One of my favorite school memories was as a young child in preschool. My speech therapist, Mrs. Patrick (no pun intended), and her assistant, Mrs. Taylor, started the week by getting us to help bake shamrock sugar cookies. From start to finish, we measured the ingredients, rolled the dough, cut the cookies out and put them onto the baking sheet, and watched the cookies bake in the oven. Once they were done, we iced them and enjoyed the sweet savory treats. Although that was about three decades ago, I appreciate the way my teacher incorporated such a fun activity into a holiday often surrounded by rainbows, gold, and lucky three-leaf clovers. Below are some ways to make this--or any--holiday memorable for your students:
- Literature-Based Activities. Read a great book based on the life of St. Patrick, holiday celebrations, and/or fictional stories surrounding St. Patrick's Day. Then have students make an ebook, videos or animated comics about what they learned or a theme from the story. Be sure to check out Big Universe's library to see which books you can use.
- Host a Good Luck Celebration. Serve up some Irish Soda Bread, Shamrock Cookies, and Lucky Punch [limeade or lime sherbet with lemonade drink and a lemon-lime soda or ginger ale]. Put on some traditional Irish music and even see if you can have some traditionally Irish dishes like corned beef and lamb stew. Should time permit, let students help prepare some of the food or drinks.
- Spread Good Luck Day. Have students do kind deeds for their families and/or schoolmates (preferably other classes in a different grade). Bonus points if you join in on the fun. Turn the idea of finding the pot of gold into finding the joy of doing good for others.
- Make it Visual. Have students post facts about the man and traditions surrounding the holiday, then put them on paper and organize them in a fun fashion, whether that's in the outline of a shamrock, rainbow, or golden coins. It's a fun way of integrating social studies, reading, and art together.
Whatever you choose to do, keep in mind your objectives and overall goals for what you hope students will learn. May the story I shared earlier with you inspire you to continue to make the most of these moments because your students will remember years later, even if you may not. I can only hope Mrs. Patrick remembers that time she brought such joy to our class--and our tummies! Happy Saint Patrick's Day!