I decided to take a new concept-based instruction approach to teaching activities for St.Patrick’s Day. I have found that my young students really enjoy thematic method of teaching so I created some new Saint Patrick’s Day Kid Activities that were fun and engaging for them. They also fit in with my strategies for active learning.
“What is concept-based instruction?”
You may be asking, “What is concept-based instruction?” It is when your curriculum is all connected together by a certain theme, such as St.Patrick’s Day. Your vocabulary, reading, and writing are centered around your theme. My themes often come from our social studies and science units.
Concept-based instruction will provide your students with countless benefits. Here are just a few. Your students will: (Inspirational Teaching Using Limited Resources)
- Have fun,
- Be more actively involved,
- Develop learning skills more quickly, as each one is connected to and reinforced by the other,
- Be more confident and better motivated,
- Present fewer discipline problems.
I like to add fun math games for our St. Patrick’s Day theme. My thematic teaching ideas help make the best connections for my students, and they get so excited to learn the new theme for the week! I introduce the St.Patrick’s Day theme during calendar time and continue it throughout the day. Our words for St.Patrick’s Day are: ST. PATRICK’S DAY, EMERALD, LEPRECHAUN, CLEVER, IRELAND, TREASURE, SHAMROCK, WISHES, GOLD, RAINBOW.
Check out these books that I like to read to my class.
Use a vocabulary theme to boost your day the right way
Your class meeting is the perfect time to introduce and reinforce your vocabulary theme. I begin teaching my students vocabulary about St.Patrick’s Day using this calendar. I like to show them the words for the week, and then discuss each word for the day at calendar time. Here is our vocabulary process:
- Clap syllables
- Discuss the meanings of the words
- Help students discover word parts that help them sound out words
I introduce and sing the song that goes with the theme. The song also includes the vocabulary words that I introduce for the week. Singing and clapping syllables are quick and simple ways to incorporate active learning strategies for kids. My students also highlight these words in their emergent readers.
CLICK HERE to read about our concept based instruction routine for class meetings.
I explain and review these words every day so my students can build and improve their understanding of these words for our vocabulary theme. Then they do a cut and paste worksheet at a center during guided reading to reinforce the word. You can read more HERE. Students use these words to write a story at the end of the week, and their writing skills improve with each week. See how dramatic their growth is by clicking HERE.
See more about this calendar HERE.
Add this STEM approach to your techniques for active learning
My students have so much fun with this that it’s now an essential part of my techniques for active learning. Around this time of year, we discuss the leprechaun and all his tricks. He is a clever leprechaun that likes to cause trouble. After learning our vocabulary theme for the week, I read to my students about the leprechaun.
Check out these books that I like to read to my class.
After they read about the leprechaun, they make traps to try and catch him. I explain to them that they have to be more clever than the leprechaun. This is another opportunity to reinforce the word “clever.” You can even plan your STEM project on the day you discuss clever. How “clever” is that?
CLICK HERE to read more about our traps.
Motivate your readers with these fun approaches to St.Patrick’s Day Vocabulary
As you may have guessed already, we are all about centers and differentiation of instruction. So naturally, we’re going to give you some ideas to blend this concept-based instruction into your centers.
Go green with reading and writing centers
- Give them green playdough to make letters
- Make a list of green things
- Have students work in groups or 1 on 1 to see who can come up with the most items
- Use a writing prompt: “I like green ______________. Then they can draw a picture.”
More Saint Patrick’s Day kid activities for writing centers
- Use some themed writing prompts
- If I caught a leprechaun, my 3 wishes would be…
- If I found a pot of gold, I would….
Make your reading time more efficient with Boom
A great way I found to help increase my students’ reading comprehension and teach social studies at the same time was using this St. Patrick’s Day Boom Reader. These Boom readers are great Saint Patrick’s Day online activities for your students!
We have had so many teachers share their successes with the real images that help children, especially SPED and ESL students to make connections. They can listen to the audio by clicking on the speaker icon, or they can practice reading the cards without the audio. I love using these Boom cards because I can teach with them on a Smartboard or use them in centers for my students to read on their own. The questions, vocabulary practice, and phonics practice make a huge difference in the confidence of my readers.
I also love them because the kids love them! As a bonus, we have just added a deck with just the reader and questions to the bundle to make it more differentiated for students.
Try out a few cards for free HERE
Sign up for your free Boom Reader All About Reading HERE! Your students will learn words like vowels, blends and digraphs in this fun Boom reader along with a song that helps students to learn how to read.
Easily differentiate for your emergent learners
These St.Patrick’s Day vocabulary Boom cards are great for developing vocabulary! My students benefit from seeing the real images of the words and listening to the audio definitions of the words. I use these cards in centers as a followup to the St. Patrick’s Day Reader.
These cards are great for centers or you can use them during your group instruction time. Because all Boom cards are self-checking, there is no simpler way to track your students’ progress. This is also a fantastic way to add phonics to your unit time throughout the week.
Practice syllables, phonics and finding the words in sentences. The students love dragging the pointer to the correct answers. Increase your students’ Saint Patrick’s Day reading comprehension, and add valuable vocabulary practice to all your units.
The best thing about this thematic method of teaching is the rich vocabulary my students are learning. Their writing skills improve the more we write using a thematic vocabulary list each week. These words help them to stay on topic, and their writing confidence skyrockets.
Try out a few cards for free HERE.
Fun math games are the perfect solution to concept-based strategy
One of the ideas I love most about concept-based instruction is connecting various avenues of learning together. I can highlight math ideas during reading time. I can include St. Patrick’s Day vocabulary in fun math games. Here’s where you can start.
Use reading as a Saint Patrick’s Day math activity
There is an adorable little book called, Ten Lucky Leprechauns. It is great for practicing counting and adding on.
CLICK HERE to give it a look.
There is more you can do with this book, though, that will be a real treat for your kinesthetic learners. Use your students as leprechauns. Each time you see the phrase, “fiddle de fizz, there’s magic there is, when leprechauns find each other,” change it to “Our classroom is full of leprechauns and Fiddle-de-fizz there’s magic there is, when leprechauns find each other.” Call one student up to be the first leprechaun. Each time you read the phrase, either invite another student up or have one of your leprechauns choose a student.
Once you have finished the book, keep your leprechauns up front and play fun math games. Have students practice their number pairs with the students up front. You can arrange them or you can have one of your advanced students arrange them. Students can copy the number pairs on a whiteboard or just say them out loud.
It’s easy to give your students luck with this St.Patrick’s Day online game.
My students love practicing math skills with this St.Patrick’s Day online game! Boom is a great way for students to practice basic math facts and when you invest in a subscription, Boom tracks their progress.
CLICK HERE to get Boom for your classroom!
This math game bundle will help kids review numerous skills such as addition, subtraction, money, telling time, fractions, word problems and place value. There are digital and printable products which are the best solution for differentiation!
Would you rather have everything you need in one handy bundle? Get the St. Patrick’s Day Math and Reading bundle for all your concept-based instruction needs!
Try out a few cards for free HERE
Do you use concept-based instruction in your classroom? We would love for you to leave a comment if you do and let us know how well it works for your students.
If you haven’t tried it, give it a try today with one of our concept-based units.
They also include word wall cards with real photos like the book. Students really benefit from seeing them displayed each week. Some teachers like to use them in writing centers.
Email us with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are here to make your differentiated teaching more dynamic.
Don’t forget to sign up for your FREE Boom Reader All About Reading! Students will read and sing their way to reading and have fun doing it!
May the luck o’ the Irish be with you!