Will He See His Shadow? Groundhog Day Activities
- Grades: PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5
Groundhog Day is February 2nd. It is said that if Punxsutawney Phil, the groundhog, sees his shadow on February 2nd, then there will be six more weeks of winter weather. If he does not see his shadow, then we are in for an early spring. I’m not so sure that we sunny Southern Californians have seen much winter weather, with our average temperatures falling in the 60s and 70s: I know that for our East Coast and Midwest friends, that's T-shirt and shorts weather. Nonetheless, our students enjoy waiting to see what Phil has to say about this year's weather.
With state testing in the near future and state standards constantly looming over our shoulders, it can be hard to find time to fit seasonal activities in. We hope that by sharing some of our Groundhog Day ideas, you will find it convenient to work these standards-based activities into your lesson plan.
Great Groundhog Reads
Go to Sleep, Groundhog! by Judy Cox is a cute story about a groundhog who goes to bed in October, but just can’t get to sleep. He keeps deciding to take a walk, hoping that it will make him tired, and each time that he emerges from his burrow, he sees things that he has never seen before.
I always enjoy reading Groundhog Gets a Say by Pamela Swallow with my kiddos. It’s a story about a groundhog that wants the world to know that there is much more to being a groundhog than we know. It is filled with jokes that students find funny.
All About Groundhogs
We visited National Geographic's child-friendly groundhog page to gather some facts about groundhogs. After visiting the Web site, we made a tree map about groundhogs. Students then used the tree map to organize their ideas and write what they learned about groundhogs on a nonfiction template. Each student’s page will be added to our class book, All About Groundhogs.
We thought it would be fun if we predicted whether or not Phil will see his shadow on February 2nd. We made a class graph using clip art from Scholastic Printables. Each student’s prediction is represented by his or her very own groundhog. We are anxious to see what the results will be when we visit the Groundhog Day site on February 2nd.
Groundhog Super Sentences
After reading Go to Sleep, Groundhog! we made a sentence patterning chart from Project G.L.A.D. (Guided Language Acquisition Design), to create super sentences based on the story. This tool is extremely helpful for the students to use while working on sentence structure.
Before sending the students off to work independently, we created a few silly sentences together. I passed out four Post-it notes to four different children. Each student placed his or her Post-it on a different colored word on the chart.
When the four words had been chosen, we chanted the sentence to the tune of "The Farmer in the Dell."
The furry groundhog
The furry groundhog
The furry groundhog peered outside his burrow!
The students then used words from the chart to write their own silly sentences.
This week we have been focusing on the use of quotation marks. For a short time, my classroom was filled with thirty little groundhogs engaged in groundhog conversation. Students wore their groundhog hats, made using clip art from Scholastic Printables, and walked around the classroom saying things they thought groundhogs might say to each other. When they returned to their seats, they used a sentence strip to write down what they had said.
As a class we completed the Cloze activity, which was a summary of Go to Sleep, Groundhog! After reading the passage to the class, we reread the passage, stopping at each blank space. Students used their whiteboards to write the word they thought would go in the blank. Once the students revealed their answers to the teacher, one student was chosen to write the correct word where it belonged. This is a quick, easy way to assess student comprehension.
As a review activity, we created this groundhog syllable sort using words taken from what we have been learning about Goundhog Day. Students cut out the words and sorted them according to the number of syllables in each word.
We hope that you enjoyed what we had to share! Check back next week as we discuss teaching large classes in the primary grades.