March 9, 2020
Thinking about how to bring St. Patrick’s Day into the classroom for your high schoolers this year? There are a variety of ways to use this holiday as a teaching opportunity, while also enjoying the whimsy and charm of rainbows and leprechauns.
St. Patrick’s Day is a special day for me – as my name suggests, I come from Irish stock and have the freckles to prove it. My three children are now in high school, but they still enjoy decorating the house with lots of gold, green and shamrocks.
Something our high schoolers may not realize is that St. Patrick’s Day is more than four-leaf clovers and rivers dyed green (shout-out to Chicago where My School Dance is based!) Our students can definitely benefit from learning more about the holiday and how it is celebrated – on both sides of the pond.
St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated as Ireland’s National Holiday, and banks, schools and some businesses close for the day. There are parades throughout the country, and some people observe the day by going to church or spending the day with family.
Here are some lessons and information you can share with your students about this day:
Debunk the myths about St. Patrick’s day by exploring some sites that delve into the facts and fiction about the holiday. Did you know, for example, that the original color of St. Patrick’s Day was blue? Ask your students to research this, and other interesting tidbits and in teams and report back. Incorporating technology by sharing what they have learned via Google Slides or other digital platforms can be an added bonus.
St. Patrick’s Day is a great reason to explore Irish literature and folktales with your students. Of course, English teachers likely have more than a few of these authors in their repertoire. Just in case, here are some lists and free links to Irish literature that may help round out your St. Patrick’s Day instruction:
Now for the rainbows, leprechauns, and pots of gold I promised. St. Patrick’s Day is a self-designated spirit day, as students are most likely going to wear green anyways to avoid the dreaded St. Patrick’s Day pinch. As the saying goes, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.
Having a St. Patrick’s Day dance or event?! Manage it for free with My School Dance!
Written by: Angela O’Brien