Will He See His Shadow? Groundhog Day Activities

By Jennifer Solis and Jenifer Boatwright on January 19, 2012
  • 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.

 

 

Groundhog Graphing

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."  

Try it:

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.

 

Groundhog Dialogue

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.

 

Story Comprehension

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Syllable Sort

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.

Comments

I loved this unit. We will be using it in February.

These are some great activities. Thank you for sharing!

Thanks for sharing these great ideas! I'll have to file them away for next year. :)

Thanks for your ideas!

There is a great 6 week activity that lets you compare weather with other school throughout the US and Canada called Project Groundhog. Students love learning about other schools. They have a ton of resources. It is open to K-6 but tomorrow(Jan 31) is the last day to register!

Thanks for ALL these simple and useful ideas... I feel compelled to share now... Here's a poem/song-chant I put together for my Kindergarten class. They love to sing, but it also teaches sight words, rhyming words, use of punctuation and touches on some Science and Math standards. I make a chart of this and will hang it in our poetry area. Students will also make a puppet to use when singing. I hope this helps anyone interested, I know I appreciated the above shared ideas!

I'm A Little Groundhog
(tune of "I'm a Little Teapot")

I'm a little groundhog, sleeping sound
Deep in my den down in the ground.
Today is a very special day.
It is my day, Groundhog Day!

I'm a little groundhog, furry and brown,
Popping up to look around.
If I see my shadow, down I go.
Six more weeks of winter to go!

I'm a little groundhog, short and stout,
February second I come out.
If my shadow is not out,
"Spring is here, now give a shout !"

Thanks Pam for the song variations!!! Those are great!!! Glad people like this one! :-)

Jen B.

I have been waiting for activities about Groundhog Day! It is really hard to find groundhog lesson plans, so I appreciate you taking the time to create a blog post giving teachers lesson ideas.

This is great! Thanks for sharing! I love the song. I just changed it some and added to it. You can take out the verse according to what he saw. Here are some added verses.

1. The furry little groundhog, the furry little groundhog, the furry little groundhog peeked outside his burrow
2....The furry little groundhog came outside to play
3....The furry little groundhog saw his big black shadow
4....The furry little groundhog ran back in his burrow
5....The furry little groundhog said, "6 more weeks of winter"
or
6....The furry little groundhog said, Spring is on the way
7...."I'm going to run and play","I'm going to run and play", The furry little groundhog said, "I'm going to run and play"
8...."I'm going to run and hide", "I'm going to run and hide", The furry little groundhog said "I'm going to run and hide"

Pam C. in NC

I love this post! Great ideas for a fun holiday!

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