6 Books and Activity for Groundhog Day - MindWing Concepts, Inc.

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6 Books and Activity for Groundhog Day

by Sheila Zagula January 28, 2018 3 min read

Groundhog photo Copyright 123rf SmileusFebruary 2nd was always a pleasant day when I taught kindergarten. After exploring groundhogs, we were ready for Groundhog Day! It was always an enjoyable break from our daily routine, especially during the long winter months here in New England. During a recent trip to our local library in Springfield, MA, I was reminded of this time and checked out a few books to share with you.

Groundhog IconGroundhog Day coverWe can always count on Gail Gibbon’s books to inform students in an entertaining way. So it is with Groundhog Day. The book gives information on the celebration itself, groundhogs, and includes additional “Groundhog Facts.”

Groundhog IconGroundhog Weather School coverGroundhog Weather School, Fun Facts About Weather And Groundhogs written by Joan Holub combines both narrative and informational texts that students would find engaging. The head groundhog forecaster realizes he needs help which is the Kick-Off (Kick-Off Icon) for his Plan (Plan Icon) to find additional groundhogs to help forecast the arrival of spring. We are then given a great deal of information about all aspects of this special day as we join nine students at groundhog school. This was a new one to me and one that I would definitely add to my class library.

Groundhog IconWoodchucks coverA New True Book, Woodchucks by Emilie U. Lepthien is a traditional informational book that has been around for a while. The information on woodchucks is presented in a clear, concise manner. There are many books in this series on various topics… the photos alone are well worth adding this to your collection in your discussion of groundhogs. The author describes the groundhog, its habitat, life cycle and the tradition of Groundhog Day. It includes vocabulary words and an index for student use.

Groundhog IconGroundhog Book of Facts coverIf you are looking for a book for older elementary students, pick up a copy of Wendie Old’s book, The Groundhog Day Book of Facts and Fun. The book has eight short chapters with groundhog riddles presented throughout. I especially liked the last chapter which gives great ideas on having a Groundhog Day Party… including games (who remembers Shadow Tag?), crafts, and foods!

Groundhog IconWho Will See Their Shadow coverWho Will See Their Shadows This Year? written by Jerry Pallotta would be a fine selection for preschool students. It presents a series of animals who want to be famous like the groundhog so each looks for its shadow. However, each in turn, brings another type of weather (ex. The chicken brings a rain storm, the polar bear brings a blizzard). It is a simple, fun presentation about Groundhog Day and would fit in nicely with weather/changes in seasons.

Groundhog IconGroundhog Gets A Say coverLast but not least, Groundhog Gets A Say by Pamela Curtis Swallow is another book that combines narrative and expository text structures. The Setting (Star Icon) of the story is the day after Groundhog Day and the Kick-Off (Kick-Off Icon) is that the groundhog thinks that one day is not enough and tries to convince (Plan Icon) others that it should be Groundhog Appreciation Month. I like the way the groundhog tries to persuade others by giving facts about itself. Other characters are also present in the story with their own thoughts, but in the end, the groundhog prevails! This is a great, easily formatted story to show persuasion…using facts to convince others.

The habitat of the groundhog would be interesting to most elementary school aged students and setting activities could be presented in a variety of ways.

  1. Setting FrameGive the students a Setting frame found in our Braidy manual. After reading and discussing the groundhog’s burrow invite students to draw one of their own! This would make a good center activity, and then have students share their pictures with other classmates. Most of the selections above have wonderful illustrations that students could refer to.
  2. Drawing & Writing PageStudents could use the drawing and writing page from our Braidy manual to draw the burrow and write a sentence or two describing it.
  3. Informational List MapHave students use the Informational List Map found in our Talk to Write manual after you read information on the groundhog’s habitat (information modified to meet student needs). Ask students to list 5 things they learned about the topic. Share whole group.
  1. You could also choose either of our Setting Maps (shown at right from Braidy manual and from Talk to Write) for students to gather information and orally share and/or write about describing the groundhog’s burrow.
  2. The completed project below was created after using the List Map. Students wrote five facts about the groundhog burrow and glued them to each point on the star (setting) icon. Materials: Large Setting Icon, page 140, Braidy Manual; STAMPede Stamps; Card stock paper for Setting icon; notecards, cut in half, 5 each; pen, pencil, crayons (or colored pencils); scissors, glue. Students can then share the information with one another.

Is spring very near? I hope so!

Finished Project photo

Sheila Zagula
Sheila Zagula

Sheila Zagula works with MindWing Concepts in product development, drawing on her expertise and talents as well as many years of implementing the Story Grammar Marker® and related materials. Her teaching career spans thirty-eight years, most recently as literacy coach in the Westfield Massachusetts Public School System. Sheila has experience as an early childhood educator, a teacher of children with special needs, and a collaborative instructor within an inclusion framework serving children in grades K-5.

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