Daily Celebration Calendar for January 2024.

Christmas bells will be replaced with alarm bells come January 2nd this year. From the most wonderful time of the year to what can feel like the slowest, bleakest time of the year.  After the excitement of Thanksgiving and the December holidays, we will soon 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 awaiting us. Now, there is always hope for the sparkle of snowflakes blanketing our homes and schools offering a surprise snow day break.  But most days the sparkle in the classroom is going to come from us teachers.

This is a snow-covered mountain of a challenge. I keep my kids moving, and interested in today and tomorrow by introducing what I call my “January Jollies” calendar.  There are some seriously silly national celebration days out there, which, other than a smile to the social media 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 into the routine of my classroom between winter and spring break.  Feast your eyes on the wonders of my 2024 “January Jollies” celebrations below, and give them a try in your classroom.

January 2024 

2- I know we are not back in school yet- but this is National Buffet Day– so go out and EAT! Indulging is part of our holiday traditions and we aren’t back to work yet- so go out and celebrate this one before you get back to work tomorrow… after all… you didn’t want to cook dinner anyway!

3- January 3 offers so many delights to pick from: National Chocolate Covered Cherry Day may be a good way to get rid of those candy boxes you’ve collected over the holiday!  Want some fun-it’s National Fruitcake Toss Day! This sounds like an exciting engineering challenge to me. Student groups can create devices to see how far they can toss the fruitcake! Want to get right into the serious? National Write to Congress Day offers an opportunity for the kids to consider what they would tell their representatives in the legislature. Many read-along choices exist if you want a relaxing day celebrating J.R.R Tolkien Day. Or- get the kids back into the swing of things with some Women Rock Day festivities. Don’t forget: after this LONG first day back, it is the National Festival of Sleep Day. That gives us a great excuse to take a much-needed nap!

4- I love state celebrations because it gives me a reason to throw a little social studies into my science classroom.  Today you can celebrate National Missouri Day by showing it on a map and having the kids research their state flag, animal, bird, flower, and motto/nickname. It is also National Trivia Day, so make sure to include a curriculum-based (or just for fun) trivia game. Dinner at home tonight can be an easy one because it’s National Spaghetti Day.

5- National Bird Day: Although it may be cold, see if the weather allows a short, quiet walk to observe the school yard birds. Alternatively, the class can make bird feeders to take home or hang outside a classroom window making for easy (and warmer) observations even after National Bird Day. Call a state park or the local Audubon Society because they may be able to send a speaker or bring some bird friends to your classroom. Want something more fun? It’s also National Whipped Cream Day!

6- National Cuddle Up Day: it’s cold outside and a nice time of year for a blanket or stuffed animal snuggle! Bring the stuffed animals in for today’s class! Maybe include a cookie for snack time today- because it’s also National Shortbread Day. The older kids will love to hear that it’s National Technology Day- so include something high-tech (or just fun!) in your plans.  Since it’s National Take Down the Christmas Tree Day – you know what you’re doing after work today!

7- Old Rock Day: This is a science teacher’s favorite! Students can find a pet rock, look at rock samples, or discover fossils on a virtual search perhaps? Since this falls on the weekend, I plan on asking students to find a rock around their yard or neighborhood and bring it on Monday for a rock investigation.

8- National Clean Off Your Desk Day:  Or… the student equivalent…clean their lockers (for the older students). We could all use this one! This is the perfect way to start the week, especially for a Monday!

9- National Static Electricity Day: Any cold, dry winter day can easily produce static electricity, and today we will take the time to make it happen on purpose as well as talk about how and why it forms. Later on in the day, we will write thank you letters to our local police department in honor of National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day.

10- National Save the Eagles Day: Today students will be greeted with live eagle cams (if none are active- you can use videos). New Jersey has an interesting history with DDT affecting large birds like our eagles and ospreys, and we will take the time to learn a little about the history and changes in our Eagle populations. This topic will already have us chatting about environmental issues, leading the way for our classroom to consider and practice how we can use less energy in our school for National Cut Your Energy Costs Day.

11- National Milk Day: Let’s share a glass of milk, or perhaps virtually visit a dairy farm? National Arkansas Day allows us to study another state that the students are probably not too familiar with- and they have cows so it’s an easy segue. If you want to challenge yourself along with the kids, you could teach the basics of Morse code for Learn Your Name in Morse Code Day.

12- National Pharmacist Day: In the post-pandemic world, medicines and vaccines are very top of mind. Let’s learn about what a pharmacist is today and maybe write some thank you notes to deliver to the local pharmacies that have been working hard for the community. Why not remind the kids to do their best in everything for National Work Harder Day.

13- National Gluten-Free Day: A lot of students (especially younger ones) won’t even know what gluten is! A little gluten lesson followed by comparing the tastes/consistency etc. of some gluten-free crackers to regular gluten crackers. Don’t forget to place a rubber ducky or two on your desk for National Rubber Ducky Day. And if you really want to celebrate it all, everyone should get a sticker on their work today for National Sticker Day!

