connections for many of the major holidays.

For an “overall resource” Suite101 offers a page about activities for students when they return from winter break.  This site includes writing prompts, math ideas, and review games for students to get back into the academic swing. 

Article By Laura Ketcham

Picture By Pink Sherbet Photography

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