Happy New Year, my Co-Teacher! As we get ready to head back into the classroom, here are some fun New Year classroom activities you can do with your upper elementary students.
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1. Learn about the Different New Year Traditions
New Year traditions from around the world are one of the most interesting things to share with your students. It not only educates students on the differences and similarities between cultures, but it also opens up the door to having them share their own traditions.
A video I like to share with my students is from Brainpop and is titled New Year's. It goes over several New Year traditions from around the world.
You can also search New Year's Tradition Videos for Kids to find more available on YouTube.
2. Share New Year Tradition
Give students the opportunity to write about their family's own New Year traditions and share it with the class. This helps build community by allowing students to learn more about their classmates.
(Click on the image below to download the free template)
3. Research Times Square Ball Drop Tradition
Speaking of traditions, one of the most recognized New Year traditions in the United States is the ball drop in Times Square.
Having students do some research on The Times Square Ball Drop is a great way to get students to use their research skills while applying reading standards. Students will learn about the progress of how this tradition started when New York banned the New Year's Fireworks Display and ended up becoming a permanent fixture that can now be seen year round.
Making the research timeline into a craft using pipe cleaners and beads is sure to also engage them and make them "Oh and Aw" as they are able to "drop the ball" themselves. It is also a great lead in activity into having your own classroom "New Year" countdown.
4. Countdown Party in Classroom
Students absolutely LOVE counting down to the New Year. Put up a few streamers and provide students with party hats and noise makers. Then, play a countdown video for them. Countdown to the New Year at the end of the day and celebrate!
5. Resolutions and Plans
One of the most important things you can have your students do is to reflect on the first half of the school year and reflect on what their "glows and grows" have been. What have they persevered in and what are they still struggling with? Then, have them come up with new goals to meet and create a plan on how they plan to reach them.
You can read a more in Activities for the First Day Back from Winter Break.