New Year Lesson Plan

Instructor: Heather Jenkins

Heather has a bachelor's degree in elementary education and a master's degree in special education. She was a public school teacher and administrator for 11 years.

Celebrating the New Year is important to many different cultures. Use this lesson to help students learn about the diverse ways in which cultures celebrate the New Year. A group activity is included to have students write a New Year song.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion, students will be able to:

  • identify and describe New Year celebrations around the world
  • compare and contrast New Year celebrations in various countries and cultures


1-2 hours


  • New Year's hat and/or noise maker
  • Audio clip of Auld Lang Syne
  • Copies of lyrics to Auld Lang Syne
  • Chart paper
  • Markers
  • Access to print/online resources

Curriculum Standards


Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.


Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including vocabulary specific to domains related to history/social studies.


  • Show the class a New Year party hat and/or noise maker. Ask students to identify what holiday they associate with the items.
  • Have students brainstorm what they know about New Year and how it is celebrated.
  • Review the lesson New Year Celebrations Around the World pausing after 'The History of Auld Lang Syne' section.
  • Provide students with copies of the lyrics to Auld Lang Syne and play an audio clip of the song. Have students discuss how the lyrics of the song relate to the ideas of the New Year holiday and why people celebrate the New Year.
  • Read the remainder of the lesson together.
  • Divide the class into small groups, and provide each group with chart paper and markers to create a Venn diagram comparing how their culture celebrates New Year to one of the countries/cultures in the lesson.
    • Assign each group a country/culture to compare to their own: Belgium, Jewish/Israel, China, Brazil, or Spain.
    • Allow students the opportunity to consult other print/online resources about their assigned culture.
    • Have groups present their Venn diagrams to the class.
  • Discuss the following questions with the class:
    • Why do people celebrate the New Year?
    • What are some different ways in which people of diverse backgrounds celebrate the New Year?
    • How do cultural traditions affect the ways in which people choose to celebrate the New Year holiday?
  • Have students complete the lesson quiz.

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