Starting a New Year in the Classroom {Plus a Freebie!}

2021 is drawing to a close and a new year is (finally) around the corner!

A New Year in the classroom brings a new semester, the joy of looking back at how far my students have come this year, and the excitement of moving forward. It feels a bit like a fresh start without all of the back-to-school jitters!

Easing back into a routine

For the first few days back to school, I like to ease my students back into the school routine with activities that make them feel successful and motivated to learn more. I do this by using review activities that cover skills we started learning toward the beginning of the school year, such as letter sounds and counting.

As we all know, sticking to a routine is helpful for us and our students. You likely spent a lot of time practicing your routine at the beginning of the year, but remember that your students might need a little practice and a few reminders when they return from break.

For example, if you start your mornings with morning tubs, have those ready to go in January because your students will be expecting them. Not only are tubs a part of your students’ routine, but they also review skills and provide the motivational factor you’ll need!

Talk about break

Your students might be bursting to talk about their break, so be sure to set aside some time to do that! You could do a writing activity or a journal entry along with it or just talk as a class during morning meeting.

I try to divert from conversations about toys and gifts as much as possible, even though it’s tricky! I like to focus on topics such as people they spent time with, something they created, etc.

Share about what you did on break as well! It can be a great way to relate to your students.

Use thematic activities for added classroom fun

With all of the holidays in November and December, thematic activities are easy to come by. Here are a few quick themes and ideas for January:

New Year: Celebrate the fun a new year brings with this fine motor pack! The activities an easy addition to morning tubs or any other center.

I like to use the page shown below as a way to welcome my students back in January. It’s a simple and hands-on activity that doesn’t take much prep!

Penguins: Talking about penguins is another fun theme for January! I love using some of these fine motor activities in my learning centers.

Snow: Even if you don’t get snow where you live, the topic of snow can still be fun! For example, who wouldn’t love “building” a snowman by clipping their hats on in this fun fine motor activity?!

Ease yourself back into the routine, too!

I know that going back to school (especially *this* year) can come with a lot of mixed feelings. My best advice is to team up with other grade level teachers for planning and support.

I love to share things that make my own life easier, so here’s a quick New Year-themed printables pack for you to download and use for free! I hope it makes your life a tiny bit easier. Just sign up below and the pack will be sent to your inbox.

Have a great week!

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