Celebrate the New Year with a Reading Escape Room Experience

Wow! Can you believe today is January 1st, 2024? Time flies! How did you celebrate the new year? Have you ever wondered how people from other countries celebrate the new year? In this blog post, I will introduce how Koreans, Vietnamese, Thai, Chinese, Jewish, and Japanese usher in the New Year through the immersive experience of a reading escape room activity. 

Each culture boasts unique traditions, customs, and celebrations that reflect its rich history and heritage. In Korea, the New Year, known as Seollal, is a time-honored occasion filled with deep-rooted customs that reflect the nation's rich cultural heritage. With the help of the reading escape room, we discover the significance of ancestral rites, the joy of sharing delicious foods like tteok (rice cakes), and the exuberant spirit of folk games. 

Known as Tet Nguyen Dan, or simply Tet, this festive occasion is a momentous time for the Vietnamese to honor their heritage, reconnect with family, and embrace the promise of a new beginning.

In the Jewish tradition, Rosh Hashanah marks the beginning of the High Holy Days, a period of profound significance for individuals and communities worldwide. Rosh Hashanah invites a deep contemplation of the past year's actions and a collective aspiration for a year ahead filled with blessings, forgiveness, and personal growth. 

New Year, or Oshogatsu, is when Japan decks itself out in dazzling lights, vibrant decorations, and an infectious sense of joy. We will uncover the secrets of joya no kane and the ritual ringing of temple bells, and discover why Japan's New Year festivities are a perfect blend of old-world charm and contemporary cheer. 

Songkran is not just a celebration; it's a water-soaked, joyous splash into a new beginning. Get ready to be drenched in the spirit of togetherness and renewal. Songkran, marking the traditional Thai New Year, is a time for family reunions, temple visits, and, of course, the world-famous water fights that symbolize the cleansing of the old year's misfortunes. 

During Chinese New Year, families gather for sumptuous feasts, elders imparting wisdom, and the joyful sounds of dragon and lion dances echo through the air. 

How to play:

Your 3rd to 5th graders can play this reading escape room in many ways. You can choose to let students work alone or with a partner. However, I do not advise small groups because the activity will be completed too quickly.

The tasks include the following:

  • Fill in the Blank. Read the passage and use context clues to fill in the missing words.
  • Q&A. Answer reading comprehension about the passage.
  • Word Hunt. Write the definition of 10 words and use them in a sentence.
  • Pick 6. Choose 6 words from the choices and use them in a summary of the reading passage
  • True or False. Color in the box of the true statements and unscramble the word using the letters of only true statements.

The activity differs slightly from Rosh Hashanah because it contains 16 multiple-choice questions or task cards. Here's how to play it:

Students read the informational text passage about Celebrating the Jewish New Year. The teacher cuts out each task card (16 in total), scatters them around the room, and lets students decipher their answers using a decoder to reveal the final code at the end!

Once you finish an activity in the escape room, you "earn" an item you will cut and paste on the missing sheet to "escape." And did I mention that these activities are all print-and-go? This is an excellent activity for busy teachers like you to add to your lesson planning!

There are four specific skills that your kiddos can develop more with these reading escape rooms:

  1. text marking
  2. summarizing
  3. context clues
  4. writing

Click here to purchase all the reading escape rooms!

As we enter a new year, may it be filled with the echoes of joy, the warmth of family and community, and the promise of a brighter tomorrow for us all. I can't wait to see your students' excitement before, during, and after playing this reading escape room!

Talk soon.

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