The one with February plans for upper elementary

February Teaching Plans
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January is the month that never ends, but February can fly by! Yes, I know it’s the shortest month, but it also has a lot of important dates. Here’s what I’m planning on sharing with my students in February.

First and foremost, February is Black History Month. This should NOT be the first time you teach about Black history in school, however, it’s important to use this month to highlight the amazing accomplishments of Black people. One way I highlight different events and people in the Black community is a daily read aloud from 28 Days: Moments in Black History that Changed the World. Each day we read one moment. I use Monday or Friday to catch up from the weekend, depending on the length of each day. I will also highlight books that feature Black characters, fiction or non-fiction. I highly recommend following Andrea @theliteracyjunkie and Dia @elementaryedventure on Instagram for book recommendations!

Second, Lunar New Year (which changes dates yearly) is celebrated in January/February. The next few years: February 1, 2022; January 22, 2023; and February 10, 2024. Be sure to check the date and add that to your calendars. My favorite picture book to read for this holiday is The Runaway Wok. There’s a short video on PBS Kids that is a great intro to this holiday. If we have time, we’ll also do a directed drawing for the animal of the year and talk about its significance. 2022 is the year of the tiger, 2023 will be the rabbit, and 2024 will be the dragon.

Next, Groundhog Day is a fun tradition. After the dreariness of January, I’m usually very ready for winter to be over! The day before, I like to have my students make a prediction and then explain why. This year, I’ll be using Jamboard to have them make their predictions. (Feel free to copy this picture and use it as a background!) Looking for a short video to explain the history of Groundhog Day to your students? Try this one from PBS. The same series as Lunar New Year, because I love the short videos to introduce holidays easily during morning meeting.

In addition, I found this book, Groundhog’s Dilemma, which is free on Epic that we’ll read also. I love the message it sends about being true to yourself and friendship. 

Valentine’s Day follows the next week. While I’m not personally a fan of Valentine’s, it’s a great excuse to create some poetry. This 14 days of poetry booklet is the perfect way to sprinkle in some poetry fun! While I’m currently virtual, it’s a struggle to fit in everything, so I’m going to try to use this as a little bit of writing during the beginning of the month. I purposely created a Google Slides™ version so my class can use it this year!

Closely behind V Day is Presidents’ Day. This holiday originated from George Washington’s birthday, and when it was moved to being on the third Monday in February, became close to Abraham Lincoln’s birthday also. Washington had a lot of flaws, namely his racism, his slave owning and perpetuating of the system. My class and I have talked about Washington and Lincoln previously, so we’ll be reading this fabulous book The Next President: The Unexpected Beginnings and Unwritten Future of America’s Presidents . It’s free on Epic, or you can grab it from Amazon.

This book shows the presidents as kids and promotes the idea of any kid being the next president. I especially love this now that we have a Black woman as our Vice President. We’ll talk about whether they want to be president and if they’ve ever thought of the presidents and our leaders as children.  

Just that first half of February is a whirlwind! We’ll continue to celebrate Black History Month throughout the second half also. Don’t forget it’s the whole month! (P.S. Side note, if this is the first time you’re recognizing Black history, you’re a little late. Make sure to talk about BIPOC throughout the school year.) Happy planning!

P.S. Any chance your class is acting a little nutty? This short month can feel chaotic, so if your class is need of a reboot, check out my FREE classroom management reboot guide!

Classroom Management Reboot

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