A Memorable and Fun St. Patrick's Day in Your Classroom00:00
It’s that time year again! The weather’s getting warmer, the days are getting shorter, and the end of a school year is getting closer! I look forward to the spring almost as much as I look forward to Christmas. I always know spring is right around the corner when I start my preparations for St. Patrick’s Day.
I LOVE St. Patrick’s Day. Although my last name (Glenn) would lead you to believe otherwise, I am actually not Irish… but my husband is! And that gives me enough reason to go ALL OUT. As if I needed a reason.
St. Patrick’s Day is always a huge deal in my classroom. Each year I add on something new or update something old (thankyouverymuch, Pinterest). I’m going to share with you some of my most favorite ideas and activities for March 17th!
A classic way to get your students amped up for St. Patrick’s Day is to create a little “leprechaun mischief” in your classroom in the weeks before. This could be something as simple as a classroom poster turned upside down, a desk turned around, or even all of the black dry erase markers replaced with green ones. Just a little something to make the kids go “huh”? Now some people go all Elf on the Shelf with this, but I think keeping it simple is just as effective. The first time something mysterious happens, I always make a big deal about it and question all of the kids. I don’t even need to suggest it- one of my sweethearts always goes “A LEPRECHAUN DID IT!!!” The kids look forward to coming in to school each day to see what new mischief the leprechaun has caused.
If you really want to take it to the next level (naturally, I did), you might want to grab one of these little guys and his companion book.
At first glance, Silly McGilly seems a lot like a certain elf we all know and love. However, he’s actually a little different. He’s just a toy that you can leave by your classroom window as a signal for a real Silly McGilly to visit and play a trick. That being said, many teachers choose to use him the same way you would use the elf. Do what works best for you! You can find Silly McGilly and the companion book by clicking here.
Leprechaun mischief isn’t the only thing I have going on in my classroom. I always try to have a craft activity available for each holiday, and when there’s a math or ELA component it’s always a bonus. St. Patrick’s Day is no exception! This year I created this little craftivity to engage my students in practicing different ways to show a number since we are working on place value.
Craftivities take a little extra prep- and I try to make sure I have plenty of materials for all of my students. At the same time, I don’t like to waste anything. To make prep easier, I had my students complete this Project Planner one day before we started cutting and assembling. Each student had to select a number, draw a quick pic, and then write how many tens and ones and the expanded form. After collecting these papers I was able to see exactly how many pieces I would need. Everything was ready the next day!
Students then referred back to the Project Planner to fill in the appropriate parts of the craft and then cut out all of the pieces.
Once all pieces were cut out, I showed them (in small groups) how to arrange and glue the rainbow strips.
The rest was very easy! I displayed the step by step visual directions on the SmartBoard and walked around to assist and reinforce as needed. My coteacher and I helped staple the raindrops (ones) at the very end. The kids LOVED this one. So bright, colorful, and cheery! You can find this activity on TpT by clicking here if you’d like to make it with your own students.
Something else wonderful and FUN that I love to do is this wonderful little activity from Falling into First. I tell the kids that we are going to try and catch the little leprechaun! I give them each a Styrofoam cup and ask them to use markers to decorate it to look like a hat for the leprechaun. That’s our bait. Then each child sets it up on their desks in a way that he or she thinks the leprechaun will get caught. After the students leave for the day, I collect all of the “hats” and bring them home. (Be sure that each student wrote his or her name somewhere on the cup). I bake them in my oven (pre-heated) for about 15 seconds. The cups shrink down in size almost instantly! The next morning, I place each hat back onto the appropriate desk. When the students come in they are always BAFFLED at how they shrunk! We talk about how the leprechaun outsmarted us and used his magic to shrink the hats! This one turns even the most skeptical students into believers!
The fun doesn’t stop there. Last year I discovered this fantastic resource from Andrea Knight on TpT with St. Patrick’s day themed science experiments you can do with your class. My kids had SO much fun with this! Here are a couple photos from our “experiments”. You can find the product on TpT by clicking here.
If you plan to end the day with a party, there are many awesome ideas for snacks on Pinterest, but my personal favorite are these rainbow fruit skewers. Super easy, beautiful to look at, delicious to eat, and healthful, too. Awesome! Just a note- I always have a talk with my students about safety when it comes to the skewers. Also- I always collect them myself when the kids are finished with the fruit rather than have them throw it out themselves. Better safe than sorry!
With this St. Patrick’s Day arriving in about two weeks, Silly McGilly is making his first “appearance” (mischief) in my classroom on Monday. I can’t wait to bring the excitement and joy of this fun holiday to my current students with my favorite activities!
What are your favorite ideas or activities for March 17th? Comment below!
Visit my blog Real Life in First Grade for more fun ideas and activities for primary classrooms!
by Melissa Glenn