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New Years Activities

The day after winter break I always head back to school and celebrate New Years with my students. A few years back I visited a Walgreens or Target the day after New Years Eve and picked up a bunch of hats, noisemakers, napkins, confetti and plastic glasses. I have all of this ready on the student’s desk when they enter in the morning. We wear our hats and toot our horns and crank our noisemakers throughout the day and offer New Year Wishes to everyone! It is an exciting way to return from the break and is it is a terrific way to introduce the special holiday we will be completing activities about for the rest of the week.

Poem: The New Year
On the first day back, I use this poem to inspire the activities for the day. This poem is a wonderful way to get students to discuss what they did for New Years Eve. After reading the poem, I explain how we are going to ring in the New Year here at Metz today with party hats and noisemakers to wish everyone a great 2009! At the end of the day we will even make toasts and read some of our own New Year Resolutions!

The New Year

A brand new year arrived last night;
It came while I was waiting.
But I did not hear the horns or shouts
Of people celebrating.
Because, you see, I fell asleep
Before the hour when
The old year silently passed out
And the new year entered in.
But I have a clean new calendar.
Which hangs before my eyes
and every day that's listed
Will hold a new surprise.

Writing a New Year’s Resolution
• What is a resolution? a firm decision to do or not to do something; intention, resolve, decision, intent, aim, plan; commitment, pledge, promise. You could also use the Frayer Model to explain the definition of a resolution.
• Why do people make New Year’s Resolutions? To get a fresh start, whole new year ahead of them, time to look back and see what you would like to change or do differently.

Have students write their own New Years Resolution; you can use a “winter scene” lined activity sheet for final draft.

Have students make a snowman and cut out snowflakes for a display titled “Cool Resolutions”. I like to use coffee filters to cut snowflakes out; they are cheap, the kids can make several, which is great fun for them, and they are soft and gossamer looking.

To inspire creative snowmen making I will read one or more of the following books:
Snowmen at Night by Caralyn Buehner

The Biggest, Best Snowman by Margery Cuyler

Snowballs by Lois Ehlert

The Black Snowman by Phil Mendez

The Snowman by Raymond Briggs (this has a beautiful video as well!)

Then let the students create their own snowman and snow woman!
• Trace and cut two white circles of papers (use small paper plates and lids for tracing, which can easily be passed around)
• Use black square shape of paper to draw and cut out your own shaped hat
• Use an orange rectangle shape of paper to cut out your own shaped nose
• Choose a fabric piece to make your own scarf
• Add wiggle eyes and buttons from a tub of scrap buttons with glue.

Certainly there are more ways to make artistic snowmen so please feel free to share any other cute ideas you might have. I like this art activity because every student’s snowmen come out so unique. I will be sure to post a few photos of ours later this week!

Poem: That After Holiday Feeling
I use this poem the second day we are back at school to discuss some of the following questions:
• Did you feel like this yesterday?
• Did you feel ready to come back to school, or are you feeling lazy?
• How did the big build up to the holidays make you feel and how do you feel now?
• Do you think everything is back to normal?
• Are you relieved? Sad? Exhausted? Rested?
• What are the next holidays coming up that we will celebrate?
• Are there some rules or lessons we should go over incase you forgot them?

That After Holiday Feeling

It's after the holidays and were back in school.
I'm feeling a little lazy
All the math and reading I've learned is just a little hazy.
The spelling words I thought I knew, somehow I can't remember.
It seems so very long ago, since we had them in December.

Writing Top 10 Lists
Spend the week celebrating the New Year by writing “Top 10 Lists”. You can do this individually, in small group or as a class. I like to do some of each! You can display with the title “Check out what was great about 2008!”

Here are some “Top 10 Lists” ideas: movies, toys, songs, teachers, lunches at the school, cartoons, pets, colors, sports, places to have a birthday party, candies, subjects learned about, board games, words, books we read etc.

After practicing and contributing to “Top 10” lists all week, I like for students to complete their own "Top 10 List of Cool Things About Me!”

Technology links you might be interested in!
• Website Links Galore to ALL Holidays from Kathi Mitchell!
• Through the Year: Holidays and Celebrations
New Years: PBS Kids Scrapbook

Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right. ~Oprah Winfrey


Here are some final photos from 2008!

Us_2
Waiting for our turn on stage for the big holiday show!

Joaquin
Who knew Santa could be so cute!

Melanie_jason_missia
Who has been naughty and who has been nice?

Andrew
He was still holding on to his hopes of the Longhorns being ranked #1!

Monique_2
A star is waiting very patiently to take her spot in the limelight!

Dance_1
Rocking it out to our Kwanzaa song!

Dance_2
It is so funny and cute how shy some of them get on stage!

Dance_3
This shot just about says it all!

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in Inside Jennifer's 1st Grade Classroom are strictly those of the author and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Scholastic, Inc.