Hi everyone! Happy 2019! I hope you have all been enjoying a restful and relaxing winter break filled with long naps on the couch and using the bathroom anytime you want to. Winter break is such an amazing time to have fun with friends and family and recharge your teacher battery. But, it also means that the rush to return to school always feels like the longest most Sundayest of Sunday nights, even if it’s on a Wednesday.
We all know that the first day back after winter break can be stressful in its own way, believe it or not, both for teachers and students. As teachers, we want our students to be able to dive right back into the routines of our classroom without missing a beat and we get frustrated that without a doubt that won’t be the case for everyone. As students, it can be very challenging to get back into the school routine and schedule.
This is why it’s so important to plan and prepare a meaningful but simple activity to start the new year in the classroom! This will ensure that students are able to ease back into the classroom setting by participating in an activity that gets them ready and excited for the months ahead.
Set the Stage
Before starting your New Year’s activities, set the stage by passing out New Years party hats, noise makers, and confetti. Get them excited for the activity ahead! You could show them a video of the ball drop on your SMART board or discuss what they did with family and friends to celebrate ringing in the new year together.
Create a New Year Bucket List
We all know that when the clock strikes midnight on New Years Eve, the resolutions start to roll in. But, I have found that resolutions can be a more difficult concept for students to grasp and also has them focusing on things they aren’t doing particularly well rather then what they are already doing well both at home and in school. That’s why I want my students to focus on things they WANT to accomplish or HOPE to accomplish in the next year.
A fun way I thought about accomplishing this was instead of having my students brainstorm their resolutions, I wanted them to come up with a bucket list of things they want to accomplish in the next year. By doing this exercise, my hope is that my students will focus on things they are excited about learning in school and trying at home rather then get down on themselves for things they haven’t yet accomplished.
Brainstorm Your Bucket List
Before introducing the craft and writing activity to my students, I want to engage them in a conversation about what a bucket list is and share some examples of my own bucket list items. I want to make it clear to them that a bucket list can have some items that encourage you to dream big but for the most part have realistic goals that you can truly achieve. I might share that on my 2019 Bucket List I want to:
- create an activity each month for them to complete
- read 10 books
- teach my daughter the ABCs
- take a trip with my family
- run in a race
- get better at using Google Slides