January Tips & Tricks

By. Meredith Biesinger 

Happy New Year! In the spirit of resolutions, cleaning, and organization… it’s time to reset your classroom! Believe it or not, the beginning of January up until spring break is usually the best teaching time. Most students are ready to return to school after winter break and eager to return to a routine. It’s a great time to “reset” your classroom!

Here are some tips and tricks for you and your students as you return to school and welcome a new year:

For the Classroom

New Year Around The World: Celebrate the new year and learn about other New Year traditions in different countries. This can be done virtually or in small units throughout the week. Chinese New Year is always a fun topic, and students love to learn about it. 

Make Chinese “Good Wishes” Posters

Supplies needed: 

 * Red construction paper

 * Black paint (liquid)

 * Water

 * Paint Brushes

 * Print simple Chinese characters with positive meanings (can be easily searched on the internet)

 * Glitter – preferably gold (optional, of course; it is glitter, after all). 

Have the students choose a Chinese character. Or, they can write a positive message in English and paint their character or message on the paper.

Once the paint is dry, students will trace over their message with a thin line of school glue. The students or teacher can then sprinkle glitter over the glue.

January Journal: This isn’t an ordinary journal; it’s a “January Journal,” an opportunity to teach different grade levels the art of short-term goal setting. Have your students journal a small goal that they can accomplish each day, and then, on the following day, reflect on how they accomplished this goal. Students will set a new, small goal each day. At the end of the month, they can then reflect on what they’ve accomplished. This boosts morale and self-confidence and teaches them an important life skill while writing. Win, win! Celebrate the small victories with a special treat or whatever works best for you and your class. 

Other FUN Ideas

Silouhette Winter Tree Art: This student-driven winter landscape craft focuses on creative expression! If possible, take a walk outside and look at bare trees. Then, give your students a piece of paper and tape to make a tree design. They can paint all over the paper without touching the parts covered in tape. Students will then take the tape off to reveal their beautiful silhouettes! 

The Classic Snowflake: Cut out snowflakes and discuss how no snowflake is alike. Liken that to your students and talk about each one being unique with special talents and abilities. Hang the snowflakes throughout the classroom, making it a winter wonderland for January! 

Ice Mobile: This winter mobile idea is simple; your students will love it! They will use cut foil to form their own icicles with aluminum foil and fold it into a long cone shape. Then, they can decorate the cone with blue glitter for an icy sparkle! String their creations together and hang them as a winter-themed classroom decoration.

Happy Teacher 

Congratulations! You’re halfway through the school year! Get motivated for the new semester by de-cluttering or re-organizing your classroom. Change up the seating (if you can), add a new plant, or something colorful or festive. Remember to find joy in everyday things like a great cup of coffee. Whatever your goals for his new year, don’t let them go by the wayside—you’re important, too!