Look let’s be very honest the word ‘celebration’ is not one we are really using much at the moment, if you are anything like me the only event you may be relating to currently is Groundhog day with every day feeling like the same. It’s why it is so important to remember that there are upcoming fun events that we can celebrate and use to help break up our days, enrich our curriculum and of course, help our students learn and explore other cultures either at home or at school.
February for me as an Early Years teacher has always been fun packed with so many celebrations packed into the shortest month, I still remember the time that Chinese New Year, Valentines Day and Shrove Tuesday all fell on the same day! (If you are wondering what we made, it was heart-shaped Chinese pancakes).
Below are examples of how LGfL’s award-winning curriculum resources can support you in celebrating upcoming events in February, either as lessons or as enrichments activities.
Chinese New Year Friday, 12 February
It is more vital than ever at the moment to get our students moving around and creating, so why not start off the year of the Ox with a bang by asking your students to make their lion or dragon heads (with old cardboard boxes) and get them to perform a dance to celebration and usher in good luck and blessings for the new Lunar year.
If you are in need of some music, don’t worry as we have bundles of music which you can find free in Audio Network, if you haven’t got the time I have created a playlist for you to use here (You will need to log in with you USO to access this playlist).
To explore how the music was made you may want to share this video which is shows behind the scenes montage of how some of the music for the Chinese New Year playlist was recorded.
A big part of the Lunar new celebrations is, of course, feasting on fabulous foods, why not organise a cook along with your students at home with these Chinese recipes from CookIt. The primary purpose of Cookit is to improve pupils’ skills, understanding and enjoyment of food and healthy eating. The site provides support for the teaching and learning of a wide range of basic skills and processes. It encourages and inspires learners to explore cooking and to create and share their own recipes, using both the site and mobile devices.
How about making something like these lovely Jiaozis (Chinese Meat Dumplings) and remember you can change the meat to a soy-based alternative.
Or for something easier on the kitchen skill level how about Fortune Cookies?
As well as exploring tasty recipes you can also explore various exotic vegetables and spices in CookIt, such as gai-lan (Chinese Broccoli) star anise, you can also explore cooking equipment for example woks.
Another way of exploring ingredients is to observe them by drawing them, you may want to use this idea from Art Skills for Teachers from the Ben Uri Gallery to explore observation drawings with fruits and vegetables found in China.
Finally for Chinese New Year have a look at the seasonal calendar in Busy Things, filled will fun activities to explore the celebrations, including Designing your own Firework display, colouring in Chinese lions and dragons and exploring the Chinese zodiac.
How about getting your students to make a year of the Ox poster or card using this Chinese New Year template, made with just2easy’s j2e5 tool, use the template here?
Valentines Sunday, 14 February
Like the day or not, Valentine’s Day does not just have to be a day of spending money on gifts; it can also be a day when we can celebrate the idea of love and kindness and who doesn’t need a bit of that at the moment?
Why not keep the cook along going by making a tasty chocolate marzipan heart-shaped treat for parents and carers – again using the cooking resource CookIt. Or maybe you might want to get your students to make the exotic-sounding Love Apple Soup (Don’t worry your students will not have to hunt around for these exotic fruits, love apple is another name for tomatoes!)
The seasonal calendar in Busy Things has a fun, simple to make Valentine’s Day card that could be posted or sent digitally. Or why not write a valentine rhyming couplet like me? Don’t worry if you don’t get a card on the day, just download the card below!
Another way to make a card is by using the powerful versatile tool Adobe Spark Post offers a wide array of designs and templates so you can make your own gorgeous Valentine’s day cards. Simply pick the template that best fits your mood, add text, or swap the image with one of your own, see the project template here.
Art can be a great way to express and explore the concept of love, you may want to use this idea from Art Skills for Teachers from the Ben Uri Gallery, Drawing with Words, this is a great way to combine literacy and visual art. It works best if the student has sets of the felt tip pen-style calligraphy pens, but the same method can be used without them. Think of the object (something or someone you love) you would like to draw. Come up with a list of describing words for that person, scene or object, for example for a beach scene you could write, calm, windy, breezy, and also the words for the objects that you might find there such as shore, waves, sand, beach, boat etc.
You could also do this activity digitally by explore typography, creating word art in the j2e5 tool, get your students to think of a word and get your students to explore font style, colour and size to create a simple piece of word art.
Another way to explore the concept of love is to share with your students’ examples of artwork that students could explore and then create their own digital piece of work, using the jit5 tool, I recommend the wonderful emotive piece by Keith Haring ‘Mother and Child‘ or Robert Indiana series called ‘Love’. You can use the recording feature found in jit5 to ask your students to share their feeling on the pieces as well.
Shrove Tuesday, 16 February
You would be flipping furious if you forget about Shrove Tuesday, and again let’s think about our stomachs first with pancake recipes from CookIt. First off here is a recipe for traditional pancakes or how about flipping through the historic cookbooks and making this medieval style of pancake called ‘Cryspez‘?
If you want to keep the activity mess-free you could also make virtual pancakes using Busy Things pancake maker activity again found in the seasonal calendar. Let me know in the comments what your favourite filling for a pancake is, mine is a melted Cadbury’s Creme Egg!
Speaking of favourite toppings you could run a quick survey, asking your students what their favourite topping is using just2easy‘s Pictogram tool found in Jit5, a simple activity to do when delivering live registration.
Don’t forget to please share your February celebratory creations with us on LGfL’s Twitter or Facebook pages as we love to share them with the greater LGfL community.