Happy New Year's Day

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Language Activities

Celebrate with Cinquain | Create-A-Calendar | Explosive Grammar |
New Year's Scramble | Out With the Old, In With the New |
Resolution Confusion

Celebrate with Cinquain

Encourage students to describe New Year's Day in poetic form. Cinquain is simple enough for young learners, challenging even for adults.

A cinquain poem follows this format:
          Line 1: one word (the title)
          Line 2: two words (Choose words which describe the title.)
          Line 3: three words (Give and action related to the title.)
          Line 4: four words (Express a feeling about the title.)
          Line 5: one word (another word for the title)

The following is a sample New Year's cinquain:

Loud, fast
Explode all around
A little bit scary

If time permits, encourage students to write two or three. Ask each student to turn his or her favorite self-written cinquain. Make copies for each person in the class.

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As a class, study several calendars. Review the names of the days and months. Notice how some calendars list holidays or special events. Study picture calendars, and discuss how pictures reflect the various months.

Use a word processor to create a calendar form. Divide students into 12 groups. Let each group create a calendar page for one month. The group will need to place the days of the week across the top of the calendar, then number the days. Next, the group should write in any holidays during the month. To add a personal touch, add students' birthdays to the calendar as well.

After the days are numbered, the group needs to prepare a piece of artwork to go along with the month. You may wish to have each group write a simple poem about the month as well and include this somewhere in its art piece.

When all groups have finished, gather calendar sheets. Double-check students' work. Then, bind the pages into a calendar format. Display in classroom, and use throughout the new year.

If possible, consider copying the finished calendar and sending a copy home with each child.

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Explosive Grammar

In the United States, fireworks are popular way to welcome the new year. Call on various students to tell about a fireworks demonstration they have seen. After several have shared, divide students into groups of three or four. Ask each group to list as many nouns related to fireworks as they can think of. Give groups one point for each word on their lists. Compare lists. Give groups two points for any appropriate word that no other group has. Give small prizes to the group with the most points.

Break up into groups again. This time, have groups list nouns. Continue on, reviewing adjectives and adverbs as well.

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New Year's Scramble

Write the phrase "Happy New Year" on index cards, writing one letter on each card. Make four sets of phrase cards. Shuffle cards and place in an envelope.

Divide students into two teams. Explain that the students are going to draw letters from the envelope to make a phrase. Tell them the number of letters in the phrase, but don't tell them what the phrase is.

Call one student at a time to the envelope and ask the student to draw a letter. Alternate teams. Teams must first try to figure out what the phrase is, then complete it. No team may have more cards than the number of letters in the phrase.  The suggested phrase has 12 letters. Once the team has drawn 12 letters, it must start returning a letter before it can draw another one. Of course, this is no problem once the students guess what the phrase is! The first team to complete the phrase wins.

For a simpler variation, tell the students the phrase. The teams must then focus only on spelling it.

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Out With the Old, In With the New

Encourage each student to draw two pictures. The first should reflect a favorite memory from the past year -- a picnic, family vacation, accomplishment, field trip, etc. The second should portray something the student hopes to do in the coming year. At the bottom of both pictures, have students write a sentence or paragraph telling about the scene. Mount photos on colored paper, then arrange finished squares on the wall in the form of a quilt.

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Resolution Confusion

Discuss the tradition of making New Year's resolutions. Give an example or two of resolutions people might make, then call on two or three students to give examples.

Give each student five pieces of paper. Direct students to write one resolution on each sheet. Gather the resolutions, mix them up, and put them in a hat.

Divide students into two teams. Call one person at a time up to the hat, alternating teams. The student should draw a resolution from the hat. He or she must then try to draw it on the board. Writing words and/or talking is not permitted!

The student's team mates must try to guess the resolution within 60 seconds. If someone on the team guesses correctly before time is up, the team gets one point. If no one guesses, the other team has one guess to try to get the point. If neither team guesses, the paper is returned to the hat and no points are awarded.

The team with the most points wins.

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