I think most of us know that January is the PERFECT opportunity to re-train behaviors and routines. After all, it seems that anytime students have more than 3-4 school days off, they fall into their old habits. They also need to build some stamina again, which means they need a few more small breaks. It seems fitting to incorporate a quick brain break. I know many of you use videos and other tech sites for yours, but sometimes technology isn't working correctly. I made these a few years ago, but just recently gave the cover a little face lift (content intact):
Now, as adults we often set goals (aka resolutions) that we have great intentions of keeping, but seem to let fall by the wayside (and by wayside I mean we're over it by February). Either way, let's get some momentum and excitement in the classroom with a little student goal setting. Here's a quick and easy way to share resolutions with your students:
There are two versions of both images you see above. The one on the left lends itself to younger students who may draw and label their resolutions, but I have also included one with lines for students who want to write out their resolution. On the right, you can see a writing page with primary writing lines. I have also included a set with standard lines. Click here to grab this pack.
One of our BIGGEST units of study we begin in January is nonfiction. My absolute favorite resource for this unit was created by Hope King:
We start with an anchor chart where we sort the different features of fiction and nonfiction text:
Then we start to study each nonfiction text feature up close and add them to our anchor chart along the way. The photos along the side of the chart are the visual "photos" we glue into our scrapbooks so the students see a connection and reminder each time they refer to our anchor chart.
Here are a few pics of our scrapbook pages from Hope's pack. Normally I photocopy the scrapbook pages onto colored paper (as seen on the chart above), but when we need to highlight a feature, I copy on white and we use yellow crayon to draw our focus:
After we have learned several text features, my students LOVE to go on scavenger hunts, find examples, and share with the class (we use Time for Kids):
You can read more in depth about how I teach nonfiction in the classroom by clicking here.
Here are some of my favorite chapter books to read with students in small groups during the winter months. These are all fiction, but most of them have factual information tossed into the story which helps us tie the books into our nonfiction unit.
Most of the titles are self-explanatory for the content. I should mention that Sunset of the Sabertooth focuses on the ice age and Horrible Harry Goes Cuckoo is a great story about when the class goes stir crazy due to indoor recess. Note - if you can't relate to indoor recess and all the craziness that follows, count your blessings!
January can also be great timing for studying Geometry. When our district used Everyday Math, the topic always seemed to pop up in the winter. I used this with my students. It has a sorting activity, posters, and several options for practice pages, too:
Keeping in the spirit of Geometry, this pack has some great 2-D and 3-D shape booklets that my kids loved making. It really helped them solidify the vocabulary for sides vs. edges, corners vs. vertices, etc.
These are my FAVORITE 3-D shapes. It was a box I inherited and I hope it still has my name on it when I return next fall:
I also use activities from this pack for both math and literacy that the kids enjoy. The pics only show a few of the activities included, but if you click on the cover page you can take a more in-depth look at what's included:
Click here to grab your own copy.
There's SO much more that I cannot fit it all in one post without overwhelming you beyond belief. I'll be back soon with some more great resources, ideas, & freebies, of course! Oh, and if you liked any of the resources from my store mentioned above, you'll be happy to know that I'll keep them on sale for the next week. Stay warm!