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Lesson planning is imperative, but sometimes it’s fun (and necessary) to step away from traditional plans in order to recharge your students’ interest in learning. An easy way to do so is by simply following the momentum of your calendar year.

January has a plethora of monthly, weekly, and daily observances as well as famous birthday anniversaries that you can tie into curriculum practice. Studying the Southern Hemisphere? Incorporate Australia Day games and activities. Working on measurements? It’s National Soup Month. Why not practice those skills with recipes? And how about famous authors? Edgar Allan Poe was born on January 19th, 1809.

In addition to well-known holidays, here are a handful of January dates and observances to use when looking for a creative alternative. abcteach has materials that adapt to many of these special times, so take a look around and find what suits you best!


  • Betsy Ross – January 1st
  • Louis Braille – January 4th
  • Elvis Presley – January 8th
  • Stephen Hawking – January 8th
  • Lewis Carroll – January 27th
  • Jackie Robinson – January 31st


  • Chinese New Year – January 23
  • Australia Day – January 26th

Special Observances

  • Inauguration Day – January 20th
  • National Handwriting Day – January 23rd
  • National Puzzle Day – January 29th
  • National Thank You Month
  • National Mentoring Month
  • National Soup Month
  • 100th day of class for some schools


5 Responses to “Lesson Plans: Get Creative with Alternates!”

  1. Amy Fal

    Does anyone have a unit on Dolphin Tale? Planning reading book with 5th graders.

  2. admin

    Hi Amy,

    Thank you again for your comment. As I mentioned in my email, if you can’t find what you’re looking for on the site, please contact our Member Support Team at While we cannot promise items will be made, many of our materials come from member requests.

    Please let us know if there is anything else we can do. Thanks!

  3. Elizabeth McKenna

    Yes! You can make a Paper Dolphin from construction paper, watercolors, and well, markers! Then, read throuought the book, think of activities that the characters would do, and do a report with four to five kids in a group – that is, act out the activity with props, costumes, and lots more! Just be creative!

  4. Elizabeth McKenna

    I am doing a report on Fun, Creative writing with genius kindergarteners. I mean seriously genius! One can recite pie! Another can state every capitol in the WORLD. I really need some help here!

  5. admin

    Hi Elizabeth,

    Wow, that is amazing – and fun! We’ve brainstormed the following ideas for you and your class. We hope you enjoy!

    – Make puppet characters (either paper bag puppets or abcteach’s paper roll pals). Develop a story around them. Use story grammar – setting, characters, problem/conflict conclusion, etc. – as a model.

    – Use mini offices as the setting/background for the stories your students created.

    – This is Presidents’ Month. There are lots of US symbols that younger children should begin having a background with.

    – There are unending possibilities with our abctools. We’d suggest using parental participation, because you can’t do this individually with each student. Teach the student to generate his/her own activity.

    Design their own glyph around Valentine’s Day, Lincoln, Washington, etc.

    Even though your students are advanced, they are still little kids. Let their minds create. Set them up to work in groups and brainstorm ideas. It’s important for very smart children to learn to collaborate.

    Best of luck to you!

    The abcteach Team

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