by Diane Burdick, Ed.S
Comment on this post and be entered to win a $20 School Box gift card!
Thanksgiving and Christmas may be over, but that’s just fine by me because I recently discovered a new favorite holiday. And although I’ve been celebrating the spirit of this day for many (many) years, I didn’t know there was an “official” holiday for it until recently. It can be summed up in one glorious word: CHOCOLATE.
That’s right, December 16 is “National Chocolate Covered Anything Day.” So of course I celebrated it with gusto this past month. And it got me thinking: what other lesser-known holidays are out there languishing without celebration?
A little digging led me to discover the answer: quite a few! Many of these holidays are silly, most are funny, and almost all are downright perfect for a teachable moment. Here are a few lesson ideas, based on January’s wacky holidays:
January 10: “Peculiar People Day”
Look up the word “peculiar” in the dictionary. Have students copy the definition and then write their own definition in their own words below it. Younger students can then draw a peculiar person, and older students can create a description of a peculiar person.
Since peculiar people aren’t boring in the least, be sure to brainstorm a list of colorful synonyms and adjectives to describe peculiar people. For example, you could ask children to consider what would make a basketball player peculiar from his teammates (height, or lack thereof), or what might make a ballerina peculiar (clumsiness, huge feet, a mohawk, etc.). They can write a “peculiar person paragraph” and illustrate it. Or, better yet: have them trade paragraphs with a classmate and illustrate each other’s based on the descriptions!
January 15: “Hat Day”
Provide magazines and have students search for hat pictures, cut them out, and make a “wacky hat” collage. Older students could research styles and fashions of different eras and see what types of hats were popular in each era. What was the purpose of each type of hat? For example, why are cowboy hats so different from baseball caps? Why did women used to wear hats to church? Why are Kentucky Derby attendees famous for wearing hats? Or add in a little math: What’s the average hat size in your classroom?
January 23: “National Handwriting Day”
Practice using your best handwriting to write thank-you notes to people in the school. Brainstorm a list of seldom-thanked staff members (media specialist, janitor, cafeteria workers, front desk receptionist, etc.) who might appreciate a well-penned note.
January 25: “Opposite Day”
Have fun with this one! Students can practice talking in opposites, or you can give instructions in opposites (“Stand up,” “Put your books away,” “Don’t write this down”). Give a sticker or small prize to the student who most successfully figures out and follows the correct instructions all day.
Here are some other wacky January holidays to get your creative juices flowing!
January 1: First Foot Day and Z Day
January 2: Run Up the Flagpole and See if Anybody Salutes It Day
January 3: Festival of Sleep Day
January 4: Trivia Day
January 5: Bird Day
January 6: Bean Day
January 7: Old Rock Day
January 8: National JoyGerm Day and Man Watcher’s Day
January 9: Play God Day
January 10: Peculiar People Day
January 11: National Step in a Puddle and Splash Your Friend Day
January 12: Feast of Fabulous Wild Men Day (couldn’t find a good explanation of this one…but it sounds fascinating)
January 13: Make Your Dream Come True Day (love this!)
January 14: National Dress Up Your Pet Day
January 15: Hat Day
January 16: Hot and Spicy Food International Day
January 17: Blessing of the Animals at the Cathedral Day
January 18: Winnie the Pooh Day
January 19: National Popcorn Day
January 20: National Buttercrunch Day
January 21: National Hugging Day (awww)
January 22: National Answer Your Cat’s Question Day (bizarre-o!) and National Blonde Brownie Day
January 23: National Handwriting Day, National Pie Day, and Measure Your Feet Day
January 24: Eskimo Pie Patent Day
January 25: Opposite Day
January 26: Australia Day
January 27: Punch the Clock Day
January 28: Rattle Snake Round-Up Day
January 29: National Cornchip Day
January 30: Escape Day
January 31: National Popcorn Day (just in case you missed it on the 19th! :)
Whichever holiday you choose to celebrate and integrate into the classroom, we’ll be excited to hear about it! Leave a comment about what you’ve already celebrated, or the holiday you plan on bringing into your classroom in the new year.