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Time to Celebrate….

February 2nd is Groundhog Day!  As an educator, I love celebrating current events.  I have seen how these topic specific lessons motivate students during the winter blahs. This unit is a great way to foster a love of reading through various activities and resources for all your learners.  Finding the right resources to teach your holiday specific lesson is vital.  I have used many resources that are available on Big Universe.  Whether you are teaching a whole group or assigning to individual students, they will enjoy this unit. Included are my reviews of my favorite fiction and nonfiction books as well as ideas for celebrating Groundhog Day.

First, read this fiction book from Big Universe

Groundhog_3.jpgMr. Groundhog Wants the Day Off written by Pat Stemper Vojta and illustrated by Olga Levitskiy. ISBN: 9781621671763

Poor Mr. Groundhog!  He doesn’t like being blamed for 6 more weeks of winter if he sees his shadow.  He sets off on February 1st to find a replacement.  His friends offer him gifts instead of being his replacement.  Will he decide to step out on Groundhog day?  Will Mr. Groundhog learn to enjoy his job?  Your students will love the funny illustrations and the ending!

Next, extend your students’ learning in other content areas.

Reading-Assign learners various resources on Big Universe.  There are several book available that help teach the history of Groundhog Day. These would be great to assign to individual students and have them report their findings. If you are unfamiliar with the assigning process, visit the professional development section on Big Universe.

Groundhog_1.jpgWriting– Find a groundhog shape like the one pictured here.  It could be used in many ways.  For example,

  • Fill in adjectives that describe “spring”  
  • Create a shape poem
  • Write their version of a groundhog story

Any of these ideas are a fun way to encourage creativity.

Math–  Create a survey and graph the results.  Question: Will he see his shadow?  Graph students’ predictions before February 2nd.  Then compare the results.  

You could also teach various calendar activities including seasons or teach the six multiplication table (focus on “six” more weeks of winter).  

Then, explore a Nonfiction title to help your students learn more about groundhogs to support other science concepts.

Groundhog_2.jpgGroundhogs written by Cari Meister. 

ISBN: 9781624962547 as a nonfiction companion to Mr. Groundhog Wants the Day Off.

Student will enjoy seeing photographs of groundhogs in their natural habitat and will learn new vocabulary as well as basic groundhog facts.  This is an excellent resource for early readers.  It will also help you to start a discussion about predators and prey.

For science, have students write the new vocabulary (burroGroundhog_4.jpgw, habitat, predator, prey, and hibernate) on the left hand side of their science notebook.  Then have them draw a picture on the right hand side to help define each new vocabulary word.

Art– Make Groundhog day cups.  Cut a slit in the bottom of the cup.  Attach a student drawing of a groundhog on a popsicle stick.  Slide popsicle through hole on the bottom to keep their groundhog safe in its burrow. Photo used with permission.

There are many other ways you could incorporate holiday books into your Groundhog_5.jpgcurriculum. We would love to hear from our readers.  What holiday specific lesson or resources do you enjoy sharing with your students?




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