National Hat Day on January 15th and Teaching Across the USA Linky

In just a few days, it will be National Hat Day! Who knew? This holiday caught my attention because hats are a big deal in lower elementary. If you want to make an occasion extra fun then just add a hat (or crown!). So, here are some activity ideas for you that involve hats. Use them on January 15th or save them for a special day that needs a little extra excitement!

1) Free hat printables to use as photo booth props ~ use these for photo ops or even as props for a puppet show. It would be fun to have the students write a description of the type of person that they think would wear that hat. Young or old? Tall or short? Color of hair and eyes? If they had a dog, what type would it be? You could make a whole list of questions and then have them write some sentences describing this person. Take a picture of the hat or have them draw a picture of their imaginary character and then use the hat photo prop with the drawing and take a photo. 

2) Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans ~ There are many book series that feature a character who likes to wear a hat! Madeline is a classic one. This link shows you how to make a Madeline hat from a bowl and plate. It’s really cute!

3) The Hat by Jan Brett is a classic winter story. I love that this book features a hedgehog and that Jan Brett actually has a pet hedgehog named Pudge! Hedgehogs are super cute, but I recently discovered that they don’t always make good pets. A teacher was given one that hadn’t really been handled much. I attempted to “tame” it over a few months and had some bites as a consequence! She still doesn’t like people. 🙁 I think the key might be to adopt one when it is a baby and can get used to being handled. I would still love to have one as a pet! This freebie by 1st Grade Hip Hip Hooray! asks students to compare The Hat & The Mitten. Then they decorate their own hats & mittens and use their best writing to describe them. 

4) Mr. Greg from Kindergarten Smorgasboard showcases a variety of the silly and cute hats that his kinders have made. They make a hat a week! This might be something you would like to incorporate in your classroom. Check out his blog post with product ideas for creating learning hats. 

5) Arctic Animal Crown Game – I just created a TPT freebie that is a fun learning activity for my firsties as they study Arctic animals. We played it today and they had a great time! I had them play in groups of 2 or 3. They used the question prompt card to ask questions and figure out which animal was on the crown. I used a paperclip to attach the animal to each crown. It’s a good idea to print at least 2 copies of the animal cards. When a pair of students finished and identified their animal they asked for another one. So, I rotated around the room and put a different animal on the crown so they could play again. This is good for verbal skills and helps them learn more about Arctic animals. Have fun!

Lucy at Here’s an Idea is having a linky about what people eat in your state. I’m representing for Washington, but I had a hard time thinking of a distinct dish that is associated with our state. Of course, Washington is known for a fruit – apples! Over 1/2 of the apples that are sold for eating in the US come from our state. My family has been trying to focus on health lately and one of our goals has been to eat an apple a day. I’ve had an apple almost every day for this school year. There are many health benefits. I just read about the 3 apples a day plan – eat an apple before each meal. I may need to try that one. 🙂

Have a great week! Happy hat day!

January Calendar Days & National Bird Day freebies

Here is a list of some celebrated National Holidays in January – you may find a few surprising ones! You might have fun wearing some new socks on National Argyle Day or start a classroom band on National Kazoo Day. 🙂

I’m anxious to get back to my classroom and start working on Arctic animal studies! It’s one of my favorites. You can check out my best-seller: Arctic Animal Research Pages by clicking here. So, it doesn’t seem like a great time for me to celebrate National Bird Day! However, there are some great ideas and freebies out there for birds. I’ve listed some at the end of this post. You could use them on Monday or just hold onto these ideas until spring. Another way to incorporate two themes: focus on birds in the Arctic! They just happen to be some of the most fascinating birds that I’ve studied! A few of my favorites are the Arctic Tern, Peregrine Falcon & Snowy Owl.

The small Arctic Tern circumnavigates the globe during migration. They are also very territorial and will attack animals (or people!) who come near the next. I also just found out that they can hover!
[youtube] I can usually trick my 1st graders by asking them to name the fastest animal. Most of them will say the cheetah. Wrong! The cheetah is the fastest land animal and can reach speeds of 70 mph. The peregrine falcon can reach speeds of 200 mph while diving! Incredible! My students already know this since I can never wait until January to teach it! Plus, there was a passenger on board the Mayflower who was named Peregrine (Peregrine White – He was actually born after they arrived and while they were still anchored in the harbor). This year, one of my littles, drew that name for their “Pilgrim Name” and so they definitely had to learn about that bird. I’m curious as to why that name was chosen. I wonder if those birds were near the boat during their voyage?

Everything about owls is so fascinating – owl pellets, asymmetrical ears, variety of homes, etc. There is a wealth of information to keep young learners interested. Snowy Owls are one of the animals in my Arctic Animals unit and there is also an All About Owls product that helps students learn about owls while learning new vocabulary.

On to some general freebies and crafts about birds. 🙂

1) My friend, Chrystine, at Tweet Resources has made these awesome I have…Who Has… games. My kiddos love these games! It just so happens that there is a Bird Joke freebie game. I am SO excited to print this out and use it in my classroom. My 1st graders will love it!

2) I love this inspirational poster by Ben Clarance. It’s a great reminder to celebrate individuality!

The woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best. – Henry van Dyke.

3) Montessori Print Shop has created a wonderful freebie to teach about bird adaptations and beaks.

4) Here is an easy bird feeder made with a cardboard tube. You can read about it @ The Ramblings of a Crazy Woman. 🙂 This seems like it would actually be a great project for this time of year. Does anyone know if they will come if you start leaving out food in the winter? Have they already found other food sources by then or are they always looking?

5) I chose this for a craft once for 1st-5th graders. They turned out so cute! It is You just need to cut out the template from the pages of an old book (Goodwill!) and then lightly ink the edge and apply a little glitter. Then, attach to a clothespin! Beautiful!

6) This is a freebie (sample) from my Animal Writing pages with word banks. Just click on the picture to download. I love to give the students a list of words related to what they are writing about. It gives them such confidence and helps them to become more detailed writers. They often have lots of info. – they just need practice to express it well!

Another bird resource to consider adding to your teaching resources is this wonderful book by Dianna Aston. She has a few more books like this (a butterfly one, etc.) and they are all fantastic! I hope she keeps creating them! I love that the front endpapers have pictures of the eggs and the back endpapers have pictures of the birds. You can spend a while just matching up the two!

I really should make a general bird unit! I absolutely love teaching about birds. 🙂 In addition to the products listed above, I also have one for Bald Eagles.

I hope that you’ve learned a bit about birds and found some new resources for your classroom. Thanks for visiting! I’d love to hear a comment or two! 🙂