February flew by and now we are marching into March. A long time ago when I was growing up my Mom told me I had a lot of Irish blood from my dad’s side of the family. She told me I had a lot of other things too, but Irish stuck out to me. I became unusually proud of this, even though I’m not all that sure that I have that much Irish in me. In any case my Mom new how important it was that we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day to me, even though I am a Christian. For fun, my mom would lay out all of my “quints dolls” and all their stuff and leave a tiny note from the mischievous leprechauns. I also ate green toast from our local grocery store, which made green bread for St. Patrick’s Day. Green scrambled eggs and ham, and of course we had to have Corned Beef and Cabbage for dinner. Well, needless to say the tradition carried on from her, to me, to my kids. We still watch Darby O’ Gill and the little people, and I pretend we have mini visitors that night before St. Patrick’s day that leave coins behind. My kids love it. This then carried over into my teaching life and turned into a tradition in my classroom. It wasn’t a huge deal, but it did make the day a little more interesting. One day was dedicated to the whole leprechaun traditions, and stories, and a leprechaun treasure hunt. The rest of the week we spent following their rainbows, and learning all we could about rainbows. Here is the lay out of activities for the week. The little extras I’ll add at the end to keep you in suspense.
Handprint: ( Green paint, orange paint, beige paint, or beige or white paper, yellow paper, green paper, plastic forks, googly eyes, a paper corn cob pipe)
Paint the fingers and tip of the thumb green. This will make up the hat I use the orange paint around the bottom of the palm up to the green to create the beard. Then I let them place their hand palm down on the paper. The blank part in the middle is the face. Glue the googly eyes under the green part, draw in a nose and a mouth. You have a cute little leprechaun.
Green Pepper Shamrocks:
Need: green paint, finger, and green pepper rings.
Prep: Cut the top off of the pepper, take all the seeds out and then slice the pepper all the way through. Then dip in the green paint, and place onto a white sheet of paper and press down, use the pointer finger to draw a line to be the stem.
Rainbow R’s with pot of Gold:
Need: R outline, black pots cut out of construction paper, and markers. Yellow died rice.
(How to make yellow rice: 1 cup of rice, Vinegar, food coloring, and a towel to dry the rice on.)
Directions: Have the kids use one color at a time to trace the R. Make sure to demonstrate using an over head or a white board. Then After each color has been used to create your rainbow R’s. Then I like to have them glue on the black pots at the end of the R, only if you do this unit with St. Patrick’s day close by. For the Gold you can add yellow rice.
Rainbow wind socks:
Need: Two cloud outlines, stapler, or white yarn, and tape whole punch cotton balls or cotton batting. You also need red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple streamers.
Directions: For little kids I staple the edges of the clouds and let them glue the cotton balls on and/or stuff with cotton batting. For older kids, I have them practice the fine motor skills of sewing by sewing the edges together and then stuffing with cotton balls or cotton batting. Then I have them glue the streamers on the bottom. I punch a hole in the top to hang a string through and tie a loop to make a hanger.
(Also uses Math ordinal, and Social Following directions)
Need: Red, Yellow, Blue paint, fingers, and White or Blue Paper. Optional: Cotton Balls for clouds, and glue.
Directions: For this I give each student a little paint palate with Red, Yellow, and Blue. We talk about mixing colors, and what colors we can mix to make the next color in the rainbow. An example of this would be, I have them start with the U Shape with Red with their fingers. Then I have them mix red and yellow to make their orange. Then we do the Orange U inside the red U. We keep doing this all the way till we reach purple. Then I ask, What is wrong with our Rainbow. (It’s upside down) Yep, turn your U upside down so that it now makes a rainbow.
Pots of Gold:
Need: Black Paper, Gold Spray Paint, Wagon wheel Pasta.
Prepare ahead of time: I spray paint the wagon wheels by myself to save on mess and headaches. I also trace the cutouts with white crayon onto black paper before hand so that it is easier for them to see.
I take a simple pot outline and trace it onto black paper. I do this so that they can practice cutting. I have them practice cutting out the black pots. Then I have them glue the gold wagon wheels into their pots. They have to dry so make sure to do this at the end of the day so they can stay on the tables for a while and not be moved. You could have them count out ten and glue on ten or seven if you want to go with the number of the week.
For this activity, you may need to reach back into some old teacher tech, or even older home tech. You need either a overhead projector or a flash light. You also need Red, Yellow, and Blue cellophane paper. You could just cut out squares or you could make them into fancy shapes, either way, you demonstrate, first and then let them have a shot.
