It's nearly Groundhog Day and I'm hoping it will be another overcast day. Don't want the groundhog to see his shadow! Let's hurry into spring.
Groundhog Day is such fun in 1st grade. It provides the opportunity to study shadows, obviously. But I like to use the day to launch a study of folk wisdom weather predictions, as well. Lots of kids have heard such sayings as: red at night, sailors' delight; red at morning, sailors take warning. That saying is actually based in fact, as a red sunrise means there is a lot of moisture in the air which can, indeed, indicate rain. But what about this one:
Snow is due when the cat washes behind both ears.
If ant hills are high in July, winter will be snowy.
Invite your students to collect other folk wisdom about the weather by talking with their parents, grandparents, and other elders about weather sayings. As a Reading Recovery teacher, I feel strongly that every opportunity to spur verbal communication should be maximized. (Students who struggle with early reading skills too often lack verbal communication skills.) Reporting on the folk wisdom they have collected naturally leads to a discussion about the probable validity of the sayings. That, of course, promotes critical thinking a la the upper levels of Bloom's Taxonomy. How great is that?
Groundhog's Day is also an opportunity to work on compound words. Focus on verbal fluency by challenging your students to compose a list of animal names that are compound words (warthog, butterfly, starfish, ...). After they gets their cogs spinning in that direction, switch gears to test their flexibility. Ask them to name compound words that identify animal homes (anthill, doghouse, beehive, ...). Switch categories again with a new challenge, like foods that are compound words. Clearly you can keep this going for as long as your students are engaged. All the while you will be promoting the 4 tenets of gifted education:
You may like these FREE products designed for Groundhog Day: