Exploring Special Days in January: A Fun Learning Journey for Kids!


Are you ready to dive into the exciting world of special days and celebrations with your young learners? This journey promises fun, learning, and plenty of engaging activities. Let’s embark on an adventure through January's special days and discover how to make every day a celebration!

Bringing Special Days to Life

Engaging Activities

Interactive Discussions
: Let your students explore and discuss each special day. Encourage them to share thoughts, stories, or experiences related to these occasions.

Creative Blogging: Invite students to express themselves through blog writing. It could be about their favorite special day or a personal experience tied to a particular celebration.

Expressive Arts:
Foster creativity by encouraging students to create posters, design artwork, write songs or raps, or even perform role-plays based on these special days.

Educational Adventures: Take the learning beyond the classroom. Plan a museum visit, organize quizzes, watch related videos, or compile a reading list to deepen their understanding.

Interactive Learning: For younger kids, engage them with interactive tasks like pointing out visuals, answering questions, and finding elements related to specific celebrations.

What can you do with these printables?

These are some suggestions:
  • Talk about each special day
  • Have students do a blog about it
  • Organise a writing competition
  • Get students to write a song or rap about it
  • Do a role-play about it
  • Have students design a poster about it
  • Watch a video about it
  • Display a quiz about it
  • Go to a museum about it
  • Create a reading list about it
  • Research more about it online
  • Follow instructions:
  • Point to the fireworks
  • Find the Chinese Dragon
  • Answer questions:
  • Who is MLK?
  • Can you see the fireworks?
  • Where is Winnie the Pooh?
  • With older kids:
  • When is Chinese New Year celebrated?
  • Where? Why? How?

January is…

•National Bath Safety Month

•National Blood Donor Month

•National Braille Literacy Month

•National Hobby Month

•Hot Tea Month

•National Oatmeal Month National Soup Month

Special Days

1- New Year’s Day

2- National Nutella Day

3- National Weatherperson's Day

4- Spaghetti Day

5- La Befana

6- The Three Kings Day

15- Hat Day

18- Thesaurus Day

18- Winnie the Pooh Day

19- National Popcorn Day

20- Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday

20- Penguin Awareness Day

25-Chinese New Year

25- Opposite Day

26- Australia Day

27-Chocolate Cake Day

31-Backward Day

Activity Ideas for January’s Special Days

Create:Hobby-themed crafts for National Hobby Month.
Posters celebrating Martin Luther King Jr.'s teachings.
Artwork representing Chinese New Year traditions.

Explore:Stories about different hobbies.
Biographies of influential personalities like MLK Jr.
Customs and legends associated with the Chinese New Year.
Every day is a special day in the ESL classroom - but these are our favorite!

Here's a list of read-aloud books (and book companions) that are great for ESL learners in January:

"The Snowy Day" by Ezra Jack Keats: A classic winter story about a young boy's adventures in the snow. 
Grab some ideas to do with this book

"The Mitten" by Jan Brett: A Ukrainian folktale retold with beautiful illustrations, perfect for discussing winter animals. 
Grab some ideas to do with this book

"Snowmen at Night" by Caralyn Buehner: Imaginative story about what snowmen might do when no one is watching. Grab some ideas to do with this book

"Bear Snores On" by Karma Wilson: Follow Bear and his friends as they have a winter party while Bear sleeps through it. 
Grab some ideas to do with this book

"Penguin Problems" by Jory John: A funny and relatable story about a penguin who always sees the negative side of things.

"Sneezy the Snowman" by Maureen Wright: A playful tale about a snowman who tries to avoid melting. 
Grab some ideas to do with this book

"The Hat" by Jan Brett: Another beautifully illustrated book by Jan Brett, this time following the story of a hedgehog who discovers a lost hat and wears it as winter attire.

"Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?" by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle: A rhythmic book that introduces young readers to different animals and their sounds. 
Grab some ideas to do with this book

These books can engage young learners and inspire discussions about winter, animals, friendship, and imagination. Enjoy your reading time!

Themes to teach during January

January offers several thematic opportunities for ESL classes. Here are some themes that could be engaging and relevant for ESL learners during this month:

Winter: Discussing winter-related vocabulary, weather, activities, and holidays like New Year's and Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Grab some ideas here

New Year's Resolutions: Encouraging learners to talk about their goals and aspirations for the new year, practicing future tenses and goal-setting vocabulary. 
Grab some ideas here

Cultural Celebrations: Exploring different cultural celebrations or holidays that occur in January around the world, such as Chinese New Year or Epiphany. 
Grab some ideas here

Weather and Seasons: Comparing and contrasting winter weather with the weather in other seasons, discussing how seasons vary in different parts of the world. 
Grab some ideas here

Martin Luther King Jr.: Learning about the civil rights movement, discussing equality, diversity, and the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. 
Grab some ideas here

Hibernation and Animals in Winter
: Exploring how animals adapt to winter, discussing hibernation, migration, and animal behavior during colder months.

Healthy Living: Focusing on health-related vocabulary, discussing staying active in winter, eating well, and self-care routines.

Winter Sports and Activities: Introducing vocabulary related to winter sports like skiing, ice skating, snowboarding, etc., and discussing popular winter activities in different cultures.

Each of these themes offers ample opportunities for vocabulary building, discussions, cultural exploration, and language practice within an ESL classroom setting. You can tailor these themes to suit the language proficiency level and interests of your students.

January hosts several cultural celebrations and observances around the world:

New Year's Day (Global): Celebrated on January 1st, New Year's Day marks the beginning of the Gregorian calendar. People worldwide celebrate with parties, fireworks, countdowns, and various customs to welcome the new year.

Chinese New Year (China and several other Asian countries): Falling between January 21st and February 20th, this lunar festival involves vibrant celebrations with dragon and lion dances, family reunions, lantern displays, and feasting. Each year is represented by an animal from the Chinese zodiac.

Hogmanay (Scotland): The Scottish celebration of New Year's Eve involves torchlight processions, street parties, traditional Ceilidh dancing, and the singing of "Auld Lang Syne."

Three Kings' Day (Día de los Reyes or Epiphany): Celebrated on January 6th, this holiday commemorates the arrival of the three wise men to visit baby Jesus. In many Hispanic cultures, it involves gift-giving, processions, and special foods like Rosca de Reyes (Three Kings' cake).

Pongal (South India): A four-day harvest festival usually starting on January 14th, Pongal honors the sun god Surya. It involves cooking rice in milk outdoors until it overflows to symbolize prosperity and abundance.

Vasant Panchami (India): Celebrated in late January or early February, Vasant Panchami marks the arrival of spring. It's dedicated to Saraswati, the goddess of learning and arts. People wear yellow, fly kites, and perform cultural events.

Seollal (Korean Lunar New Year): Celebrated between late January and mid-February, Seollal involves ancestral rituals, traditional games, and family gatherings to usher in the new year.

Timkat (Ethiopian Epiphany): Celebrated on January 19th, Timkat is the Ethiopian Orthodox Christian celebration of Epiphany. It involves colorful processions, music, and reenactments of Jesus' baptism.

These celebrations in January highlight the diversity of cultural traditions, religious observances, and festive customs observed by various communities around the world. Each celebration carries its unique significance and offers insights into the values and customs of different cultures.

Let's make every day a celebration in our ESL classroom! Encourage curiosity, creativity, and cultural awareness as we dive into the rich tapestry of special days.

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How do you plan to celebrate these days in your classroom? Share your ideas below and let's create a vibrant learning community together!

Happy January!

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