January lesson plans themes and topics

Fill your plan book fast with these ideas, themes and topics for January Lesson Plans.

If you ever get a case of the Sunday blues… then you know that the winter break blues are a real thing. That very moment that you open your lesson plan book to fill in the days for January, you face the reality that the relaxing days of slipper socks and coffee at noon that come with the holidays are gone. The Hallmark movies have moved passed the Christmas playlists and it’s time to get back to reality.

If your mind is drawing a blank and still in the land of sugarplum fairies, this list of 10 themes or topics for January Lesson Plans might be just what you need to get your teacher brain going as you start the New Year!

10 Themes and Topics for January Lesson Plans

New Year January lesson plan ideas

The New Year is a great topic especially for the first week back to school. In your January lesson plans, you can cover calendar math, New Year around the world, and even goal setting. Squirrels New Years Resolution is one of our favorite New Year Story.  I also love having a quick grab and go like a color by number or addition color by number resource themed for the New Year.

If  you’re really busy over the holidays and want an easy and ready to go printable activity booklet, I have a free activity for that here!

Snow themed January Lesson Plan ideas

Snow is a wonderful theme for wintertime. Where I am in the Northeast, there’s always excitement around the first snowfalls of the year. My students always loved learning about the different types of snowflakes and how snowflakes are created. I created this printable snow science unit for them. My third graders used these resources independently and I used the same resources for my first graders, but just supported them a bit more. Snow is also a great theme for including informational and narrative texts about snow.

snowman and snowmen themed winter lesson plan ideas

Take things one step further with Snowman themed fun in your January lesson plans! My students love reading Snowmen at Night and all the associated stories and doing some related story activities. Building a snowman is also a great procedural writing activity for students that has pretty clear steps. Preschoolers especially love snowman themed activities and I’ve created a set of resources for that here! Don’t forget to build snowmen with snow dough!

Don’t miss this super cute snow stick craft idea and free graphing pages!

penguin themed lesson plans for winter teachers

Penguins are another fun unit for students. It is also another great opportunity for informational and narrative text read alouds and research for your January lesson plans. You can learn about the life cycle of penguinspenguin story activities, or even informational emergent reader mini books that they can take home with them.

polar bear winter lesson plan ideas and printables for January

Kids LOVE polar bears. They have almost all seen a picture or stuffed animal of a polar bear and it’s so fun to learn about them. I always start the week asking kids if they think polar bears are cuddly or fierce. As the week goes on we learn more and more about them and then decide how we feel at the end of the week and write a really awesome opinion piece that they can even include text based evidence for their reasons! There are also some really cute cotton ball crafts to do with younger learners.

animals in winter. Hibernation and winter lesson plan ideas

If you haven’t already covered this theme, animals in winter is a great way to incorporate animal adaptations, read aloud narrative stories (Bear snores on), and hibernation.  You can really focus this on even comparing how animals in different places have to adapt differently in winter (is Florida or Texas different for animals than Connecticut or Oregon?)

A new year is always a great time to set goals, and do some reflection. It’s a great time to embrace kindness, peace, and tolerance.  This theme also pairs nicely with Martin Luther King Jr. This Kindness Color by Code is one of my favorites.

Learning about Martin Luther King Jr, the Civil Rights Movement and social justice is a topic that is great for this time of year. Children can learn about these issues in a way that is appropriate for them. For my first graders, we used this resource to learn and write about Martin Luther King Jr.

New Year Resolution lesson plan ideas for January

I know I’ve mentioned this in the text of some of the other topics, but I want to include goals and resolutions here (especially for those who are quick scrollers like me). Talking about the kinds of things you want to do, the actions and words you want to choose is a common theme for the beginning of the calendar year, or the school year. I’m looking for some ways to do this in some way that has follow up, so if you have any ideas for that please leave them in the comments below.

Depending on when your year stars, the 100th day might be sneaking up! We don’t spend a whole week on this theme, but there is always at least one day that is full of 100th day fun!  From color by codes, to 100 second challenges (check out the post and get the freebie here!)

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