Did you hear that? Listen again . . . It sounded like a corporate sigh of relief from teachers everywhere! After a long semester of learning and the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it was like a giant exhale that said “phew . . . I made it!” As the holidays wind down and you start gearing up for the new year and the return to school, let’s focus on kick-starting that learning. These January activities for the upper elementary classroom are perfect for getting back into the groove after the holiday break.
January Morning Message
Why I Love Morning Messages . . .
If I had to give you one word that was foundational to classroom management it would be this: CONSISTENCY! Consistency in expectations, consistency in routines, consistency in procedures. When students know what to expect and what to do they will generally do it. Using a morning message is one of the best ways I’ve found to develop that consistent routine to start each day.
As students walk in each morning, they know right where to look to find out exactly what to do. The morning message is projected on the front board and provides explicit instructions on how the students are to start their class time. This frees the teacher up to focus on other important things like greeting students when they arrive, taking attendance, or talking with a parent.
As a mom, I’ve noticed that when our morning routine at home runs smoothly, we tend to approach the day with order and a positive attitude. But a hectic morning often leads to stress and feelings of rushing that stay with us even after we are out the door. As a teacher, I’ve noticed the same pattern. A consistent morning routine in the classroom lays a foundation for the day ahead.
Quick and Easy January Morning Messages
There are many morning routines you can choose from in the classroom. The key is to do what works for you! My favorite was using a morning message and these BITMOJI Morning Messages are a class favorite.
These January BITMOJI Morning Messages are so easy to use. All of the slides are editable so you can quickly add in your morning note, routine, or morning work task. Each slide also includes a quote and journal topic that can be used for daily writing. Easily change my BITMOJI to yours in just seconds. Step-by-step directions are included!
If you already use a morning message routine then you are probably nodding your head in agreement. If you are not – then January is the perfect month to give it a try!
Reading Activities Your Students Will Love!
January Close Reading Activities
Close Reading is one of the best reading techniques I have found to do focused work on a variety of reading comprehension skills. By using multiple reads, students can focus on different skills that allow them to get a deeper understanding of the text. And over the years I have seen students start using a multiple reading approach on other texts too! It’s a great way to break the habit of “once and done.”
These January themed close reading passages are a great way to engage your students with the current season while working on comprehension skills too. The January passages include topics on:
- New Year’s Resolutions
- Football (the perfect way to celebrate the Super Bowl)
- Martin Luther King Jr.
- Chinese New Year
Through these passages, students will work on skills like finding the main idea, using context clues to determine word meaning, reading for details, and more. They will also end the week with a related writing activity.
You can find all of the January Close Reading activities in the A Love of Teaching store!
Winter Main Idea Practice
Being able to determine the main idea of a text or passage is an important skill that students often struggle with. As teachers, we know that repetition helps students master skills and concepts. But main idea often gets only 1 question per reading passage.
That’s why I created this PRINT & DIGITAL Main Idea & Supporting Details resources. These shorter passages provide focused practice on this one skill. This Winter Main Idea resource includes 20 winter-themed passages in a print and digital version to provide students with lots of practice on this important skill.
Each practice activity contains a short reading passage on a topic related to winter. Students are guided to read and then mark the text evidence with a color that will represent the main idea or supporting detail. Finally, students will use the graphic organizer at the bottom of the page to write out the main idea and supporting details from the passage.
These practice activities are designed to take less time than a traditional reading passage, allowing you more flexibility in when and how to use them.
Kick off the New Year with No Prep!
Let’s face it, for hard-working teachers like you, the holiday break is never quite long enough. Just when you start to unwind it’s time to get started again. I hate the thought of teachers giving up hours and hours of their break time to lesson plan and prepare for school. New Year’s No Prep Skills Review to the rescue!
Let’s face it, most of our students need a little time to get back into the routine, just like we do. The brains get a little foggy with all those visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads. A skills review is a great way to jump-start learning in January.
These no-prep January activities are easy for you and engaging for your students. And with a little review, the students get the brain focused again and ready for all the learning to come.
These no-prep worksheets are great for morning work, centers, a whole class review lesson, or even homework. Use them for the first week back or sprinkle them throughout the entire month.
No Prep Skills Review for MLK Day
Similar to the no-prep skills review pack for January, this no prep resource is built for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day or any time you are teaching about Dr. King. This resource includes a variety of math, reading, and language arts activities focused on Dr. King, the “I Have a Dream” speech, vocabulary related to Dr. King and the civil rights movement.
Here’s just a few of the skills your students will practice with these no-prep activities:
- reading comprehension
- cause and effect
- math vocabulary
- multiplication and division
- sequencing and building a timeline
…and there’s more, too!
Grab these MLK Skills Review Activities and engage your students with this great American hero.
Save these January Activities
Whether you are looking to ease back into the classroom routine or jump right in with both feet – these January activities are a great way to engage your students while working on key skills.
Not quite ready to plan? Just pin this to your favorite classroom Pinterest board so that you can quickly come back when you are.