Happy February! This month we celebrate Black History Month, Valentine’s Day, Leap Day (this year, at least), and so much more. Make every day special for you and your students with these ideas ranging from sharing fun facts and trivia to more detailed classroom activities or prompts.
February 1: National Freedom Day
Black History Month begins on February 1 with National Freedom Day. Share with your class that on this day in 1865, President Abraham Lincoln signed the 13th Amendment to abolish slavery. However, the amendment was not ratified by the states until December 18, 1865.
February 2: Groundhog Day
On Monday, ask your students whether they guessed correctly if Punxsutawney Phil would see his shadow or not.
February 4: National Thank a Mail Carrier Day
Get out the art supplies and make a thank you card (or cards) for your school’s mail carrier!
February 5: World Read Aloud Day
Pair up with another grade and have the older students read a book out loud to the younger students. If you’re looking for book suggestions that will interest both grade levels, why not try the newly minted Caldecott Medal winner and Newbery Honor, The Undefeated, by Kwame Alexander and illustrated by Kadir Nelson?
Reading teacher and instructional coach Monica Fitzgerald shares more on effective interactive read alouds.
February 6: Chinese New Year continues
The Chinese New Year celebrations end on February 8, so don’t miss your chance to throw a class party to celebrate the Year of the Rat.
February 7: National Periodic Table Day
This holiday was invented by a teacher! Mr. David T. Steineker, a chemistry teacher in Kentucky, founded National Periodic Table Day on February 7 to mark the anniversary of the first table of the elements being published on February 7, 1863. Quiz your students by asking them to identify elements of the periodic table!
February 8: Library Lovers’ Month
Combine two month-long celebrations by planning an excursion to your school’s library. Have students choose an African American author and select a book written by him or her to check out from the library.
February 9: National Pizza Day
The obvious choice here is to have a pizza party. But if that’s not an option, share this fun fact with your students: on average, Americans consume 23 pounds of pizza per person each year (according to the Washington Post).
February 10: Umbrella Day
Share this fun fact with the class: you might think the umbrella is perfect as-is, but people are constantly working to improve this invention. As of 2008, the U.S. Patent Office had registered 3,000 active patents on umbrella-related inventions.
February 11: International Day of Women and Girls in Science
Back in 2015, the United Nations deemed February 11 the formal date to recognize the contributions of #WomenInScience. Dive deeper by selecting a famous female scientist to research together (a personal hero of mine is Sylvia Acevedo, a rocket scientist who is currently CEO of the Girl Scouts).
February 12: Black History Month continues
Don’t let the month pass you by without taking the opportunity to study the history of African Americans and civil rights in the United States with these activities. (February is also a great reminder to ensure your curriculum year-round continues to include the many significant contributions of African Americans throughout history.)
February 13: World Radio Day
Radio has the largest mass media audience in the world—even more than television The United Nations established World Radio Day to promote diversity and democratic discourse. Why not celebrate by recording a class radio program? You can have teams cover pop culture, sports, news, weather, and local updates!
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