The first week back after a holiday break can feel like the first week back after summer vacation. Having lesson plans prepped and ready will make the transition easier for you. Check out Language Arts Lesson Plans for January! You will find generalized plans for any grade as well as specific plans I used in 4th grade.


Look over your scope and sequence. What haven’t you covered? What do you still need to cover before testing? I know, that dreaded word, testing. However, you want your students to be prepared and you want to make sure you are covering all the standards you are required to teach.


Before you leave for the holiday break, plan your instruction for the first couple week of your return. Make copies of the materials you will need, gather websites or links, organize any books you will use, etc. You will start the year feeling organized, refreshed, and ready for the new year! You will find plans and ideas below of what I liked to cover in January each year.


This is the perfect opportunity to work on goals. You can start by introducing New Year’s Resolutions. You can then ask the students to focus on an academic goal for the year. Are you focusing on a specific subject? You can also ask them to create a goal for that subject. For example, writing goals. Students can look through their writing to see where they need to improve. Do they need to improve word choice, punctuation, or exciting beginnings? Check out more ideas for WRITING GOALS HERE.


Half-way through the year and after a long break is a great time to revisit your classroom management. Is it working? Do you need some changes? It is perfectly ok to change up some rules and even start a new management plan. 

  • Do you need new rules?
  • Do you want to start using awards or rewards for positive classroom management? 
  • What about working on Social Emotional Learning (SEL) for the rest of the year? Start a journal!
  • Do you need a new idea for classroom jobs? What about team jobs?
  • Do you want to focus on a character trait each month for the rest of the year? 


This will certainly vary for everyone depending on your district or standards. Below you will find what I taught in fourth grade in January. I often focused on Mythological Allusions (CCSS.RL.4.4) this time of year. I also taught Compare and Contrast for the overall structure of informational text (CCSS.RI.4.5) including chronology, comparison, cause/effect, problem/solution. This ties well into what I was teaching in writing. Along with the units, I used differentiated reading passages for practice and differentiated reading response notebooks to use with any story we were reading in class.


Greek and Latin:  

If you have units for Greek and Latin words, it is important to continue along with them, so students can learn more affixes and root words to decode big words. This will help them especially during testing. I remember a time when my students were excited because there was a difficult word on the state test, and they were so confident in understanding its meaning. What a happy teaching moment!

Academic Vocabulary:

One thing that often gets overlooked is academic vocabulary. It is important that students understand terminology in the questions on the upcoming state test. I often began going over academic vocabulary towards the end of January.


When January rolls around, there is often panic in the air for writing. In my district, our writing exams were in March. If you didn’t spend much time on writing instruction prior to January, it is crunch time! Most years, I would be on track. I would have already taught sentence structure, paragraph writing, narrative writing, and opinion writing. Starting in January, I would focus on informative writing and then do a review on all types of writing. Text Dependent Analysis was also part of my curriculum. Although I taught a Text Evidence Unit several months ago, I would practice TDA writing towards the end of January using the skills from that unit.


I included this with language arts because I taught some of my reading lessons using social studies informational text. Kill two birds with one stone, right? In my district, we taught United States History in 4th grade and I always planned an American Revolution Unit this time of year. It usually took more than one month to teach this huge unit. Looking ahead, I knew I still needed to teach Westward Expansion, Civil War, Reconstruction, and Industrial Revolution.  

I hope these ideas got your mind ready to prepare for the new year in your classroom! Use this planning template to help you look at your scope and sequence for the year. 

Keep Rockin’,