Simple New Year's Day Activities to Celebrate in Your Classroom

new year resolution and reflection activities for the classroom

I love welcoming students back to school in January after holiday break. There is always a feeling of calm when school begins again. I love that my classroom is clean, all of our projects have been wrapped up, and we are ready to begin new units.

While I am always excited to jump back into teaching, I also like to take the first day back to school to encourage students to be reflective of the past year and set goals for the new year that we are welcoming. These easy-to-implement, yet meaningful activities are a great way to welcome the new year into your classroom.

3-2-1 Reflection

Simple Activities to Ring in the New Year in Your ClassroomI love using 3-2-1 reflection forms all year long. Their predictable nature and easy to respond to prompts make them easy for students to complete on both a prepared worksheet or blank piece of paper. The simplicity of 3-2-1 reflections allow students to stay focused and truly reflect on the topic at hand. Included on the 3-2-1 reflection form that I use when students return to school in January includes: 3 New Things I Learned, 2 Cool Activities I Did, and 1 Question I have About Something that I learned. The kids love writing to these quick prompts and enjoy sharing their reflections with their classmates. This is perfect to use on the last day before break or on the first day back from break. Grab the form that I use for free, or just have students respond to these prompts on a plain piece of paper.

Best Book of the Year

Simple Activities to Ring in the New Year in Your Classroom
This is one of my favorite activities of the year! I love having students fill out these best book reflection pages.
Not only does it give them an opportunity to reflect on a specific book that they read, but it also allows students to reflect on themselves as readers and the book choices that they have made so far this school year. This activity provides students the opportunity to reflect on which genres, series, and authors they read most frequently. After all students have completed one of these best book forms, I display them on our reading bulletin board and they serve as book recommendations so that all students expand the genres, series, and authors they read in the upcoming year.

Goal Setting

Simple Activities to Ring in the New Year in Your ClassroomSetting goals with your students does not have to be a "first day of school" activity. It is a great way to welcome the new year. What I especially love about setting goals in January versus the first day of school is, that by the time January comes around I truly know my students. I know their strengths and weaknesses inside and out and am therefore better able to guide them into setting goals that are appropriate for them. Begin by having students brainstorm one specific area of focus. Improving Writing would be too broad of a goal for students to set. Improving written pieces by including detail and figurative language is specific enough that not only gives students direction, but can be measured. When the goals that students set are SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and realistic, and timely and tractable) students succeed. Once students set goals, we set aside time each week to reflect on our progress. A simple reflection form is all it takes to make sure students are on track and working towards meeting their goals. Read about how I implement SMART goals in the classroom HERE.

When it comes to welcoming in the new year, go big! Invite students to reflect on their school year, reflect on themselves as learners, and set meaningful goals to continue the year strong! January is a great time for fresh starts and new beginnings. Give your students the opportunity to start the new year on the right path so that the rest of your year, is the best of the year!

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new year resolution bulletin board ideas

Be sure to grab the print and digital reflection forms at the bottom of this post!

Simple Activities to Ring in the New Year in Your Classroom

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