February 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.
We 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 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 () for his Plan () 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.
A 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.
If 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!
Who 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.
Last but not least, Groundhog Gets A Say by Pamela Curtis Swallow is another book that combines narrative and expository text structures. The Setting () of the story is the day after Groundhog Day and the Kick-Off () is that the groundhog thinks that one day is not enough and tries to convince () 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.
Is spring very near? I hope so!