FREE Groundhog Day Activities You Won't Want To Miss

Groundhog Day is coming up, so I'm sharing some of my 
favorite FREE activities!

First, here are some of the best Groundhog Day books I've found (affiliate links provided for your convenience):

Substitute Groundhog: This is a great book for teaching compare/contrast! Groundhog is sick and interviewing other animals for his job, but only one meets the necessary criteria!

Go To Sleep, Groundhog!: This is one of my faves - Groundhog can't sleep so he keeps waking up and experiencing different holidays - Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. If you teach time, note that the clock has hands that point to months rather than hours!

Groundhog's Runaway Shadow: This is a brand new book (published Dec 2016), but I absolutely LOVE the illustrations, so I ordered it already! Groundhog and his shadow have grown apart, so Shadow goes off to have his own adventures. Soon though, Phil misses him - will they be reunited in time for Groundhog Day?

Groundhog Stays Up Late: Groundhog doesn't want to prepare for winter, and when the other animals start to hibernate he stays up to play in the snow! He soon becomes hungry though and tricks the other animals into waking up early to share a Spring Feast with him. They realize that he tricked them and trick him into thinking there will be 6 more weeks of winter so that he sleeps through Spring! Great book for teaching about hibernation!

Ten Grouchy Groundhogs: This is a rhyming, counting and alliterative book, so its perfect for so many lessons! Focus on adjectives with giggly, grouchy, graceful, grubby and glitzy groundhogs, or read it during Math for a great -1 subtraction lesson!

Groundhog's Dilemma: This one is great for a lesson on being truthful. Groundhog takes bribes from the other animals, promising to predict either more winter or early spring based on their preference. When Groundhog Day rolls around he must tell the truth and make amends.

Groundhog Day: This is a Level 1 reader, perfect for kinders. It has basic facts about Groundhog Day in simple sentences.

Grumpy Groundhog: This groundhog is sleepy and doesn't want to get out of bed to make his prediction. This one has fun illustrations and rhyming text. The children in the story come up with different ways to get Groundhog to come out - which would be a wonderful writing prompt!

Groundhog Weather School: This one is great for teaching about speech bubbles in illustrations, as much of the book is written in this format. I love the illustrations and there are lots of facts packed into the fun!

Groundhog's Day Off: This is another book where Groundhog decides to take time off and other animals try to fill his shoes. This is great for teaching children appreciation - maybe combine it with writing thank you notes to school staff?

Groundhog Gets a Say - If you have students write reports about different animals, this book would be great as it contains a ton of facts about groundhogs.

Kids Explore! Groundhogs: If you have Kindles in your classroom, you can get this book for free on Kindle Unlimited! Its a non-fiction story with great photos, but is a bit wordy - I would recommend reading aloud only a few pages at a time and discussing the facts and vocabulary.

Groundhog Day: Another non-fiction book with simple text and great photographs!

Now on to the activities! I keep my plans short and sweet for Groundhog Day, as it's usually right around our 100th Day of school so I only devote about two days to it - and that's all it really needs lol!

First FREEBIE: Ground Hog Day Roll & Cover Game:
My students LOVE Roll & Cover games, so I make them for every theme we do! I'm sure your students will enjoy these games at Math Centers or in Early Finisher tubs too - they can play in pairs or even solo!

Next, a FREE Groundhog Day Class Graph & Prediction Pack:
Of course Groundhog Day lends itself to prediction graphs! My advice is to do the graph the day before - otherwise you run the risk of someone hearing the report on the radio on the way to school! Click the picture to download all of the pieces to make this class graph for free!

And finally, a simple Groundhog Day Crown, modeled by my 3 year old, Sullivan! My students love crowns, and this is a quick craft that is a great conversation starter to get them talking about what they did at school with their parents! Just click on the picture to download it for free!

Martin Luther King, Jr. Ideas

We are delving deep into Martin Luther King, Jr's dream this week. This is a hard unit for me, partly because its hard to explain prejudice and hate to my littles and also because as a white woman I know that I can't truly understand what it's like to face discrimination and injustice. Even still, I tackle this unit with enthusiasm because it is so thought provoking for my students.

We read books like Martin's Big Words and A Picture Book of Martin Luther King, Jr. and you can just see how alien it is to my kinders to think that people were treated differently based on the color of their skin. 

One of my favorite ways to introduce the topic is to gather everyone at carpet and give each child a single crayon and the same color construction paper. I ask them to draw me a beautiful picture and then begin reading aloud. I don't get even a paragraph in before the children are telling me that the white isn't showing on the white paper or they can't see the black crayon on the black paper. I act confused that it isn't working and ask what we can do. 

When someone suggests switching crayons I act shocked "What?! We can't mix colors! White has to stay with white! Red has to stay with red!" The children eventually wear me down and convince me that they can make a beautiful picture if they just have different colors of paper and crayon. I reluctantly give in and they then amaze me with beautiful, multi-colored drawings! 

We talk about Love and Peace all week long. I introduce quotes from Martin Luther King, Jr. as well as other sources. I want to show my kinders that just because Dr. King died, his dream didn't die with him, and there are still people working to make sure his dream comes true.

We make fingerprint art with each child having a different color paint:

This is to show them how beautiful it can be when we mix all of our talents together and create rather than destroy. 

We talk about Ben Harper's song "With My Own Two Hands". This year I had kiddos volunteer for speaking parts and we're going to perform the song as a poem at our Martin Luther King, Jr. Assembly on Friday. We create this visual of the poem and then write about how we will change the world:

Here's Jack Johnson's version of the song along with student art - I'm not sure what grade this is, but its a wonderful idea!

I made an easy emergent reader about Dr. King's dream:
I thought I had enough blue sentence strips for the whole story, but I ran out. It bothered me to use different color sentence strips, and then I realized that it was perfect for what we were talking about! We read the story several times as a class and in small group lessons, looking for sight words and talking about the message, then my students color their own versions to take home and share with their families:

We also read The Crayon Box That Talked, (not to be confused with The Day The Crayons Quit!) and make our own crayons to be displayed in a posterboard crayon box that I make. This year I flipped over a crayon to check the name and found this note to Dr. King instead:

It says "I love you Martin Luther King." in her invented spelling! My heart was mush ~ I absolutely love my kinders! They have such big hearts!!

This is what the crayons and box look like put together. Some years I have my students draw self-portraits on the tips, or I add a picture of them. This year we have so much going on that I stuck to just colorful crayons! 

By the way, some people have been recommending the BrainPop video about Martin Luther King, Jr. I want to caution you that they do show a cartoon image of Dr. King lying dead on the ground with a bloody towel over his face. Instead, I would show Kid President's video:

My students enjoyed this one, even if it was a bit above their heads. I just paused the video and talked with them throughout to help scaffold their understanding.

If you want to grab the templates for these activities, plus the emergent reader, they're available in my Peace & Love pack on TPT:

What's your favorite MLK lesson or activity? Please rustle up a comment and share!

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