Demonstration: I first talk about rainbows, and how rainbows are actually made when there is water in the air, and the sunlight hits those rain drops and splits the light into the different colors. I say when two colors meet that is when you get new color. For instance if I take Blue and Yellow, what color do you think I will make? I have them make predictions. Then I take my blue coin(circle) and my yellow coin(circle) and I slowly slide them together across the flashlight or over head to create suspense. All of a sudden tada, we get green. I ask them what color we made, if they aren’t already yelling. Then I ask a volunteer to come up and we mix a few more colors on our rainbow overhead and see what happens. Sometimes I leave this out for a little while during free play so that they can experiment with the colors themselves. This also works very well with the book, “Mouse Paint”. In that case I made an over head of a mouse, and then added the cellophane on top of the mouse to make the mouse turn colors. The kids laughed and laughed.
This activity can be a messy activity or it can be a semi clean one, your choice. Going with our rainbow discussion, I talk about how we can mix our colors at school to to make colors we need. Just in case someone might have the color we need, we can make our own.
The messy way is to give each child an ice cream bucket cover and give them each red and yellow paint, blue and yellow paint, and red and blue paint. Then have them mix their colors on the Palates(cover) and then finger paint their rainbow.
The clean way is to put two colors of paint in a ziplock baggie. Tape the top closed with packing tape or masking tape, and then have them mix the colors in the bag to see what they get. After they have mixed the colors though, you can do some literacy with them by having them practice writing R’s and L’s in the pain in the bags. Then the can erase them by using their palm to rub the bag smooth again. Again a twofer, two classes in one with objectives met, or reviewing objectives from other classes.
Counting the pots of gold:
Need: Plastic black pots, Scrap booking number stickers, and plastic gold coins, or gold pasta from Pots of gold art project.
I put this out as a center. Then the kids can help the leprechaun practice counting their coins into the black pots, to match the numbers.
How many Green to Gold Coins: (Graphing)
The green and gold coins I get from Oriental trading, is a great way to get the kids excited about the day. In the morning before everyone gets there I hide the coins all over, and cut out some little green foot prints that lead up to a letter that tells them they need to help the leprechauns find their gold coins that they lost in the classroom. I hide some in easy spots to get them going, like their cubby, and at their seat. then I leave them in all different areas, so they continue to find them through out the day. Towards the end of the day, I have them count up their coins. Then we sort them, and I have them graph it on their graphing chart. I use green for the green coins, and yellow for the gold coins.
Number 7 for the Seven Colors in the Rainbow:
I use this song, while doing all of our rainbow art projects to review the orders of the colors. This song goes to the tune brother John.
Song: There are seven colors, there are seven colors, in a rainbow, in a rainbow, red, orange, and yellow, green, blue and indigo, purple too, purple too.
Graphing Favorite Colors:
One day at the beginning of the day, as a morning activity, I have each student grab a piece of paper that is their favorite color and put it into a basket. Kind of a how are you today activity. Then at math time I pull out the slips, and we glue the colored slips onto a piece of paper, stacking similar colors, to see which color tower is the biggest. Then we count and write the numbers below. Then we compare which color has the most, least, which are the same, and any that are very different than the rest. Maybe there is a tower that has none, or a tower that is huge compared to all the others.
Sorting Lucky Charms:
This very simple activity is a lot of fun and very yummy. Makes for a great snack one day and Math lesson all in one. For this you need a muffin tin for each child, and a small bowl with lucky charms in it.
Lucky Charms Box Cover Puzzle:
Since I had the box from our previous activity, I cut up the cover into different shaped pieces and put it out to see if the kids could put it back together. This was an easy activity, that they loved, and was kind of already included in the price, because I needed the cereal for the previous activity. As my cooking teacher said its a twofer, meaning that you got two things out of one in this case, you got three, you got sorting, puzzle, and a snack for the day. It should be called a threefer. Ok maybe not. I am not so good at creating new words I guess.
For this I like to take yellow pool noodles and cut them into rings about 2 inches wide depending on the size of your pool noodle. I divide the students into four groups (or more if needed) and give each group a hula hoop. The hula hoop is their pot. I put all of the pool noodle rings in the middle of the gym floor or back yard. Then I tell them they are leprechauns and they have to steal gold coins for their pot from the other leprechauns. Remind them though if they leave their pot unattended then more leprechauns can get to their pot. I suggest posting a guard at their pot. If you have older kids and they can handle it, you could even say if the guard tags you while trying to steal a coin, you have to sit until a team mate frees you. Then I tell them I’m giving them 2 minutes, to get that gold. No fighting over a coin, or you have to sit. Then I let them go. It’s funny how much they do NOT want to sit during Phy Ed time.
Chalk Rainbows: simple yet fun activity, to take the kids outside and make rainbows on the sidewalk. Of course this can only be done, if the weather cooperates. You can always make chalk rainbows on black paper too. They actually turn out kind of cool. The chalk appears brighter because of the dark paper.
