The week that we get back from winter break, I love having a classroom New Year celebration! That Friday, we countdown to the “Noon Year”. Each hour reveals a new activity until we reach noon. Here’s what our week looks like!
Learning About New Year’s
As soon as we get back into the classroom from break, we start talking about New Year’s and what it means. Happy New Year, Pooh is a great little book that really explains what the New Year is and what it means. I absolutely love this book! New Year’s Day talks about the history, customs, and how different families celebrate new years around the world! Similarly, Shante Keys and the New Year’s Peas introduces children to another tradition and culture. Squirrel’s New Year’s Resolution is an adorable book that explains what a resolution is and how to make one. Lastly, The Night Before New Year’s is just a cute little story that tells about a family that tries to stay up until midnight.
Here is just one of the response pages that we do that goes along with Squirrel’s New Year’s resolution.
The New Year’s Toast
One of the most popular traditions that we have in our culture, is a New Year’s Toast at Midnight. What is a New Year’s toast? Many students may have the misconception that it is the kind with butter on it! As a result, I wrote a little story called The New Year’s Toast that explains exactly what a toast is and why we do it. My class also completes an anchor chart, brainstorming different things that we can toast to.
After we learn what a New Year’s Toast is, we do a little New Year’s toast craft. He’s so cute! Then, they write about who or what they are toasting to. And of course, during out celebration on Friday, we do our own toast!
Friday is here! Let’s count down to the Noon Year!
On Friday, we have our Noon Year Celebration! We start with our 8:00 balloon pop! (This one is a little late by the time the kids get in and settled…but, that’s O.K.) To pop the balloon, I use a classroom pointer and tape a pushpin to it, as seen in the video. Each time a balloon is popped, it reveals the activity that we will be doing that hour. To keep students excited and engaged, I have a countdown running for the entire hour. When we get close to the hour, we gather on the carpet and prepare for the next pop. You can find the timer that I use HERE. The party themed one is my favorite one to use. Watch the video below to see our class doing each countdown!!
8:00 Activity: Noon Year Countdown
9:00 Activity: Noon Year Countdown
10:00 Activity: Noon Year Countdown
11:00 Activity: Noon Year Countdown
The Balloon Drop
Over the years, I have used a few different options for my balloon drop. In the video above, you can see that the balloons didn’t drop very well! Sadly, there was a lot of static and the balloons didn’t want to come out! LOL! The balloon bag that I used in the video be found HERE. The year before, I used THIS bag and it worked a lot better. But, the year before that, I just used butcher paper. I hung it with paper clips from the ceiling tiles and wrote “Happy Noon Year” on it. At noon, I just ripped through the paper to let the balloons drop. It actually worked great!
Shante Keys and the New Year’s Peas
To conclude our day, we read Shante Keys and the New Year’s Peas by Gail Piernas-Davenport. I absolutely LOVE this book and my students always do too! Did you know that in African American culture, it is believed that eating black eyed peas on January 1st will bring good luck and prosperity in the new year? Each year I do this, the kids are SO excited to try them after this story! EVERY. SINGLE. kid has always at least tasted them! Surprisingly enough, after analyzing our data, usually more like them than not!!! This book even includes a page on how to make “Grandma Louise’s Hoppin’ John”…a yummy recipe for making black eyed peas.
New Year’s Math & Literacy Unit
If you’re interested in any of the activities or printables that I use for my New Year’s unit, you can check them out by clicking on the picture below!!!! Have FUN and Happy New Year!!!