Oh, March! This month evokes so many feelings! The hope of spring is just around the corner, and there is joy in putting winter to rest. It reminds me of small green grass shoots popping up from wintry brown pastures. I see my red and yellow tulip petals poking through the black mulch. The days are longer, the air is fresher and warmer, and the sun is shining more brightly.
As a teacher, March may signify spring break, or the hope of spring break coming in April. It may signify spending more time outside with your class or spending the weekends under the sun. To teachers, March is also a segway to the end of the year where we can all get some much-deserved rest.
I have always been fond of March in the classroom! There are so many opportunities to incorporate St. Patrick’s Day, Women’s History Month, National Johnny Appleseed Day (March 11), and overall more March fun! Here are some ideas and activities for the month of March you can incorporate into your classroom.
1. Shamrock Symmetry
An activity I did every March in math was to teach symmetry, and then I had students make symmetrical shamrocks. I simply had them fold a piece of green paper in half, draw half of a shamrock, and then cut! (Teacher tip: Definitely model how to do this a couple of times before releasing kiddos to do this on their own.) Once they unfold their paper…, voila, behold a symmetrical shamrock! We would spend the whole math class creating these symmetrical shamrocks and then tape them to our windows.
If you would like a resource that’s a bit more involved than simple folding and cutting, check out our symmetrical shamrock emoji activity here!
2. Grammar Leprechauns
If you teach elementary grades, chances are your students have the imagination for leprechauns! On St. Patrick’s Day, as an elementary teacher, I always loved to ransack our classroom, leave Lucky Charms everywhere, give the treat of a frosted green sugar cookie, and little green footprints in the form of the side of my palm all over their desks.
It is so much fun and magical to see students’ reactions to the leprechauns invading their space. To tie this event into the curriculum, the leprechauns would always leave a grammatically incorrect message on the board. We would then correct the message’s grammar together, discussing how even leprechauns should strive for proper grammar.
Here is a free grammatically incorrect message a leprechaun can leave your kiddos on St. Patrick’s Day for you to proofread and correct together.
3. Explore the History of St. Patrick’s Day
Many students associate this day with leprechauns, gold at the end of the rainbow, or a fondness for green. Here are some fun links to quickly teach your students what St. Patrick’s Day is about.
Here is a great picture book for students to explore the history of this day and learn some fun and interesting facts. This book is recommended for ages 2 and up.
In this beautifully illustrated picture book children will discover important and fun facts about St. Patrick’s Day. It is a perfect introduction to the customs surrounding the holiday – parades, music, leprechauns, and of course wearing lots of green. When it comes to St. Patrick’s Day books for kids, this is the one that will get your child excited to learn and celebrate.
Another book that explains all about St. Patrick is by one of our favorite authors, Tomie dePaola.
An illustrated tribute to the Irish patron saint from the best-selling author of Quiet, Strega Nona, and many others.
This timeless picture book, available in large-format paperback or as the board book Saint Patrick, is a perfect introduction to important Irish legends and an ideal St. Patrick’s day gift.
Beloved children’s book author-illustrator Tomie dePaola recounts the life of Saint Patrick—from his noble birth in Britain, to his captivity in Ireland, to the visions which led him to return and found the first Christian church in Ireland.
With his signature bold illustrations and engaging prose, Tomie dePaola recounts a number of legends about the Saint—including the well-known story of how he drove the snakes from Ireland, and his association with the shamrock.
4. Women’s History Month
Women’s History Month begins in March. We have explored three specific women to teach about during this month in our past three blogs: Malala Yousafzai, Anne Frank, and Amanda Gorman. These three women have made huge contributions to the world at such young ages. To read all about these women, various books to read concerning them, and activities (including freebies) to complete with each one, please visit our past blog posts:
We also have an awesome bulletin board for Women’s History Month available right now with original clip art you won’t find anywhere else. It is a print-and-go bulletin board, complete with inspirational quotes.
5. Adorable St. Patrick’s Day Themed Picture Books
St. Patrick’s Day is a wonderful occasion to read some fantastically cute picture books. Here are three we recommend for the month of March.
1. One Potato, Two Potato by Cynthia DeFelice and Andrea U’Ren
I used to read this book every year when I taught third/fourth grades, and one year we even used it to perform a skit for our school’s chapel service. It is hilarious but has such a sweet message. The magic of potatoes, Ireland, a big black pot, and a sweet elderly couple make for a perfect book for St. Patrick’s Day.
Mr. and Mrs. O’Grady are so poor they have just one of everything to share – one potato a day, one chair, one blanket full of holes, and one gold coin for a rainy day. After digging up the last potato in their patch, Mr. O’Grady comes upon a big black object. It’s a pot – no ordinary pot, for what they soon discover is that whatever goes into it comes out doubled!
Suddenly the O’Gradys aren’t destitute anymore. But what they really long for is one friend apiece. Can the magic pot give them that? This retelling of a Chinese folktale pays tribute to the author’s Irish heritage, and to the joys of an old marriage, new friendships, and the impulse to share. Using pen and gouache, the artist shows the “simple” characters in all their winning complexity.
2. Fiona’s Luck by Teresa Bateman, Illustrated by Kelly Murphy
This next picture book is sure to inspire your students to use their talents and intelligence to overcome any obstacles they face.
The luck of the Irish has waned after the greedy Leprechaun King has taken all the good fortune in Ireland and locked it away. It is up to one cunning girl, Fiona, to come up with a plan to get the luck and good tidings back from the leprechauns to help the people of Ireland. Through clever charades, Fiona uses her wit to outsmart the powerful Leprechaun King and restore luck to the Emerald Isle. Luminous and enchanting illustrations add to the wonder of this original folktale, that is sure to charm readers young and old who are looking for a bit of magic to spark their story time.
3. O’Sullivan Stew by Hudson Talbott
The perfect picture book for March, this tale is funny, gripping, and will keep your students on the edge of their seats!
Someone has stolen the witch of Crookhaven’s horse, and there will be no peace in the village until it is returned. So bold, brassy Kate O’Sullivan takes matters into her own hands. But instead of saving the day, she manages to land herself–and her family–in trouble with the king. So Kate sets out to save their hides the only way she knows how–with a good story. Filled with imagination, wit, and a healthy helping of good old-fashioned Irish blarney, this is a hilarious tale that will keep readers coming back for more.
National Johnny Appleseed Day
Many classes celebrate Johnny Appleseed at the beginning of school since his birthday is in September; however, did you know that National Johnny Appleseed Day is March 11? It is a perfect day to celebrate Johnny and all things apple, especially as spring is around the corner.
Some simple activities to celebrate Johnny Appleseed Day include sampling different types of apples and taking polls and making graphs to see who the clear winners are.
Simple apple stamping paintings are always fun and make for a great bulletin board.
We also have an awesome Johnny Appleseed resource available to you. We have a Johnny Appleseed writing craftivity and a Johnny Appleseed compound word game. Check out each resource below!
Whether you’re making shamrocks, reading cute picture books, examining the grammar of leprechauns, eating apples, or learning about Women’s History Month, we hope March in your classroom is full of fantasy, fun, and festivity!