I love the first days of school after the winter holiday break. I get to write my name on the first page of my new calendar, and set New Year's resolutions that I won't be keeping for more than a few days! These first few days in the new year are also a great time to review the calendar and to teach my students about setting goals. Here are several activities and books that help my students understand the calendar, as well as how to write their own WHAM, BOOM, POW resolutions.
The poem "New Year’s Resolutions" by Irma Khan is a fine little text that helps my students to understand that a resolution is just a promise you make to yourself about how you will be a better person in the new year.
After reading the poem and discussing what a resolution is, we read Squirrel’s New Year's Resolution by Pat Miller. It’s a great book where several animal characters make resolutions so it provides plenty of examples of different promises that your students can make for the new year.
To get my kids excited about writing their own resolutions, I created this WHAM! BOOM! POW! Resolution planning sheet (see it below, left). The class loves the fact that I have connected writing their own resolutions to superheroes.
Here is another option for a New Year’s sheet (see it above, right) that you can use. This one requires more writing, so depending on the ability of your class, you can determine which you will want to use. You could also use both of these sheets and differentiate your class’s New Year’s resolution writing.
To end the day, I read my favorite books about the calendar. The first is called Calendar and was written by Myra Cohn Livingston and illustrated by Will Hillenbrand. Simple text and vibrant pictures make it a great introduction to the concept of a year and how the seasons change.
Since we have just come back to school from a holiday, I read A Year Full of Holidays by Susan Middleton Elya and illustrated by Diana Cain Bluthenthal, next. This book is a great addition to the day because it starts in August and so the first half of the book is devoted to the holidays we have already celebrated as a class and the second half of the book is what we have left to experience together.
The final book to help with the concept of the year is A Wonderful Year from Nick Bruel, the awesome creator of Bad Kitty! This book is brand new and it’s simply beautiful. The only character that has a name is a purple hippo named Louise. Each season is represented in a colorful, fun, and educational way. Each season has guaranteed laughs and the last section of the book, Fall Foliage, provides a sweet, warm feeling for the reader as Bruel effortlessly builds a loving exchange between the girl and the tree.
A Wonderful Year is the perfect book to bridge directly into completing this sheet, which works on one of the Common Core State Standards, math standards for Kindergarten. Having your students complete this sort and organize the months by the seasons activity will be a great assessment for you to see where your students are at after such a great day of learning.
I can’t wait to see you next week.