Field Trip/ Visitor:
Have someone speak about Ireland or St. Patrick’s Day. A field trip that you could do, if it is nice, is go look for shamrocks in the yard, field or playground.
For this we talk about traditions in our families. First I would say, “My family has a tradition of having corned beef and cabbage tonight on St. Patrick’s Day. How many of you do the same thing on St. Patrick’s day?” Then we discuss other forms of traditions, bedtime, religious, and holiday traditions. We talk about why we think they are important, and then we write an (LES) Language Experience Story about different traditions we have out our houses.
Sharing with those in need:
This may be a little of a stretch, but my children usually have problems sharing the leprechaun coins, even if they know someone only has one and they have fifteen. It doesn’t matter. I take this opportunity to talk about sharing, especially with those less fortunate than us. I explain what less fortunate means: May have less than us. I give a brief overview of what poverty is. Then I do a comparison of their lives, where did you wake up this morning? (In a bed, in my house) What if you had to sleep in a box in an alley, or on a cot in a room with fifty other people? You can figure out more examples. I also tend to show them pictures of people in need, either here at home or in Africa, or other places. Ask what they notice. We talk about how God has truly blessed us. We may not get what we want, but we almost always have more than we need. We made cookies once and took them to the homeless shelter to hand out. I had a lot of parental help in that one. Or you can make cards for people in a nursing home. One last thing I would try is having a can drive to collect food. If you really reach those little hearts, they can be a real driving factor to moms and dads to get more canned goods for the shelters.
Story of the Talents:
This is the Bible story from Matthew 25:14-30. It is the story of the Parable of the Bags of Gold. The Landowner gave each servant a certain amount of money. The first servant put his money to work, and put it in the bank to gain interest, the second did something similar, and the third buried his bag, because he didn’t want to loose it and have the master get angry with him. When the landowner came back he was pleased with the first servant, and the second, but the third he reprimanded, for you know I am a hard man and reap what is not mine, and harvest what I have not sown, but yet you did not think to make my money work for me. (I am just summarizing) Then he took that servants money and gave it to the first servant who used his money wisely.
How to use this story: I use this story to discuss how we use our gifts and abilities with the class. If we can help someone tie their shoes because we can, but chose not to, are we using God’s gifts the way he would want us to? (No) Another example might be, If I know about Jesus and don’t tell others which servant am I being like? (number 3) We have the greatest treasure, even greater than a pot of gold, we have Jesus. We need to share this with everyone.
Then we make invitations: Inviting a friend, neighbor, or family member to come to church with us. We can make it even more applicable if we are singing that Sunday, and inviting people to come hear us sing.
For Background music, especially on St. Patrick’s Day, I like to get one of those cheap ones from Walmart that had Irish Songs, but you have to sometimes listen to the lyrics closely, or just get ones that don’t have words. However, I found kind of a fun one that I tried with my kids, its a little tricky with really small ones, but I think if you just have it playing in the background they will love it.
One Little Leprechaun: (tune: One elephant went out to play) One leprechaun went out to play, to find a pot of gold that day, he fallowed the rainbow to the gold, then called for another leprechaun to behold.
One little, two little, three little leprechauns: One little two little three little leprechauns, four little, five little, six little leprechauns, seven little, eight little, nine little leprechauns, ten leprechauns finding gold.
Shamrocks: (jingle bells)Green shamrock, green shamrock, where are you, I want to, find you now, and have your luck–too.
Corned Beef and Cabbage
If you are brave you can attempt to give kids corned beef and cabbage, often I just brought in corned beef from the deli counter. I was never truly brave enough to bring cabbage. If this does not appeal to you, I just find a lot of green foods, green apples, green grapes, kiwis, cucumbers, and green peppers, and I let them compare the shamrock foods. Either way, if you use the corned beef and cabbage, you are teaching about culture, if you do the shamrock foods you can focus on the color of the foods. You could even graph which ones were your favorites, or you could graph the dislikes. The dislikes often gets a lot of giggles.
Drink: Green Berry Hawaiian Punch with Lime Sherbert.
Green Shamrock Hunt:
For this simple activity I buy a ton of green easter grass and put it in the sensory table and then I find foam shamrocks, oriental trading, amazon, or walmart all usually have them, sometimes even the dollar tree does too. I scatter the shamrocks through out the green grass and then have them use tweezers to help pick up the shamrocks and put them in a cup or bowl. Green cups and bowls are pretty prevalent about now, or even have little pots. Another thing I did, especially on St. Patrick’s day, is place a few of those green and gold coins scattered in the grass too. It was awesome watching the kids finding those in among the shamrocks, their faces lit up like crazy when I did that.