1-2-3 Come Do Some Groundhog Activities With Me
I haven't wrapped my head around the fact that February is almost here. As usual, my life simply flies by, and January was no exception. I thought I'd better whip something together about groundhogs today. That holiday is always sneaking up on me.
If you're looking for a few things to plug into your day, you've come to the right place.
- Help your students celebrate by giving them a slap bracelet to wear. Students trace the greeting with a highlighter. Or turn these into bookmarks and have your students glue them on a strip of construction paper.
- Wish each other a Happy Groundhog Day and practice writing that greeting by tracing, then writing the sentence on the groundhog-filled skill sheet. Students’ also give their opinion whether they think the groundhog will see his shadow or not.
- Have students cut a “sun circle” out of construction paper and glue on their round ground hog picture, add a safety pin and they can string it on a necklace of straw beads or simply pin it on. Older students can cut two slits and insert a pencil for the day’s activities.
- I’ve also included a Happy Groundhog Day note from your teacher. You can run these off and have it sitting on their desk along with their “Shadow Name.”
- How do you make shadow names? Open up Word, Click on the right-tilted Blue A on the drawing tool bar at the bottom of your screen, a window will come up with all sorts of examples of Word Art, the 3rd row down, 3rd box in, has green word art that has a shadow above it. Simply click on that window and type one student’s name at a time. They will appear on your word document. I print them off and then mount them on black construction paper. My students’ think this is “way cool”.
- As a math extension graph whether your students think the groundhog will see his shadow or not, then find out on the Internet whether he did.
- After the results are in, have students make the My Groundhog Book. It’s an “Easy Reader” with many high frequency word-wall words.
- Students trace, then write the sentence and then cut and glue the matching picture. They also have an opportunity to express their feelings of how 6 more weeks of winter makes them feel if the groundhog sees his shadow, or how they’ll feel if he doesn’t and spring is just around the corner!
- Add another graphing extension of who is really enjoying winter and the snow and would like winter to stay, and who is sick of the cold winter and would like spring to come.
- While students have Free Play Center time, I call them over to sit very still in front of a projection light. This casts a terrific shadow on a large sheet of black construction paper that I have taped to the wall.
- I trace their profile with a white piece of chalk. You can have older students cut out their “shadow silhouettes” but because there is a lot of detail with eyelashes, and their nose, ponytails, bangs etc. that I don’t want “lopped” off, I take them home and cut them out for my students, or have a room helper give me a hand.
- The next day, my students glue them on a sheet of white construction paper. We gather on the carpet and I hold them up one at a time.
- My students guess whose shadow I’m displaying; some are a bit hard, others are extremely easy. They make an outstanding display on a hallway wall. Parents LOVE these keepsakes and I get lots of positive feedback when they take them home.
- A quickie art activity is to have your students color and cut out a groundhog and then glue him to a Popsicle stick. Insert the stick inside a toilet paper tube that they have wrapped in brown paper and then decorated to look like dirt with a brown crayon or marker. My students enjoy playing with their groundhog puppet and deciding whether he’s going to pop out and play, or tuck himself back in and hide for six more weeks.
- If you want the groundhog’s shadow to show up, place the top of the tube in the center of a small paper plate and trace it. Cut out the circle. Before slipping the plate over the t.p. tube, have students decorate the top of the plate to look like dirt and grass. If it’s sunny, take your students outside. Have them pop their Popsicle groundhog out of its t.p. burrow. The sun will cast the groundhog’s shadow on the paper plate.
We spend about 15 minutes spying other shadows as well.
- When we come in, I gather my students in a circle and we do the Groundhog Pokey with our popsicle stick groundhogs. We also count our critters by one’s in English and Spanish and then practice counting by 10’s to 100.
- Click on the link to view/print The Groundhog Pokey.
