It is a sad morning for teachers and kids alike on that first January day back to school. After the excitement of Christmas and the extra sleep from the break, we have to open our eyes to a dark morning, shiver as we leave our warm beds, and trudge our way to school where we have a long… long January, February, and March ahead of us. The sparkle of snowflakes might blanket us with school closing snow every once in a while, but most of the sparkle in the classroom is going to be up to you. This is a snow-covered mountain of a challenge. I keep my kids moving, and interested in today and tomorrow by introducing my, “Now that the holidays are over, it’s time to celebrate calendar.” There are some seriously silly national celebration days out there, which, besides a smile to the Facebook postings about them, I usually ignore. But now, with the doom and gloom of winter threatening the energy in the eyes of my students, I embrace the ridiculous national days, and welcome them in to the routine of my classroom between winter and spring break. Feast your eyes on the wonders of my January celebrations below:
2- National Motivation and Inspiration Day: On day one of the celebrations, I introduce the idea to my students. Kids are especially dazed and confused on the first day back from winter break. It’s a great day motivate them, and inspire some new learning in our classroom.
3- National chocolate covered cherry day. This was also the day that drinking straws were invented.
4- Trivia day.
7- Old Rock Day: a science teacher favorite – what to do, find a pet rock, look at rock samples, discover fossils, perhaps? Rock it how you like!
8- National Clean off Your Desk Day: Or… clean your lockers, for the older students!
9- Static Electricity Day: Another science teacher’s favorite – get out that balloon and make some students hair stick up!
10- First meeting of the United Nations: Perhaps an international fair day that they prepare for ahead of time? Maybe a day where kids can share some of their own cultural background?
11- Milk Day. Milk it for all it’s worth.
14- Dress Your Pet Day– or the classroom stuffed animal. This is a great day for a pet picture showcase.
15- National Hat Day and humanitarian Day.
16- Nothing Day: I love this day: a national day for relaxing after a busy holiday season. I like to keep the lights low, and play music on nothing day!
17- Kid Inventors Day, in honor of Benjamin Franklin’s birthday. There are many ideas for science classrooms here. WiIl you introduce kids to some kid made inventions like the earmuff or the trampolines, or will you encourage students to make their own inventions? This is a STEM/makerspace dream day!
18- Lewis and Clark Bicentennial: Perhaps a chance to stray from the usual history curriculum to discover trade, exploration, the west or expansion?
21- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day– and National Hug Day: the possibilities are endless as we all celebrate this day.
22- Blonde brownie Day and Celebrate Life Day.
23- Handwriting Day, Measure Your Feet Day, Belly Laugh Day: An EASY combination, as the kids will belly laugh as they measure one another’s’ feet and then write about it!
24- Compliment Day: A great way to encourage each student in your class! Have them write down something nice about each student and give the compliments to each other.
25- Opposite Day.
28- National Kazoo Day: Kazoos can be made with paper towel or toilet paper rolls! It will be music to your ears!
29- Puzzle Day.
30- Plan a Vacation Day: If they could go anywhere in the world, where would it be? Have them draw a picture! Where is the best place that they have ever been? Another great opportunity for a share and tell.
31- “Inspire your heart with art” and National Backwards Day: If you tell the kids ahead of time, they can come in with their shirts backwards! Lots of giggles for this last day in January!
Jessica Cicalese-Kurtz, MA in k-12 Teaching and Technology, BA in k-8 Education, BS in Biology, Science and Engineering. Jessica is a middle school teacher at Toms River Schools, K-8 Science curriculum writer for Toms River Schools and Ocean County, an independent Science workshop creator and presenter, freelance writer.