6 St. Patrick’s Day Lesson Plan Ideas


Luck is believing you’re lucky.”

~Tennessee Williams

St. Patrick’s Day Celebration

We celebrate St. Patrick’s Day by exploring Ireland through art, music, and engineering. Here are some of our favorite activities to make this celebration a meaningful learning experience. We have added links to most of the resources you need, so prep will be a breeze.

Music & Dance

It is fun just to hop around and enjoy Irish music.

If you would like to take this lesson a little deeper, dancing the jig is great exercise and very easy to learn.


This is one of our (Almost) No Prep Art Lessons. You probably have all the materials you need in you classroom. Students draw the shamrock and create the lines with a ruler. You can learn more about this lesson right here.

St Patrick's Day Shamrock


Taste the Rainbow


We use every opportunity to promote healthy eating. Most kids will at least try a food offered in the classroom. We assemble a fruit rainbow in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. The cut fruit and berries are offered buffet style. The kids help themselves to the different fruits. They later chart their fruit platter in their journals. We have more healthy party snack ideas right here.


The day before St. Patrick’s Day out students design and create leprechaun traps in class. This is one of the our favorite activities of the whole year. Many teachers have kids create traps at home. They often look more polished than our crazy classroom creations.

Social Studies

If you or your students are interested in learning more about St. Patrick you can watch some of these videos.

Teaching Your Students to Love Reading With a Reading Picnic

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Do you want your students to LOVE reading?

I hate books!”

You have probably heard many students express their dislike for reading. We usually tell them that they don’t really mean it and how much fun reading can be. They read guided reading texts and stumble through our reading anthologies. They read decodable texts over and over in the hopes that the code will somehow stick to their developing brains.

The truth is that most teachers were prolific and fluent readers as children. It was a subject we thrived in and we loved getting lost in a book. Somehow the magic of a book touched us and we rode on the wings of our favorite tomes to far away adventures and magic realms. We would inhale the smell of a newly printed book as if the aroma was forshadowing the riveting adventures awaiting us.

We teachers have been working our tails off to get fluency rates up.  We test how many words they can read in a minute. We determine if they are able to read nonsense words. All these things are really important but they miss one really important point. Good readers LOVE reading. They enjoy doing it. The most important factor in the end is that we transmit this all important magic pixie dust: A LOVE for the printed word.

Benefits of Outdoor Learning

Do you remember you favorite reading spots from your childhood? Were any of them outside? Under a shady tree and a lawn? Reading outdoors is a very special treat that children rarely get to indulge in. Being outside benefits kids in so many ways.  Looking at and listening to nature increases dopamine levels in both children and adults. Not surprisingly happy people show better concentration and memorization skills.

Reading Picnic

Have you ever tried a reading picnic center for your classroom? We absolutely love ours. We ordered a nice picnic blanket from Amazon.com and have our book centers in themed picnic baskets. The blanket works really well because it has plastic lining. You can wipe the plastic side and the blanket stays dry even if the ground is damp. It also seems to be extra soft and cushioned but any blanket you have at hand would work.

Magic Tree House Magic

One of our favorites reading picnics consists of a collection of Magic Tree House books. The whole collection is a treasure of exciting fiction combined with a great non-fiction background series.

Reading Recovery

The great thing about reading an entire series is that children become so familiar with the characters that it becomes manageable for even struggling readers. Once a student has mastered reading one book they feel confident and eager to read the rest. We have had success with this center even with 6th graders.

Great Activity for Volunteers

We are really blessed with lots of parent support and the reading picnic is a perfect center for volunteers. All the volunteer has to do is to grab the blanket and picnic basket and find a cozy spot under the trees.

The feedback we are getting from this center is amazing. Students love going outside and reading. They really get into the Magic Tree House series and some manage to read all of them!

If you don’t happen to live in California you can have your reading picnic indoors as well. Why not take the center to the hallway or cafeteria? Happy reading!

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Boat Making STEAM Challenge

Boat making is one of our favorite STEAM challenges. Not only do you get to engineer and design a boat, you also get to test it out in water. What could be better, right?


