January 2020: Celebrate a Holiday in Class Every Day

Welcome to the New Year! Have fun learning with your students by celebrating a different holiday every day in January. From New Year's Day to Backwards Day and everything in between, these ideas range from sharing fun facts and trivia to more detailed classroom activities or prompts.

January 1: New Year's Day.
When your students are back from the winter break, consider leading a goal-setting workshop to help teach self-management and healthy intention-setting. 

January 2: National Science Fiction Day.
This officially unofficial holiday is celebrated by sci-fi fans on January 2, the birthday of writer Isaac Asimov. In class, read a work of science fiction together and discuss what makes that piece of writing "science fiction."

January 3: January is National Mentoring Month.
Consider partnering up with another grade in the school to develop an in-school mentoring system, where younger students are paired with older students to help them follow their passions and succeed in school and beyond. While younger students will benefit by learning from the older students, those older students get the chance to see how they can be a leader and make a difference in someone's life.

January 4: World Braille Day.
Teach the basics of understanding Braille using a math-by-touch puzzle.

January 5: National Bird Day.
Ask your students if they can identify your state's official bird. Then, discuss why that bird represents your state.

January 6: National Bean Day.
Pick a can of beans—be it kidney, lima, soy, green, or whatever you'd like—and have your students guess how many beans are in the can. At the end of the day, count out how many beans are in the can and see who got the closest!

January 7: International Programmers' Day.
On this day designed to highlight all the important work programmers do, introduce your students to the basics of computer coding with this free activity to help future programmers start developing their skills.

January 8: Carmen Sandiego Day.
First established in the 80s, keep the tradition of Carmen Sandiego Day alive by watching one of the short webisodes from Carmen Sandiego's Fearless Kids Around the World. Follow-up the video with one of the free corresponding SEL activities.

January 9: Static Electricity Day.
Bring in a bag of balloons to help demonstrate how static electricity works. Students can blow up the balloons and rub them on their heads to generate static electricity, and then try sticking the balloons to the walls or attracting aluminum cans.

January 10: Pizza Week!
Everyone loves a pizza party! Pizza Week takes place January 5-11, so if you're able, throw a class pizza party to celebrate Pizza Week and the first full week back at school in the new year.

January 11: National Vision Board Day.
Following up from the goal-setting activity earlier in the month, students can begin to put together a vision board for their intentions in the new year and beyond. Consider having students create vision boards over the weekend and present their goals and visions next week.

January 12: Universal Letter Writing Week starts the second Sunday every January.
In the age of emails and texting, bring a renewed focus to handwriting and letter writing in this week-long celebration. Students can write letters to family members or friends who live outside of your community, or write letters of thanks to community members at your school, like the maintenance crew members, bus drivers, librarians, or cafeteria employees.

January 13: National Sticker Day.
You get a sticker! And you get a sticker! Everyone loves a sticker, so on this day, consider giving each student a sticker, then taking a class photo wearing your different stickers. 

January 14: Dress Up Your Pet Day.
If you have a pet, this one is easy! Take a picture of your pet dressed up and share it with your students at the start of class. If you don't have a pet, then do a quick image search for pets in costumes to display on the board and ask your students if they've ever dressed up their pets.

January 15: National Hat Day.
Wear your favorite hat and encourage your students to do the same! While some dress codes don't allow wearing hats, this can be a fun break from the routine and allow students to further express themselves.

January 16: International Hot and Spicy Food Day.
Share this fun fact on the board, "The Carolina Reaper pepper is currently the world's hottest pepper and is 200x hotter than a Jalapeno."

January 17: Kid Inventors' Day.
Celebrated on the birthday of OG kid genius Benjamin Franklin (who was inventing by age 11), encourage your students to pursue their ideas by sharing other examples of successful inventions created by children, such as the trampoline.

January 18: National Thesaurus Day.
Use a thesaurus (or thesaurus.com) to brainstorm alternative words as a class. Then, have students use a thesaurus to replace words in their writing using a recent assignment as a starting point.

January 19: National Popcorn Day.
The obvious idea here is get to poppin' corn! Heat up some kernels and share this fun fact with your students, "Americans eat more popcorn than any other country in the world, consuming about 15 billion quarts a year." Read more popcorn fun facts.

January 20: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (3rd Monday in January).
This week, try one or more of these MLK Jr. Day activities for the classroom to commemorate the legacy of a civil rights icon.

January 21: National Hugging Day.
Embrace kindness! Provide a little extra encouragement today by sharing a hug (or a high five, depending on your students' comfort level) with each student as they enter class.

January 22: Library Shelfie Day.
Visit the school library and take a class selfie in front of the bookshelves. Or, have students pick a book they want to read and then take a selfie with that book.

January 23: National Handwriting Day.
Handwriting might feel like a chore, but hand-lettering is trendy and can make a basic handwriting practice a lore more engaging. Have students create signs to decorate the classroom by writing their name (or a short phrase or inspirational quote) and using their best handwriting to express themselves.

January 24: National Compliment Day.
Invite each student to give a compliment to their peers sitting closest to them.

January 25: Chinese New Year (Spring Festival will last to February 8).
Throw a Lunar New Year party using these ideas, including wearing red and playing dominoes.

January 26: January is also National Hot Tea Month.
Brew up some soothing chamomile or green tea. Pour each student a cup to enjoy while they read a book of their choosing.

January 27: National Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day.
Give each student a piece of bubble wrap and get to popping! There's something soothing about popping those bubbles.

January 28: National Kazoo Day.
Fun fact to share with the class: Alabama Vest of Macon, Georgia made the first Kazoo in the 1840s.
(If you're feeling really brave, hand out kazoos and start a class kazoo jam!)

January 29: National Puzzle Day.
Puzzling meetings math in our blog series about cryptography and how patterns work to protect (or reveal) information online. Or, group your students into 3s or 4s and give them each a puzzle to solve!

January 30: (Early) Groundhog Day.
There doesn't seem to be any holidays on January 30th... But, use the time to celebrate Groundhog Day, which is coming up on Sunday, February 2. Have your students predict if Punxsutawney Phil will see his shadow or not (and debate whether or not the class wants six more weeks of winter)!

January 31: Backwards Day!
Wear your clothes backwards. Flip the classroom desks (this one counts as going to the gym, too). Write backwards on the board. Say "good night" as you greet your students in the morning. Nothing is too silly to try on backwards day!

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And here are ideas to celebrate February holidays!

Find more lesson plans and classroom resources on Shaped.

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