Saturday, January 12, 2013

Happy New Year!

2013? Are you even kidding? Remember all the worry over switching from 1999 to 2000, and the millions and trillions of ways that our lives could potentially be ruined? The predictions of mass hysteria? Well, I can barely remember that, because it was 13 years ago!! Crazy! Time is flying by. On New Year's Eve 1999, my oldest child was nine, and I had a sweet, little baby. Now? Well, you can do the math.

Each year on New Year's Eve, our family celebrates with some good friends... four adults, seven kids (or not so much kids, see above!), too much food, noisemakers, poppers, more food, streamers, hats, noise, and some more food. It is always a complete blast and we all look forward to it every year. Kids play games, watch movies, play video games,  eat, chase each other (I know, they're barely kids--but there are boys involved), eat, bake cookies... and the adults play cards. Good times.

So I was thinking about my class and the NEW YEAR. I teach at an inner city school. My families are struggling economically and emotionally. Life is hard, and the kids know it. I didn't know if any of them had celebrated the NEW YEAR or not, so I decided we would celebrate at school!

I am ridiculous. There, I said it. The day before the students came back, I put a hat and noisemaker on each child's desk. See? Ridiculous! Capital R! Bold print!

I met the students outside of the classroom, and told them that there was something special on their desks, but that if they touched it, they lost it. I was serious. And they knew it. When they were all sitting at their desks, I told them  that we'd be celebrating the new year all day. And it went like this...

Me: Put your hat on! (cheers, ooohs, aaaahs!)

Me: And whenever I wish you a Happy New Year, you can wish one back to me and blow your horn! Let's try... Happy New Year!

Students: Happy New Year! (lots of horn blowing!)

I taught them to blow ONE time and then put the horn back on their name tag. And then, here's the ridiculous part. At random times throughout the day, I'd just say, "Happy New Year!" and they would respond appropriately and then put the horns back on the name tags again. Every time someone came into the room, I did it again. Every time the mood struck me, I did it again.  Each time I did, the students said, "Happy New Year" and blew their horns and then went right back to their work. They wore their party hats to recess and lunch. And when they came back to the classroom, I said, "Happy New Year!" It was beyond adorable! I cracked myself up all day!

I took videos, too, and I wish I could show you. But I can't figure out how to edit their little faces for privacy. It is cuter than anything you've ever seen!

I did have to take away two horns that were blown at inappropriate times. But I gave them back at the end of the day. My little darlings were so thrilled to take home their hats and noisemakers. OMG. Fabulous, fun day! What a way to start 2013!

But the real reason for this post (finally! phew!) I made a little book for students to color and read, and I also created a "Happy New Year" unit with lots of math and language activities for primary students. It's not too late... it's still the new year!

The Unit:

And the little book:

Happy New Year, again! Hope you've had a great start to 2013!

1 comment:

  1. That's awesome! I want to be in your class!!! I'm sure you made their New Year :) I just hopped to your blog randomly. Keep up the great work!

    Pinkadots Elementary