Saturday, January 3, 2015

Back to School in a Few Days

Friends, I love my job. You KNOW I do. But truthfully, I love vacation more. There. I admitted it. I almost feel guilty saying that!

And while I'm speaking shocking truths... I'd really rather not go back on Monday. Of course, I would never let my students know that. I ask them all the time if they can come to school on the weekends or stay later... and they think that I LIVE to be with them. And that's exactly what I want them to think. ;)

So back to school we go! I don't want to have a depressing, exhausting day or week. Yes, it will be hard to wake up early. For a second, I will wish that I could stay in bed. But I'm determined to make it a great day! And so, on Monday morning, when I see my little cherubs for the first time in two-and-a-half weeks, I will shower them with love, celebrate the fact that we're back together, and let them know how much I missed them!

And we will celebrate the New Year! Big. Time.

Every year on the first day back, I host a New Year's Party! I already hit all the party stores for clearance Happy New Year hats, noisemakers, glow bracelets, streamers, and tiny bubbles!

Before students arrive, I decorate with streamers and then I greet each student at the door with a party hat and a glow bracelet!

I begin the day with a discussion of how people celebrate the New Year. We talk about the ball in Times Square, fireworks, parties, fancy foods, noisemaking at midnight, confetti, banging on pots and pans, poppers, streamers, and more. Students share the ways that their families celebrated, and we talk about why the New Year is cause for celebration.

I pass out  noisemakers and bubbles. I warn students that if they blow their horns at inappropriate times, that they will lose them (I take them away for the day, but they still get to take them home. Parents love me! Haha!) and then we practice. I tell students that when someone says, "Happy New Year!" the appropriate response is to return the sentiment. And I tell them that every time they hear me say, "Happy New Year!" they can say it back and then blow their horns. We practice a few times, and then I instruct students to place their horns on their name tags.

Similarly, I tell the students, "Celebrate 2015!" and that is their cue to blow bubbles.

At random times throughout the day, I say "Happy New Year!" and students respond with greetings and horn-blowing. Imagine... they will be working quietly, and I'll just say it. And say it again. And anytime someone walks into the room, I will say it again. I'll crack myself up saying it over and over and listening to those squawks! Middle of writing workshop? Happy New Year! While they're working on math problems? Happy New Year!

Truth? I do this for ME. It is a ton of fun! Oh, sure, the children LOVE it! But it makes a day that I sometimes dread just a little bit into a fabulously fun, celebratory, and joyful occasion!

We read all the New Years themed books that I have, talk about and write resolutions, and make some reading goals for the year. All my math and reading and word work activities for the first week are New Year's Party themed, and it's a great transition back to reality.

Want to join in the fun? Here are some completely fun and educational activities for the New Year, including goal-setting, comparing old and new, responding to literature, a survey, graphing, planning activities for 2015, Venn diagram, addition bump, Math Around the Room (like math task cards) for kindergarten and first grade, count and graph and roll and color activities... and more... plenty to keep you in celebration mode for a while! Get it HERE or click on the picture!

And another favorite for 2015: This emergent reader! It's perfect for kindergarten through second grade! Click HERE  or on the picture below for more information.

See? You're going to love going back on Monday, and so will I! Happy New Year and Happy Celebrating!

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