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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Saint Patrick's Day Teaching Tips

Saint Patrick's Day Teaching Tips

By Freda J. Glatt 
"Top o' the mornin' to ye! Do you have your green ready to wear? Whether or not you are Irish, this holiday is fun for all and presents the opportunity for a multi-cultural lesson. Here are some ideas for you to try.

  1. Speak to your children using an Irish brogue. This will captivate their interest!
  2. Who was St. Patrick? Why is there a holiday named for him? Are Irish children in school on this day? Let children do research to find out.
  3. Discuss some of the symbols for St. Patrick's Day and explain what they mean. Classify them as real or unreal. For instance, shamrocks are real but pots of gold at the end of the rainbow are not.
  4. Read aloud part of a fictional St. Patrick's Day story. Have your children write their own endings. Read them out loud or hang them on a bulletin board for all to read. NOTE: This may also be done with small groups of children working together!
  5. Afterwards, read the ending of the story you started. Have the children compare the author's ending with their outcomes. Which was more realistic? Which was more funny? Which did they like best?
  6. This would be an excellent time for a cooking experiment. Remember the story "Green Eggs and Ham?" Try making some green eggs, green vanilla pudding pops, or anything else that would be suitable for your age group. Green food coloring could be added to white frosting before icing some cupcakes. Let the children taste the frosting while it is white and ask them to predict how it will taste after it becomes green. Were they right? Compare!
  7. While your children are out, sprinkle some green glitter on desks, tables, or the floor. Perhaps you can write a note in an unusual handwriting. Of course, you will feign innocence as to how those things got there! What do the children think happened?
  8. Older children may find out more about Ireland. What are the similarities and differences to your own country? How are you and the Irish children similar and different? Make Venn Diagrams for your comparisons.
  9. Here is a finger play, "Ten Funny Leprechauns," taken from Swing into Spring, Macmillan Seasonal Activity Packs, 1988, Macmillan Educational Company. Try making finger puppets to accompany this dramatic play!
"Ten funny leprechauns
Danced in a line.
One found a shamrock
And then there were nine.

Nine sleepy leprechauns
Stayed out too late.
One fell fast asleep
And then there were eight.

Eight little leprechauns
All named Kevin.
One said, "I'm Joe!"
And then there were seven.

Seven helpful leprechauns
Picked up some sticks.
One grew tired of this
And then there were six.

Six hot leprechauns
All took a dive.
One did a belly flop
And then there were five.
Five jolly leprechauns
Ran through the door.
One ran back again
And then there were four.

Four thirsty leprechauns
Sat down to tea.
One didn't like it
And then there were three.

Three tiny leprechauns
Hid inside a shoe.
One fell out again
and then there were two.

Two laughing leprechauns
Went for a run.
One ran very fast
And then there was one.

One lonely leprechaun
Wanted to have fun.
He joined all the rest
And then there were none."

This poem lends itself well to lessons on adjectives, verbs, and rhyming words. Use different colored crayons, markers, or highlighters to determine answers.

I hope these ideas are useful and ignite your own creativity!"

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