New Year's Picture Books

New Year's is a fun holiday, but it's often overlooked in the classroom. And, I get it. We come back from break tired and maybe even a bit frazzled. But, it is a big tradition here in America, and other countries around the world too.

New Year's Picture Books and Classroom Activities

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We always return to school a week after the new year begins, but that doesn't mean we can't talk about the traditions, customs, and goal setting. I like to share how people around the world celebrate this day in their cultures. And, of course, picture books are one of my favorite ways to do all this.

Can I just say that there are not enough books on this topic? With that said, at least the selection that is available isn't overwhelming.

Here's a peek at some great books you might want to use in your classroom. Oh, and if you keep on reading, there are a few ideas for you too!

New Year's Picture Books and Classroom Activities

Celebrations Around the World (Great illustrations and lots of info-you can use this book year round!)
Squirrel's New Year's Resolution (Keep reading for an idea to go with this book.)
The Night Before New Year's (This is a fun series.)
Happy New Year Around the World (This is actually a coloring book! You could copy certain pages for your class to color, or just read it as is.)
New Year's Day (Great info about traditions students may be familiar with.)
Shante Keys and the New Year's Peas (A fun story about New Year's customs from different traditions.)

Classroom Ideas

Have a Mini Celebration
At noon, on the day you return, have a mini celebration. Give your students some noise makers, like these, and let them shout out "Happy New Year!" You can add some flair by putting up some simple decorations. You could serve a snack, but then your mini celebration may turn into much more than that.
I have some fun gold garland that I drape across the top of the whiteboard along with a fun polka dot banner and matching balloons from the Target Dollar Spot (or whatever it's called these days-ha!). It isn't much, and it's easy to put up and take down, But, it also doesn't go unnoticed.

Make Some Resolutions
I like to read the books shared above throughout the week. They are great for facilitating discussions about the customs we read about. I encourage the students to make connections, compare and contrast, share what they think is interesting, and to ask questions.

But, I also like to do a simple goal setting activity. Simple is my cup of tea, and it doesn't get any easier than making a class book.

First, I read Squirrel's New Year's Resolution. It's great for talking about what a resolution is (a big word that is often unfamiliar to many of my second graders).

Then, I let the students talk with a partner about a goal they might have (this also helps them get an idea for a goal if they can't think of one).

Finally, they write about their goal. I take all the pages and bind them together to make a class book that the kids can read over and over. This allows them to revisit this idea often so they don't forget about those goals.

You can grab these free class book templates here. 

I hope you enjoy these activities and books with your students. Happy New Year!

New Year's Picture Books and Classroom Activities

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