When my class celebrates St. Patrick's Day, I focus on topics such as the folklore of leprechauns, shamrocks, and the Irish jig dance.
Pre-Holiday Project: Leprechaun Traps
For St. Patrick's Day, my kindergarten students are given a problem-solving activity that they create at home. The students gather together all kinds of scrap materials to make the perfect trap to catch a sneaky leprechaun.
Students have used small boxes, bags, spools, straw, yarn, string, paper cups, glitter, hair rollers, plastic spoons, and pieces of wood. Their leprechaun "bait" has included chocolate gold coins, cardboard, warning signs, and anything sticky, such as shiny tape.
Students decide how to attract a leprechaun to the trap and sketch out their plan. I tell students that leprechauns are sneaky fellows, so you need to be clever and tricky!
I also have the students present their traps for share time. They explain how their trap works and do a demonstration.
Top o' the Morning Schedule
I always mess up the room and leave little green prints all around. I also leave green fabric in the doors. The students come in and wonder why the room is messed up. One of the students always suggests it was a leprechaun. I have a wooden leprechaun that I hide on the slide or in a bush outside. We go on a campus search to find the leprechaun. When we find the leprechaun, the students brainstorm what discipline action needs to take place.
Share time: The students share their leprechaun traps with the class. They tell what they made the trap out of and how the trap works.
Read aloud: I read a story called Jack and the Leprechaun by Ivan Robertson and discuss the folklore about leprechauns. Together, the students and I graph whether the class thinks leprechauns are real or pretend.
20-minute Shamrock Center rotations:
- Lucky Charms Sorting and Graphing
Put small handfuls of Lucky Charms marshmallows in little zip-lock bags. Discuss the different ways the cereal could be sorted. Have the students sort and then graph the cereal. When graphing, always discuss: What did you have the most of? What did you have the least or fewer of?
- "My shamrock became a ...." Writing Activity
A terrific guided writing activity. Each student receives a shamrock and writing paper. Together we write, "My shamrock became a… " Students glue their shamrock to the paper. They can create anything they want out of the shamrock. Responses have included: a car, me, an airplane, a tree. They finish writing their sentence and add detail to the picture.
- Hat Making and Jig Dancing
Students make a leprechaun hat, and then they are taught how to do the Irish jig.
Snack and recess
Painting a Rainbow: Students paint a rainbow and draw a picture of a leprechaun. They cut out the leprechaun and glue it to the bottom corner of the rainbow. I also have pre-cut pots made. Students glue the pot to the other side of the rainbow. The students write, "I want my pot filled with ______" and fill in their own response. Responses have included "I want my pot filled with chocolate candies" and "I want my pot filled with gold."
Our Big Friends come over, and we teach them the Irish jig and eat cabbage soup. (Parents make the soup and bring it in.)