Throughout the year there are many special days and events that are worthy of celebration in the classroom. They may draw attention to issues affecting our world and its inhabitants or celebrate achievements and contributions to the arts or our collective knowledge.
On the last Friday of each month, I will provide you with a list of days and events worthy of celebration in the following month. This is the list for January. The list is not exhaustive and is simply some ideas to spark your imagination.
International Year of Plant Health
As 2020 is the International Year of Plant Health, January is the ideal time to start thinking about how you can use the theme Protecting Plants, Protecting Life to foster learning throughout the year. It fits perfectly into Science Biology units that focus on living things, habitats and the environment; or perhaps you might consider using it as an overarching theme in your classroom for the year.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, the year “is a once in a lifetime opportunity to raise global awareness on how protecting plant health can help end hunger, reduce poverty, protect the environment, and boost economic development.”
- Establish a vegetable or native garden
- Adopt an area of bushland
- Decorate your classroom with a plant theme
- Have potted plants in your classroom
- Schedule time in your program for exploring outdoors
- Conduct experiments about the needs and features of living things — plants
- Read books about plants
- Discuss the importance of plants to our lives
- View and discuss this promotional video
We will be adding plant-themed resources to the collection throughout the year, so keep checking back for those.
Plant/Environment dates to plan for throughout the year
Below are some dates you could earmark for additional celebrations of plant health and caring for plants throughout the year. However, it is not necessary to limit your celebrations to these days or to observances for your location. Raising awareness is important whatever the time of year.
21 March International Day of Forests
5 June World Environment Day
29 June International Mud Day
31 July Schools’ Tree Day (Australia)
2 August National Tree Day (Australia)
1 September Wattle Day (Australia)
7 September National Threatened Species Day (Australia)
5 November Outdoor Classroom Day
Plant/Environment related picture books
There are many beautiful picture books that introduce children to plants, their importance, how they grow, and how to care for them. These are just five:
Leaf Litter by Rachel Tonkin
The Curious Garden by Peter Brown
The Lorax by Dr Seuss
The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle
A leap year
The year 2020 is a leap year. Instead of 365 days, the year will have 366. Although the additional day does not occur until 29 February, it’s never too soon to explain what a leap year is and why we have it. It’s also a great time for counting in fours and discussing multiples of four.
January dates to celebrate
1 January New Years Day
18 January National Winnie the Pooh Day
- Read Winnie the Pooh stories.
- Learn about A. A. Milne and why he wrote the stories.
- Discuss the characters that feature in the stories. Use words to describe their physical characteristics and personalities. Invite children to tell which character is their favourite or they would most like to be friends with and explain why.
- Invite children to tell which character they are most like or have something in common with and explain why.
- Present children’s favourite characters on a graph. Discuss the findings.
- Invite children to use their imaginations to put themselves in the Hundred Acre Wood with Winnie the Pooh and friends and write their own adventures with them.
- Do a guided drawing lesson with Winnie the Pooh or/and other characters.
25 January Chinese New Year
The readilearn collection includes the following free resources to help you teach and celebrate Chinese New Year:
This resource tells about the festival from the perspective of Mabel Kwong who is of Chinese heritage and grew up in Singapore and Malaysia and now lives in Australia. Mabel explains some of the history of the festival and shares memories of celebrating the New Year when she was growing up.
These bookmarks can be printed and distributed to children, their parents or colleagues to wish them a Happy New Year. Suggestions for decorating the bookmarks are also included.
This resource suggests simple ways of acknowledging your students of Asian background and teaching all students about Chinese New Year traditions by celebrating Chinese New Year in the classroom.
In this interview, Sofia Goodsoul discusses her picture book Nian the Lunar Dragon which tells the legend behind Chinese New Year celebrations. The book is beautifully illustrated by Marina Kite.
Getting to know each other and learning about the cultures and traditions celebrated by children in your class is a great way of developing understanding and respect. This unit supports you in finding out about the children in your classroom.
Picture books to read:
Nian the Lunar Dragon by Sofia Goodsoul and Marina Kite
Whoever You Are by Mem Fox and Ronojoy Ghosh
All are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold and Suzanne Kaufmann
26 January Australia Day (Australia)
Picture books to read:
I’m Australian Too by Mem Fox and Ronojoy Ghosh
Advance Australia Fair by P.D. McCormack and J. McIntosh
29 January National puzzle day
Try out these games and puzzles in the readilearn collection:
Printable and online 9 square puzzles include:
9 square insect puzzle (printable)
9 square turtle puzzle (printable)
Interactive 9 square turtle puzzle (online)
9 square Christmas puzzle (printable)
Logic puzzles include:
Whose egg? A logic puzzle (printable)
31 January Multicultural Children’s Book Day
When children see themselves and others represented in stories, they develop a greater sense of self and of understanding and acceptance of others. It is important to read stories that represent the diversity that exists in our classrooms as well as our world. Click on this link to download free classroom resources for celebrating Multicultural Children’s Book Day.
Readilearn is proud to be a reviewer for Multicultural Children’s Book Day. Read last year’s review of I am Farmer by Baptiste and Miranda Paul with illustrations by Elizabeth Zunon here and look for another review coming on the blog in January.
This free resource is a list of selected multicultural books included in my collection.
This list of January days and events is also available in printable form to download free in readilearn resources here.
Suggestions for the International Year of Plant Health can be downloaded free here.
A 2020 calendar decorated for the International Year of Plant Health can be downloaded free here.
And the calendar presented with 3 to a page for use as bookmarks can be downloaded free here.
The year at a glance
A printable copy of a calendar of special days and events for the year is available to download free here.
Check out the complete readilearn collection of
over 380 teaching resources for the first three years of school
Resources beyond worksheets – lessons for teachers made by teachers.
Let readilearn lighten your workload.
Also uploaded this week.
Turn on the Christmas Lights is based on the traditional Hang Man game in which players guess letters to solve the word puzzle. It includes ten Christmas themed word puzzles which are solved online. It is available free until the end of the month.
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