The Mailbox® Plus—the established leader in providing teacher-created ideas that really work—is edited by educators who are experienced at assessing what teachers will find valuable and worth incorporating into lessons. We’re sharing our “From the Editor” letters for January, where the editors of The Mailbox Plus share January memories as well as some fun activities that can help teachers get the new year off on the right foot.
Prekindergarten Activities for January
Editor Kimberly Ann Brugger writes:
“It’s a new year! What will you and your students accomplish? Personally, my goal this year is to go forward with courage and bravery. Instead of shying away from new things, I’m going to give them a try. After all, good things happen when you’re a little bit afraid. That’s why I’ve included a feature in this issue titled I Can Be Brave. Little ones encounter a lot of new things that can seem scary. The duo of activities in this feature reminds them that it’s okay to be afraid and brave at the same time. What other goodies are in this issue? Here are some of my favorites!
- Lesson Plans on Snowflakes—Plan an entire day of activities on snowflakes with this handy graphic organizer and collection of printables.
- Polar Math—Penguins, polar bears, icebergs, and arctic hares! These chilly math activities feature polar animals and more.
- I Can Hear Beginning Sounds—Spotlight beginning sounds with these engaging literacy activities!
- Busy Kids®: Fine-Motor Fun for January—Promote fine-motor skills with these adorable printables.”
Kindergarten and Grade 1 Activities for January
Editor Amy Erickson Corkhill writes:
“A few years ago, my family and I lost electricity at home due to a winter storm. Usually our power is restored pretty quickly, but this time it wasn’t. Instead of staying in a cold, dark house, my daughter and I went to our local science center. By some good fortune it was open (and warm!). We had a great time, especially at the penguin exhibit. The penguins were so entertaining that we quickly forgot about our storm-related issues at home.
“You can always count on penguins to be fun. That’s what makes them such a great classroom topic. January is a perfect time to use penguin-themed activities since Penguin Awareness Day is January 20. Of course, you’ll find lots of other wintry resources in this issue, including Ready-to-Use Lessons for January.
“Penguin Problems is an adorable booklet activity that features addition problems. Students are also sure to enjoy the partner game Roll, Read, and Cover: Short e CVC Words.
For Grade 1
“The Plunge Into Text Features packet includes text feature posters highlighting these amazing birds and Penguin Teamwork, a text feature practice page. Be sure to check out All in a Row, too. It’s a problem-solving task card with supercute penguin illustrations.”
January Activities for Grades 2–3
Editor Jen Moore writes:
“I hope your December was joyous and your winter break was relaxing. As you get ready for the next part of the 2023–24 school year, I’m sure you’re looking for ways to engage your students with standards-based activities that build understanding and expand students’ learning. Here are a few ideas from this issue of The Mailbox that do just that.
- We Have a Dream—Introduce students to Dr. King and lead them to consider what actions encourage peaceful relationships with this activity that’s just right for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
- Adapting to the Cold—This reading passage and question set focuses on basic adaptations of polar animals.
- Addition Matchup—With this partner activity, students demonstrate how to use place value skills to solve addition problems that have sums within 1,000.
- Planning Garden Plots—Students get plenty of practice solving area problems with this fun get-out-of-your-seat activity.”
January Activities for Grades 4–6
Editor Becky Andrews writes:
“I’m not going to lie: my first year of teaching was rough. Really rough. I often felt like I was fishing without bait, overwhelmed with my students’ needs and my lack of experience. A wise coworker kept telling me, ‘Just get to January.’ So, when January finally arrived, I felt myself exhale. The finish line that seemed a million miles away in September was now in view. I was going to make it, and my students were going to be okay. As you continue to inch closer to this school year’s finish line, take this new issue with you. It’s packed with engaging, effective, and easy-to-use activities that you and your students will love, like the ones in these favorite sections of mine:
- Printables for January—Start the new year with must-have printables on New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Winter, and Opposite Day.
- SEL Ready-to-Use Lessons—Help students understand the importance of perseverance and perspective-taking with two lessons for social and emotional learning.
- Printables for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory—Follow up a reading of Roald Dahl’s classic tale with four engaging worksheets.
- Fraction Operations—Tackle fraction operations with printables on multiplying a fraction by a whole number and a handy set of ready-to-use word problem cards on interpreting fractions as division.”
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