February 2020: Celebrate a Holiday in Class Every Day

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 3: Beginning of National School Counseling Week
Be sure to thank your school’s guidance counselor as National School Counseling Week begins today. Here are more ideas for how to participate.

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!

February 14: Valentine’s Day
Try one or more of these seven activities to celebrate the most loving day of the year.

February 15: World Hippo Day
Cheers to the world’s third-largest land mammal! Take today to learn about Fiona, the hippopotamus who took social media by storm as a baby at the Cincinnati Zoo.

February 16: Beginning of Take Your Family to School Week
Sponsored by the National Parent Teacher Association, this weeklong event celebrates family engagement. Invite your students’ families to come in for class one day during this week (and save yourself a scheduling snafu by asking families to sign up for different days and times). 

February 17: Presidents’ Day
Presidents’ Day can be a great time for you to teach your students about the institution of the presidency, the history of the men who have held the position, and how a president is elected—and hopefully someday in the near future, we’ll be able to say that this day honors the history of the men and women who have served as president! Here are a few activities to choose from.

February 18: Pluto Day
In our books, Pluto deserves to be celebrated even if it’s not an official planet anymore! Share this factoid with your class: Pluto was first discovered as a dwarf planet in February 1930.

February 19: Random Acts of Kindness Week
From February 16-23, practice SEL by encouraging your students to practice random acts of kindness for their classmates, school, community, families, and more. And find ideas with free downloadable lesson plans here.

February 20: World Day of Social Justice
The theme for this year’s event is “Closing the Inequalities Gap to Achieve Social Justice.” Consider starting a classroom service project to give back to your community.

February 21: International Mother Language Day
Ask your students to share their favorite word in their mother tongue. Likely, this will be an English word, but be sure to empower students who don’t speak English as their first language by encouraging them to select a word or phrase in their mother language. According to the United Nations, “every two weeks a language disappears taking with it an entire cultural and intellectual heritage.” 

February 22: George Washington’s Birthday
Quiz your students by asking if they know which U.S. president was born today. Give them a hint by providing the year (1732).

February 23: Gutenberg Bible “Birthday”
On this day in 1455, it is estimated that Johannes Gutenberg printed his first Bible. This is considered the start of mass-produced books.

February 24: Tortilla Chip Day
Serve up a bowl of tortilla chips—and break out the salsa if you’re feeling fancy! Every student will love the opportunity to snack.

February 25: Mardi Gras
Greet your students with the Cajun French phrase, “Laissez les bons temps rouler,” which means, “let the good times roll,” the Mardi Gras motto.

February 26: National Tell a Fairy Tale Day
Read your class a fairy tale. Then, ask students to create their own fairy tales and share them with the class!

February 27: Polar Bear Day
Polar bears face a lot of challenges with climate change warming their home in the Arctic. Polar Bears International has lots of resources for teachers to take action with their students.

February 28: National Public Sleeping Day
More sleep helps to support a better mood. Set aside a few minutes of time today to have a restful nap (or close your eyes for a group mindfulness meditation).

February 29: Leap Day
Use the opportunity to practice goal setting with your students. Try to set a goal for the next five Leap Days—that’s 20 years’ worth of goals! 

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And here are ideas to celebrate January holidays and March holidays!

Find more lesson plans and classroom resources on Shaped.