The New Year is one of the best times of year in the upper elementary classroom! It is a time of focus, redirection, and the perfect opportunity to reflect and set new goals. Celebrating the New Year with students with fun yet educational activities will set the tone for a fantastic second school semester. As the winter break winds down for teachers, our thoughts shift back to lesson plans and curriculum. Luckily, there are no-prep New Year activities for upper elementary that are ready to go! With these fantastic New Year activities at your fingertips, you can sit back and enjoy the last few days of your winter break.
Celebrating New Year’s in the Classroom
Something is exciting and freeing about a new year. It symbolizes a new beginning and a chance to start over with a clean slate. Reminding students that their year can start fresh, too, can be very powerful. Thankfully, a simple New Year celebration in the classroom is the perfect way to welcome students back and set new goals and resolutions.
In upper elementary, there are so many options for ready-to-go activities that are simple yet engaging. Specifically, there are fun ways for students to set New Year’s resolutions, New Year-themed math and reading skills reviews, and exciting reading passages about the old tradition of setting goals. Best of all, these activities are print-and-go!
New Year Goal Setting Activity
Teachers love creating meaningful lessons that impact students’ lives. What better way to do this than with One Word New Year Resolutions! Even as adults, we set resolutions and then find them hard to manage. With this simple one-word goal-setting project, students can identify their one word for the new year that they can actually live by!
Honestly, setting goals is a skill that can help you succeed in all areas of life. Students will love the planning and goal-setting phase of this meaningful activity. Specifically, students will reflect on their year, plan and set goals, discuss and share their goals with classmates, and then create a fun one-word art project to illustrate their goals. Also, the art project makes a fantastic January bulletin board and a visual reminder of student goals.
Teachers will be able to support students through their journey with a complete lesson guide with teacher notes. This makes it super easy to have ready for the first day back after the break. Truly, the One Word New Year Resolutions will help motivate and inspire students over the next 365 days!
New Year’s Reading Activities
Getting students back on track with reading after a long holiday break is challenging. Even though students are eager to return to school to see their classmates and teachers, they are not always excited about jumping back into classroom lessons. Luckily, there are New Year’s Reading Comprehension Passages with texts to excite upper elementary students about reading again!
The new year-themed passage will captivate students’ interest as they learn all about the old tradition of setting goals. The reading activities with the passages follow a close reading model and will help re-introduce your students to the close reading skills they learned before the break.
Specifically, students will practice making logical inferences, citing textual evidence, and drawing conclusions from the text. The close reading model will also teach students how to annotate texts. Students often struggle with nonfiction texts. However, this fun New Year’s reading passage has two different leveled versions. This makes it easy to differentiate.
Honestly, this week-long lesson full of January worksheets for upper elementary will have your students back on track with reading in no time!
New Year Skills Review Pack
The holiday break for students is usually full of days of busy festivities along with days of rest and relaxation. Coming back to school and jumping back into a routine can be difficult. Thankfully, this New Year’s Skills Review Pack is full of math and reading activities to help students get back into the swing of things.
Reviewing math skills is always a necessity when students return from break. This no-prep skills review is packed with fun New Year-themed math activities. Students will enjoy working on foundational math skills like multiplication, division, telling time, and word problems with festive New Year’s graphics.
Multiplication is a key skill in this packet. Students will work on identifying multiplication properties, breaking down problems into smaller parts, word problems, and input-output tables. Students will also work on division and dividing three and 4-digit numbers by a single number.
A student favorite is the multiplication and division color-by-number activity and the time-telling review to wrap up the math portion of your New Year’s celebration!
With some reading practice, students will be right back to the skill level they were at before the break. There are so many options for print-and-go reading activities in this packet. Students love reading about Lucky Foods as they work on identifying the main idea and supporting details.
You can also mix it up with a kinesthetic cut-and-paste activity! This fun activity requires students to match the literature genres to the correct descriptions. This also makes a great partner or group activity!
Reading teachers know the importance of practicing reading various charts and diagrams. Luckily, there is a fun Chinese New Year’s zodiac diagram for students to practice finding information!
New Year’s Science and Social Studies Activities
Incorporating no-prep resources is a stress-free way to check off your lesson plans before returning from break. The best part is there are so many math and reading New Year activities for upper elementary. You can make the whole week a celebration!
However, don’t forget about science and social studies. Teachers understand how important cross-curricular lessons are for students. This quick list of New Year’s activities is not only unique but also really fun!
Science and Social Studies Skills
#1 Facts About New Year’s Day – Your students will love learning facts about New Year’s Day from this article from CBC Kids. Students will learn all about the history of the calendar, the New Year’s holiday, and how people celebrate it around the world.
#2 Bet You Didn’t Know: New Year’s Video – This short video from the History Channel perfectly breaks down New Year’s history for upper elementary students.
#3 About the New Year’s Eve Ball – Times Square has its own website with an excellent history of the Times Square Ball Drop! It includes a video, facts about the ball, and a pictorial history of the tradition.
#4 World Clock and Time Zones – Teach your students about the World Clock and how time zones work! You can even create your own World Clock display by having each student choose a different country from around the world.
#5 How Fireworks are Made – Discover the science behind fireworks with this great article from Wonderopolis. It even includes an activity and a quiz! Don’t forget to scroll down and watch this video of the World’s Record for the largest aerial fireworks!
Honestly, no matter which subject you are teaching, New Year’s is such an engaging topic to explore with your students. The most important thing is to show students how much you care about helping them reach their goals and succeed. Each of the fun resources shared above will help your students practice essential skills, set goals, master new skills, and learn all about a fun holiday!
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Save these Resources!
Make sure to save this blog to your favorite holiday activities board on Pinterest! You will be able to come back to these New Year activities for upper elementary when you are ready to ring in the New Year with your students.