  • Corks
  • Rubber bands
  • Toothpicks
  • Colored construction paper
  • Small inflatable pool or water table

We show the kids how to wrap the corks with rubber bands. Three work nicely to make a boat. The kids then decorate it with sails made from construction paper and toothpicks. Students are allowed to experiment with the supplies and built a boat however they want. The activity can easily take an hour, depending on how much time you have.

Having fund with STEAM challenges? Here are more ideas:

Pokemon GO Expert Books

Unless you have been living under a rock, or left civilization altogether, you have probably heard about Pokemon GO. It is the new app that lets you catch Pokemon by walking around with a smartphone until the app alerts you to the presence of a Pokemon. You then use the app to flick a virtual pokeball and capture the Pokemon. There are also such things as items, pokestops, gyms, and eggs (conveniently hatched by walking), but you don’t need to know any of this.

Pokemon GO will be BIG in writer’s workshop next year. Expert books about the card game have been a favorite for years but this new app and the incredible excitement it creates in anybody under the age of thirty, just has to be harnessed for writing. Expert books, reviews, fiction, small moments (capturing Pokemon), and so much more!

So go ahead download the app and try it. You will be the coolest teacher around. Also, Minecraft has now polar bears. We thought you should know.

Bridge Making STEAM Challenge


Where science ends, art begins.”

~Charles Nègre

How many bears can cross your bridge? Are you looking to implement  Science, technology, engineering, art, and math, also known as STEAM, in your classroom?  This activity might be just the ticket. You probably already have all the supplies necessary.

Our counting bears were stranded on islands separated by a deep ocean trench populated by kraken, sharks, and mermaids.  They needed help to connect their islands and make peace with their ocean neighbors.  The bears could only find popsicle sticks, clothespins, masking tape, and string.  Would they be able to bridge the islands without falling into the dangerous waters? Would their bridge be functional as well as beautiful? The mysterious creatures of the deep agreed to let the bears safely cross the bridges if they showed innovative and aesthetically pleasing design.  Would the bears be able to make peace and connect their islands?

We divided the class in small groups of about five students and they went to work. The kids came up with many different bridge designs and safety features for bears.  Some bears were wearing safety harnesses in case they fell. They considered how the sea creatures would feel about the bridges and what designs would be most appreciated.


We are glad to report that all bridges held and the bears are now able to visit each other without danger! The bears and the magical creatures of the deep have learned to live in harmony and peace. Team STEAM has come to the rescue again!

Gustav Klimt Trees

Gustave Klimt Tree of Life

Gustav Klimt was the son of a gold engraver and included gold in many of his art pieces. The bold colors and shapes lend themselves to being recreated by small hands. The Tree of Life is one of his most famous works and often replicated.


  • Construction paper
  • Tempera paint
  • Brushes in different sizes
  • Paper plates
  • Easel or newspaper to protect the working surface



Introduce Klimt and his work. Google images of the tree of life can be found here. Demonstrate loading the brush with gold paint and how to create the tree shape. Let the art work dry after painting the tree. Continue painting with white, silver, orange, and black tempera paint.  The shapes really pop if they are outlined with black paint.

5 Old-School Teaching Hacks That Really Work


As teachers we have a wealth of techniques and technology available to us.  Can you imagine teaching before the copy machine, projectors, and computers?  What in the world did educators do? They couldn’t just copy a worksheet or google the information they needed. However, some old-fashioned techniques are worth a second look.

Most schools will have almost all of the materials in this article. Sometimes you will be surprised what you might find in your school’s storage.  One of our contributing teachers even discovered a treasure trove of charted poems and nursery rhymes.  They are now getting a new life in her classroom.


1. Choral Reading Charts

Reading Chart Emmerson

There is plenty of data supporting choral reading for fluency achievement.  However, choral reading charts are so much more than that. Choral reading of speeches, poetry, and songs teaches much more than fluency.  Children memorize the passages, they are exposed to vocabulary and ideas that they would otherwise never internalize.  The best part? Have an old-fashioned poetry evening with cookies and lemonade!


