After winter break classroom activities. Ideas include scavenger hunt literacy activities, crafts banners, QR Code activities, and making new year resolutions. New year freebie at the end of the post.
Most schools around the world have a Christmas break. It’s also winter during this time in some countries and so is aptly called ‘Winter Break’. I guess the term doesn’t really matter. What’s important is that both students and teachers are on a much-needed break.
But what happens when students return to school after the break or after winter break? What classroom activities should the teacher do during the first couple of days to ease students back into learning?
Well, since it’s the start of the new year – nothing better than to ring it in. Last month, I shared a round-up of activities on Christmas. I hope you were able to do a couple with your students. In this blog post, I’ll share some classroom activities to do after the Christmas break or after the winter break.
After Winter Break Classroom Activities No. 1 – New Year Traditions Scavenger Hunt
One of many fun after winter break classroom activities is to have students go on a scavenger hunt for New Year Traditions around the world.
It’s the start of the new year and a good time to know that in Denmark, it is tradition on New Year’s Eve to shatter the dishes against the doors of friends and family. Or in Costa Rica, a pan full of water is thrown over one’s shoulder to take away all the bad luck of the previous year. These facts are entertaining too and will put your students in the right learning spirit from Day 1.
- 32 Fact Cards on New Year Traditions around the world
- 4 Recording Sheets to document information
- Writing templates, to sum up learning with 2-3 interesting facts
- New Year Banner to display students’ completed work and create a hall-stopping display
- Hide the 32 fact cards around the classroom. The harder to find – the better.
- Hand out the Recording Sheets attached to a clipboard to each student.
- Students will need to find the fact card corresponding to a question on their recording sheet.
- After students have recorded the answers to all 32 questions, discuss the answers as a class.
- Finally, have students write the facts they found the most interesting on the writing templates.
- Display students’ work under the New Year Banner.
You will need to set aside one literacy block, comprising of two 45 minutes sessions if you would like your students to complete all 32 facts cards. Alternatively, you can also do fact cards 1-16 and leave facts cards 17-32 for another day.
Other than informing students about New Year traditions around the world, you can also have them go on a scavenger hunt for just New Year facts.
Unlike the New Year Traditions Scavenger Hunt, this Hunt will inform students about the history of New Year, from the time of its first celebration by the ancient Babylonians until the present day.
After Winter Break Classroom Activities No. 2 – QR Code Hunt
If you prefer to do digital classroom activities after the winter break, then you can always assign your students the digital version of the New Year Traditions scavenger hunt.
This time, the fact card features a QR Code. Students will scan the QR Code to find the answer to the question on their Recording Sheet.
There are 32 cards with QR Codes that you will hide around the classroom.
For this activity to be truly effective, students must make an educated guess about the answer prior to scanning the QR code. Although the answer is revealed when the QR code is scanned, students will still be learning and assimilating information.
Besides kids have so much fun just scanning the codes!
Like the New Year Traditions Scavenger Hunt, the New Year QR Code Hunt is equally fun.
After Winter Break Classroom Activities No. 3 – ELA Grammar Review
Have you ever assigned your students New Year themed classroom activities that prepare them for the ELA standardized tests?
In this activity, students will read each fact card in a Google Form and respond to the grammar, punctuation, vocabulary, or spelling question by selecting the correct option.
That’s subtle learning in practice.
Students receive instant feedback after the submission of the form with this fun New Year-themed ELA Test Prep activity.
An instant score is provided in addition to written feedback for specific incorrect responses. You can also analyze each student’s response to further dictate teaching and learning.
After Winter Break Classroom Activities No. 4 – New Year Goals
What’s a new year without New Year Goals or New Year Resolutions? Almost everyone makes them.
In your classroom, it could take the form of one of many purposeful after winter break classroom activities.
I use an interactive template to have my students pen their personal and academic goals for the new year.
Students list their goals on a recording sheet that scaffolds the writing process.
Overlapping the recording sheet is a cover sheet that creates two side flaps when cut at the center.
Opening the two side flaps will reveal a student’s new year goals.
Completed templates on the bulletin board, featuring New Year images and slightly parted at the center, creates a hall-stopping display.
A follow-up to this activity would be to have students reflect on:
- what worked
- things that need further attention
- tasks they need to do differently next time.
Setting New Year Goals would lend purpose and direction to students’ learning. You can also display them in a prominent place in your classroom as an added reminder.
Free After Winter Break Classroom Activities – New Year Print & Digital
I hope you get to use these classroom activities after the winter break or Christmas break with your students.
The primary goal is to make happy learning memories that will stay with the kids for a long time.
Here’s a free New Year print and digital activity to use with your students. It features Scavenger Hunt printable cards, recording sheets, and 34 boom digital cards (with audio).
It’s all about interesting New Year facts (not New Year Traditions mentioned in this blog post) and is best suited for students in grades 3-6.
Also included are the printable New Year banners mentioned in this post.
Look out for my next post on Valentine’s Day Activities with more learning fun!
Access New Year Fun Facts Print & Digital or click on the image link below.
Here’s to your students enjoying memorable classroom activities in your elementary classroom!
Read all about banning the boring and teaching writing that’s interesting.