Warming Up to Winter (Even MORE Ideas for January)
I know some of you are already dreaming of your perfect Christmas….or at least counting down the days, hours, minutes, and seconds until you are on break, right? Don’t forget to get some last minute things ready so you aren’t scrambling when January arrives. Here are some of my favorite January resources and a few new alternatives I have found, too. I hope you can find something great!
Most people are familiar with making snowflakes during January, but I love to add a pop of color to the tradition and create a rainbow blizzard. You will need coffee filters, food coloring, scissors, water (optional), gloves (optional), and drying space. Students fold and cut the coffee filters. While still folded, drop food coloring around the snowflake, making sure to get both sides and sometimes pressing down on the flake so it goes through the center sections (hence the reason for the gloves). You can also spray some water to help. I will tell you that limiting the kids to 2 colors really helps to get the WOW effect. Oh, and since coffee filters are so cheap, I often let the kids make 2 snowflakes so they can experiment with different colors.
Second graders and torn paper are not always best friends. Some get along great and others can’t seem to get along with the idea of imperfect edges. It’s still a fun project, though! One of the best management tips I can give for this one is when you are ready to begin, give your students a small Ziploc baggie to hold the torn pieces. This way, the project can be pulled out for unfinished work throughout the day with little to no mess.
If you’re looking for something just a little different, here are some great options:
Here are two crafts you can make (both free). Courtesy of Amy Lemons & Funky Fresh Firsties. Click on the images to grab them.
I found these quick & easy slips that students could add to their artwork to provide handwriting lines & encourage neatness (courtesy of Jen Must).
Just now I found this gem from Coconut Cuties. It has a snowman craft, a bulletin board header, and writing papers. WIN!!
Then we brainstorm and come up with ideas of our own which I type up on labels:
This year I came across this post from The Picture Book Teacher. You can bet I’ll use this!
I also noticed that Jivey did a mentor sentences pack for this book:
This pack has some pages you can use for pre-writing and summarizing, as well as a template to add to the base of a snow globe. Thank you Anita Bremer!
Finally, I know you’ve seen some people use clear plastic bowls to create a snow globe, right? I just found this freebie where the kids make a cute little storybook using the bowl inside! The kids would LOVE to make these books (made by ProjectGals).
Another fun topic in January is penguins. I already mentioned one penguin chapter book in the last post, but here’s another activity I use:
This one started with a picture book:
I typed it up into a poem which we glued into our composition books. We highlighted rhyming words and used the poem to practice fluency. On a different day we did a directed penguin drawing.
Do you want to create some cute penguins, but not put yourself through the torture task of a directed drawing lesson? Check out this penguin craft from Brinca into Bilingual Mrs Nicolau:
One of my favorite science units is introducing students to scientific experiments. This is a very high interest unit that I begin in January. I found this amazing pack on TpT from Kristen Smith. It’s filled with a lot of great ideas for experiments where students can make predictions.
You can read more about her unit here (and other science units, too):
I know there are so many more things you could be teaching, but this covers all of the big topics I teach in January (with the exception of MLK, Jr. – he deserves a post all on his own). Enjoy your holiday break – YOU HAVE EARNED IT!!!!