2. Penmanship Practice


Penmanship is best practiced in isolation.  Simply copying words or choral reading charts and focusing on the letter formation will do wonders for your student’s penmanship.  It’s also a calming activity that everybody can be successful at.  Simply walk around and correct pencil grip and letter formation as you go.  For a truly old-fashioned experience try fountain pens.


3. Chalkboards


There might be a chalkboard hidden behind your fancy new whiteboard.  Chalkboards aren’t only amazingly fashionable, but there is something about the tactile experience of chalk that makes learning with a chalkboard a very rewarding experience.  Try mini chalkboards for your class or have students use your class board.

Teachers used to make up problems that would help their students on the fly and simply write them on the board.  Students would copy and solve the problems.  No prep necessary and problems can be adjusted to the level of understanding in your room.  It’s practically revolutionary.


4. Singing


Students used to sing all the time.  If the teacher couldn’t play piano they would sing a capella.  Remember those autoharps your teachers used? How in the world do those even work? Students would learn hundreds of songs and remember all the lyrics. Do you know the lyrics to the Star- Spangled Banner?


5. Journal Writing


Daily journaling is an amazing reflective writing practice. Students can journal at any time. Just taught a science lesson? Write in your journal. Went on a field trip? Write in your journal. You get the picture. Practice makes perfect and students get lots of writing practice with a journal. Student journals also make great keepsakes. What a wonderful way to look back at your childhood with a first grade journal.



St. Patrick’s Day Art Activity

St Patrick's Day Shamrock

This beautiful art activity is a great way for your students to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.  They draw a shamrock and create the lines with a ruler. Then kids simply add tangle patterns. You can create a beautiful display or send the project home for some Irish appreciation.


  • Markers
  • Crayons
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Google images of tangle patterns

Demonstrate how to draw a shamrock.  Show how to draw lines using a ruler. Share some pattern ideas with the class. We usually draw some patterns on the board.  Your students might want to draw with a pencil first and outline with a black marker later. Don’t forget to have fun!

Teaching Creativity


Logic can get you from A to Z; Creativity will get you everywhere!

~ Albert Einstein

This is a true story and a wake up call to anybody raising and educating children. Imagine a class of 6 year olds. Their acting assignment is to improvise using a scarf. One by one they take a turn, unable to imagine anything but items that can be made out of a scarf. No magic wands, no snakes, no swords are created. The students seem uncomfortable and unsure.

Why is it so hard for them to do what was second nature to previous generations? An explanation might be found in the way children spend their days. They are in school, or after school care, from 8 am to 6pm. During this time their activities are highly structured. They are told what to do and when to do it. No room for imaginative play. When they get home they have to finish their homework, maybe play on a device, and then it is bedtime.


These days, there seems to be no time to ride their bikes, play in their yards, or to just a kid. Every minute seems structured and supervised. Children seem bored and disinterested in even the most exciting activities offered to them. Every minute is used to squeeze in one more enrichment activity.

Imagination is the beginning of any endeavor. Without imaginations there is no growth in a society. Steve Jobs had to imagine the apple computer before it could become a reality. Thomas Edison imagined the electrical light bulb before he spend ten thousand experiments to actually create one. Our Founding Fathers imagined a free America before the Declaration of Independence was signed.
Imagination is a skill that needs to be valued. A child playing by themselves is doing the work of childhood. Your little daydreamer might make all the difference in the world one day.
What do we value more, spelling skills or imagination? Most would probably answer imagination. Yet we spend all our resources and efforts on spelling and other skills like it.
Our children’s need for imaginative play needs to be defended. They need opportunity to play and caregivers need to be patient.

When your children come to you and tell you they are bored. Don’t just create entertainment for them, let them create it themselves. Build areas of unstructured playtime into a child’s day. At school as well as at home. There should be learning breaks where children can relax their bodies and minds. Imagination is the foundation of what it means to be human. It is up to all of us to bring it back to live. Bring back the unicorns, pirates, and joys of imaginative play.