Monday, February 17, 2014

St. Patrick Day Activities

My ESOL team and I have been actively ACCESS testing our kids for weeks. On top of that, we've had holidays and snow days. Since we're wrapping things off, it will soon be time to plan the next units, plan for centers, and plan of CRCT review. Ah! Testing season is approaching.  

With Valentine's Day behind us, it's time to pull out some green ideas. Green for St. Patty's Day!

Leprechaun's Visit
I'm not wild about the mischievous leprechaun that turns the classroom upside down. My A-type personality making an appearance, as you can see. I do like to tell the students that the leprechaun turned everything green (i.e., bulletin boards, decor, all the markers, all the crayons, all the construction paper, etc.) while we were out for the weekend and leaves a glitter trail behind. I choose amongst the St. Patrick's Day books I already have displayed in the classroom, and as we're discussing the book (or insert appropriate standard here), I pretend I've heard something. "You guys, I'm not sure what I just heard. (Whispering) Do you think the leprechaun is still here?" "Why do you think he'd still be here?" "If you guys can do so very quietly, we can all look around the classroom to see if you see him or any clues."  My classes are very small, so this is manageable. Hopefully, as they look around, someone finds THIS... his hat!

Now, I can't say whether the kids are just going along with it, or if I'm so skilled an actress that they fall for my little tale, but the kids lose their minds over this hat. I have to say it's cute. Easy to make, too! All you need is an old Keurig cup and some glitter and embellishments. I found the idea a few years ago while studnet teaching. CLICK HERE for the tutorial. I allow them to gently pass it around, and we figure out what to do next. Ah! The discussions I've heard. I love them! At the end of class, I tell the students that I'm putting the hat in a very safe place before deciding what to do.

The next day, the leprechaun has written our class a letter, begging the students to let him have his hat back. I've changed the letter over the years, but he mentions how cold his head is, he promises gold, he begs to not be trapped, he promises green skittles, he thanks them for being kind and understanding. I know I have this whole process wrong, and we're supposed to trap him and yadda yadda, but I'd rather use this as a moment to teach the kiddos compassion, and hey, this way, we can do some letter-writing. With my ESOL kids, we usually write a class letter through guided writing. This gives them brainstorming ideas and scaffolds them for writing at the end of the week. 

We usually end our week with "If I were a leprechaun for a day" writing activity. We discuss point of view, and use all of our leprechaun knowledge from the week filled with leprechaun activities that ends with St. Patrick's Day treats, of course! Perhaps, we sprinkle some fake gold in there... all courtesy of the very appreciative leprechaun. 

The writing paper and various activities are included in this packet. However, I've seen a hand full of precious construction paper crafts for similar activities on Pinterest. This packet includes writing papers for all elementary levels (line spacing), boy and girl templates, color and blackline, a book report sheet, and a crossword. There is a version of the crossword puzzle with some letters filled in and the completed key. 

Hope this gives you some creative ideas for St. Patrick's Day. It's a little bit different, I know. Hope you can appreciate the different perspective. Best of luck to ya!

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