Posts Tagged ‘Mardi Gras’

February Holidays: Books, Blogs, Links

Punxsy Phil, the weather-savvy woodchuck.

For such a short month, February is living large this year. It kicked off with today’s observation of Freedom Day, which commemorates President Abraham Lincoln’s signing of the 13th Amendment, outlawing slavery. A wreath was laid on the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia to acknowledge this historical American watermark.

A troupe of top-hatted men will congregate tomorrow, Feb. 2nd, in Punxsytawney, Pa., to get the weather prediction from Punxsy Phil, the famous weather-savvy Groundhog Day woodchuck. The burg of Punxsytawney was not far from where I grew up, so my family always paid close attention to whether this chubby little rodent saw his shadow or not.

Then there’s Valentine’s Day on the 14th, Presidents’ Day on the 20th, Fat Tuesday/Mardi Gras on Feb. 21st, and John Gandolfi’s Leap Day birthday on the 29th. It’s unlikely that most of you know Mr. Gandolfi . He was the ultra-gregarious kid who sat four seats in front of me in homeroom from seventh grade through twelfth. “…Gandolfi, Gaston, Glasser, Golinsky, Granata….” He was a Leap Year baby, so I think he celebrates his 13th birthday this year.

I see these holidays as gateway ops – perfect avenues to promote literacy and chase away the winter doldrums. I suppose it depends on whether you’re an optimist or a pessimist and whether you’re “a natural” when it comes to integrating seasonal activities into the classroom. Whether you use a Valentine’s Day word search sheet or read a biography about a U.S. president on BigUniverse.com, you will be adding “snap, crackle and pop” to your classroom and advance the cause of literacy.

Here’s a starter list to get you in the spirit.

Freedom Day

 Groundhog Day

 Valentine’s Day

President’s Day

 Mardi Gras

Leap Day

NOTE: For more general reading, click on “Holidays” – a Teacher Created Materials book at Big Universe Learning. Or, read “An Ode to History and Phillis Wheatley” or “Books Introduce Black History Month Heroes,” blogs that showcase kid-friendly biographies about remarkable Americans.

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