- Another fun, yet simple art activity needs some pre-planning. Have your students pose themselves doing some sort of action, then take their digital picture. Print them off and cut them out. Students glue them to a sheet of blue construction paper, add a construction paper sun to the top and draw their shadow.
- I read them Robert Louis Stevenson’s poem My Shadow. Click on the link for a copy. Write your favorite portion of the poem on the board and have students copy it on to their paper, or type up the entire poem and have them glue it to their paper.
- I also read them the groundhog poem that I wrote. All of the activities I've mentioned here, can be viewed/printed by clicking on the link at the end.
- For a gross motor activity I have children choose a partner and take turns being each other’s shadows, seeing if they can mimic doing everything that their partner does.
- Another fun thing to do is to make hand shadows for your students. Turn off the lights and use a light source on your white board. Sit on a stool and using your hands make animal shadows. My Y5’s think this is a lot of fun.
- They often giggle as they guess what the shadow is. I choose one and teach it to them, so they can go home and do it for their parents. My repertoire is limited, but a great site to learn, (they have 17 examples) can be found at apples4theteacher. Click on the link for directions.
- If you’re looking for groundhog coloring pages, click on the link for a site that lists their top 10. I use coloring pages to make my table top worksheets for the day. I turn them into connect the skip-counted dots, math fact sheets, ABC identification; I spy the numbers, and bingo-dot pattern pages to name a few.
- So what kind of noises do groundhogs make? According to the terrific Hog Haven site: “When they’re happy they grunt! When they’re frightened, they let out a loud shrill to scare away predators, and when they fight, they squeal!”
- Click on the link to hear over 23 recordings. This is truly educational fun to have your students listen to. I was amazed. I’d never heard or seen a real groundhog!
- They also have 10 videos of their groundhogs + an 11th one (1 minute and 39 seconds) at the bottom where they’ve put together some adorable clips to country music with an over lay of groundhog chatter.
- Click on the link to view them. What’s nice about this u-tube video is that there’s also an entire photo clip list of other u-tube groundhog video’s under it. Simply click on a photo to view another groundhog video. These are generally less than 2 minutes and make for a wonderful lesson for your students.
- To read a bit of history about Groundhog Day click on the link.
- Click on the groundhog game link for some more educational fun. I use this site as an interesting groundhog concentration game for my computer center on Groundhog Day. My Y5’s click on the squares ‘til they find groundhog cards that match. Once flipped over, they help complete a real puzzle photograph of a groundhog!
- Have your students try their hand at saying this tongue twister: How much wood, could a woodchuck chuck, if a woodchuck could chuck wood? I practice several times so that I can do it pretty fast and once everyone has had a turn doing it by themselves, they can challenge me to do it in unison to see who is faster. This is bound to end in giggles as they give it a shot.
- Pass out my game cards and play 5 minutes worth of “Fickle Phil”. Explain what it means to be fickle and that Phil is a prognosticator (predictor), and they too will be predictors in this game. He, like anyone else, who predicts things about the weather or the future, is not always right.
- Each child chooses a prediction card. One is spring the other is winter. To make things easier, you can print, cut and then glue the cards back-to-back, so that your students are only using one card. They decide if Phil will see his shadow and then hold up their prediction card so that it faces you.
- The teacher reaches into a brown lunch bag (Phil’s burrow) and pulls out a Phil card. One is Phil during the spring, meaning he did not see his shadow and spring is just around the corner; the other is Phil’s during the winter, meaning he saw his shadow and we’ll have 6 more weeks of winter. Students keep a tally, of how many times they prognosticated correctly.
- To end our day on a quiet note, we warm up with a good book after recess and snuggle up on our Circle Of Friends carpet. I read several groundhog-shadow stories during Story Time and have a small book basket of groundhog selections for students to look at during free reading.
- I’ve also added 10 new words to our seasonal word wall word list. I’ve provided a list of groundhog books that I read in this packet.
I hope you enjoy your Groundhog Day celebration and the little shadows in your classroom/home have a fun time learning!