January 10, 2021

Powerful January Activities and Resources for Your Classroom

I don't know about you, but when January begins, I always feel a bit fuzzy-headed when it comes to school. I'm so busy trying to remember my normal routines and procedures that I cannot always remember some fun, incredible lessons and activities. This year, I have planned ahead so both your students and mine can benefit!

These Incredible January Activities and Resources for Your Classroom will get both you and your students excited to be back at school!

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I admit I am going to start off with some books. For some of you, you might think I am nuts to include them on a list with Incredible January Activities and Resources! If you do think that, I must respond that I think it's nuts not to include them! I am a true bookworm at heart! There's magic in a good book!

Picture Books to Read

These books are just a few in my library that we ALWAYS read each year. There are a TON of other books too, but you have to start somewhere! 





Besides reading picture books, there are so many activities to do involving penguins.

There are 17 different types of penguins found in the southern hemisphere. This makes for an exciting research project for students. To help with the research, here are some student friendly websites - KidZone Penguins and Penguin World

Instead of research (or in addition to), you may want students to view live penguin cams from the San Diego Zoo and the Kansas City Zoo.

Teach students fact and opinion through task cards. Click on the picture below to see more!

Penguin Fact and Opinion Task Cards

Want students to figure out how penguins keep warm in cold weather and water? Then try this Blubber Experiment!
  1. Fill a large bowl with ice water.
  2. Open a gallon size Ziploc bag and fill it with Crisco.
  3. Place another gallon bag inside. (This keeps hands from getting "blubber" on them.
  4. Have students compare and contrast having one hand in the ice water and one hand in the "blubber."



There usually is a ton of snow in January around here (although last year it didn't snow until March), so I do a winter unit with the focus on snow, snowmen, and migration. 

A quick activity is a "Snowball Fight." You can do this with any subject. Students create questions about the topic of your choosing. They then crumple of the papers. Throw the papers around to have a snowball fight. When the snowball fight is over, students can answer the questions.

Want more ideas???
  1. Make "snow" - Mix 2 cups of baking soda and 1/2 cup of conditioner to make snow. 
  2. STEM project - Students can build a snowflake or an igloo from marshmallows. 
  3. Have students write steps in making a snowman.

Martin Luther King, Jr.


There is so many things that you can do to honor Dr. King's life. It's difficult to know where to begin. Here are a few favorites...
  1. After reading Martin's Big Words, break students into teams. Give them cups and markers. Students need to think of as many synonyms to describe Dr. King as possible. Each time they think of a word, they can write it on a cup. With their cups, each time has to create the tallest tower that they can!
  2. Check out My Friend, Martin. It's about an hour cartoon and can be found on YouTube.
  3. Watch Kid President explaining Dr. King's life.
  4. Compare/contrast the books written by Dr. King's family members (his sister and son both wrote books about him - see the bottom row of MLK books above).
  5. Students can learn facts about Dr. King even during math time, click on the picture below to see more.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Subtraction Review Fun

What seasonal activities do you like to do in January with your students?

January brings about a fresh start to the school year. This blog post brings a roundup of resources and activities for celebrating Dr. King's life, teaching penguins, and having fun with snow. Make the rest of the school year a fun one with this start. Inside you will find books, STEM activities, writing activities, hands-on activities, and more. #confessionsofafrazzledteacher {Second, Third, Fourth, and Fifth Graders}

January 2, 2021

3 Activities for Surviving the First Week After Winter Break

2020 was a crazy year! I know that many are not sad to see it go away. As for me, I have mixed feelings. I am glad to see the new year for all the new possibilities. It feels like a fresh start. On the other hand, I am so not ready to go back to school! I have loved my time off! Now that it is the new year, I have to start back to school planning. Here goes...Surviving the First Week After Winter Break!

Confessions of a Frazzled Teacher

3 Ways To Survive the First Week of School After a Break

Please note: There are links to products in this blog post. Using them will not cost you anything but may earn me a small commission if you make a purchase. Bonus...you will totally make my day!

1. Reviewing Procedures Carousel

This is one of my favorite activities to complete after a break since it has almost no prep and gets students moving.

Materials Needed: Chart Paper and Markers



  1. Brainstorm a list of places where your students spend a lot of their time: classroom, lunchroom, bathroom, hallway, etc. Write these places on top of the chart paper. (This can be done ahead of time or with students.)
  2. Then divide students into groups and send them to a paper. They get a small amount of time, like 3-4 minutes, to write as many things as they can to show behavior, how they should act, what they should look like in these locations, etc.
  3. Next, rotate the groups to a different location. They repeat the steps of adding information but first have to read what is already written. They should not duplicate information. This gets students to think beyond the basics. It gets harder as each group cycles through. Because of this, I add time in each rotation. 
  4. Once all groups have cycled through all the locations, we come together to share what was learned. 

Helpful Tips: 

  • Give each group a certain color marker so you know who has contributed what information.
  • Pair higher readers with lower readers to make this activity run smoothly.
  • Discuss your expectations ahead of time to keep it from being a free for all! This activity will be loud, but it works well!

Digital Version: 

  • Create Google Slides with areas you want to review with students: When People are Talking, Working in Small Groups, etc. For me, I would include our sight word practice, Xtra Math time, small groups, etc.
  • Put students into rooms to complete this task. It may be easier to just have each group focus on one area. Then bring the groups back to the main room and discuss. You could also send message reminders and pop into the different groups to keep them on task.

2. Procedure Pantomime

Materials Needed: Index Cards and a Pen (or marker)



  1. Have students brainstorm a list of basic rules/procedures. 
  2. Write these down on note cards. 
  3. Pull these note cards (a few each day) and have students act out the scenarios. This will definitely give them a great visual of how they should act! 

Digital Version: 

  • Complete the brainstorm list and make note of all of the rules/procedures.
  • Send messages to different students and have them act out the scenario. You could also put small groups into rooms and practice acting out a scenario. Then bring everyone back together and perform.

3. New Years Goal Setting

Materials Needed: task cards and recording sheet (FREE)


  1. Print out the task cards and recording sheet. (Click on the picture below to get these free!)
  2. Place the task cards around the room.
  3. Have students walk from card to card answering the questions.
  4. Meet back as a group to discuss their answers.
New Years Task Cards

What are you doing the first week back after your break?

The first week after a long break is tough! Teachers need to reestablish procedures and routines. This blog post contains 3 activities to do with students after a long break (like Winter Break). These activities are all low prep/no prep, making planning easy for teachers. Bonus!!! There is a freebie included! #confessionsofafrazzledteacher {Third, Fourth, and Fifth Graders; classroom management; January lesson planning}