14- Another weekend has arrived, but don’t let this one go to waste, because it is Dress Your Pet Day. Let the kids take a picture of their furry friends dressed to impress and bring it on Monday to share! You have some homework too because it is National Organize Your Home Day.

15- It’s National Bagel Day: Have a bagel for breakfast. Tell the kids to bring their favorite hats to school tomorrow to celebrate National Hat Day. 

16- I love that this is National Nothing Day: Celebrate Hat Day in class (from yesterday), but when you get home, listen to the calendar, put your feet up, and do nothing! You deserve a little break.

17- National Ben Franklin Day and National Kid Inventors’ Day: Ben Franklin was a politician and a scientist alike. After sharing a video with the kids, I am challenging them to design (just a drawing) an invention and share it with the class. You can make this curriculum related, or just focus on those engineering standards.

18- National Thesaurus Day: Some of your students don’t even know what a thesaurus or dictionary is- so put one in their hands (NOT the computer version) and let them explore.  Today you can also learn about another state thanks to National Michigan Day. And afterschool… It’s National Gourmet Coffee Day so treat yourself to that expensive coffee you usually skip. After all, Gourmet Coffee Day is just once a year!

19- Pop into school with a National Popcorn Day celebration! Besides sharing a popcorn snack today, you could incorporate some popcorn crafts, or learn about farming corn in our country. I also encourage my students to sit with something new at lunch for National New Friends Day.

20- National DJ Day: Bring the music into your classroom today and make yourself today’s classroom DJ! Introduce the kids to different types of music. Play some musical chairs (even the big kids like this). It’s also National Take a Walk Outdoors Day– and we will walk like a penguin to celebrate National Penguin Awareness Day.

21- This Sunday is National Hug Day, so hug your family and loved ones today. In recognition of International Sweatpants Day, you know what I will be wearing all day.

22- This Monday is National Blondie Brownie Day. I will be making a batch of blonde brownies to bring to my students tomorrow.

23- Good thing I had brownies to share today, because they may not be thrilled with National Handwriting Day! This is the excuse I have been waiting for to practice our handwriting.  Each child who uses their best handwriting today will be rewarded with a brownie for all of their hard work. Still want some fun?  It’s National Measure Your Feet Day– but let’s keep our shoes on!

24- Everybody loves to hear a compliment- and today we will practice kindness for National Compliment Day. Later in the day we will have a contest to see who has the best belly laugh for National Belly Laugh Day. Maybe your principals want to enter the contest?

25- National Opposite Day could be dangerously fun in an elementary classroom! How far can you take opposite day?  Introduce or review another state with today’s National Florida Day.

26- Did you know there is a National Green Juice Day? What kind of green juices could you bring in and explore with your students today? You could include a nutrition lesson, or a science lesson easily when green juice is involved. Your students could also celebrate International Customs Day – and maybe share some family traditions from their own cultural background. Plan a date night dinner out after school because it’s National Spouses Day.

27- With that healthy green juice day out of the way, we are ready to indulge with National Chocolate Cake Day! Can you do a cooking demonstration and learn about thermal energy transfers or physical and chemical changes? Or just eat cake! Choose a curriculum related to a National Geographic movie or have your students explore their website for National Geographic Day.

28- Sunday is a great day to celebrate National Lego Day. Tell your students to get off their devices and build something this weekend. They can bring their creations in to share on Monday or take a picture to bring to class.

29- National Puzzle Day is a great weekday activity for a Monday- Encourage your students to pick a puzzle and put it together with a family member. Have them bring in their puzzles (not put together) for class the next day and try putting it together during some downtime.

30- National Croissant Day should make today’s breakfast choice easy. The hallways should be extra fun if you choose to engage in National Yodel For Your Neighbors Day. For a more serene Tuesday, celebrate National School Day of Non-Violence and Peace. 

31- It’s coloring day for National Inspire Your Heart with Art Day. Hang the art all over the walls to give your classroom a little inspiration. Now for later, you can pick from National Eat Brussels Sprouts Day, or National Hot Chocolate Day… I know which one I’m picking on this cold, January day!

Trust me, your students will be begging you to tell them what the celebration of the day is before they even say hello to you. The celebration activities can be as big or as little as your content needs and time allows. There are countless options out there that can fit your virtual and live classroom and student needs, so do some research of your own. And remember: this is your classroom and your celebration calendar. You can fill those days with anything you want, whether official or invented. You can use it whenever you want, whether it’s once a week or twice a day. You know your students, you know your schedule, and you know how to use a tool like this to inspire them. So sparkle up your winter and dazzle them just as much as those pending snowflakes. They won’t even want a snow day if it means missing one of YOUR celebrations! Snow-covered mountain of a challenge met with success! If you want to keep celebrating after “January Jollies,” you can design your very own February Fun, Marvelous March, and Amazing April!

Jessica Cicalese Kurtz


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