It’s cold and still dark in the mornings and the Christmas holidays feel so very far away, that's why it is so important to remember that there are many upcoming fun events that we can celebrate and use to help brighten our days, enrich our curriculum and of course, help our students learn and explore other cultures.
January/February for me as an Early Years teacher has always been fun and packed with so many celebrations packed into the shortest month, I still remember the time that Chinese New Year, Valentine's Day and Shrove Tuesday all fell on the same day! (If you are wondering what we made, it was heart-shaped Chinese-style 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 enrichment activities.
Lunar New Year Friday, 22 January
When planning any sessional event always remember to look at the seasonal calendar in Busy Things, The award-winning Busy Things platform offers a comprehensive collection of interactive games and activities, learning tools, and engaging primary school resources to help you breathe life into the curriculum! There’s an exciting resource to help you teach every subject, including English and literacy, phonics, maths, science, history, geography, art and music. From Early Years right through Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2. All of the Busy Things primary school resources are mapped onto the National Curriculum, so you can be sure that they’re helping you achieve your learning objectives.
The seasonal calendar is a simple way to search for content and activities that link to a peculiar event, with a range of fun activities to explore the celebrations, including Designing your own fireworks display, colouring in Chinese lions and dragons and exploring the Chinese zodiac as well as printable topic packs for in-class activities and at-home activities.
For more fantastic sessional content have you seen just2easy Community library? Browse through pages of worksheets, interactive activities, and more. Suitable for children across the primary age range. Continually updated by Just2easy staff and teachers in the j2e community. Choose to search by keyword, age and/or subject. Recommended and popular resources are shown first, making it easy to find the right resource for you and your children. Most resources are also suitable for printing.
You can choose to share a resource with children or colleagues or set it as a j2homework activity. Children will only see library resources that a teacher has shared with them, ensuring that they only have access to age-appropriate content.
Within the Chinese/Lunar new year tagged resources you will find a few great ideas to use.
Money bag activity: At Lunar New Year, it's tradition to give the gift of a bright, beautiful red envelope (known as 紅包, hóngbāo) to your friends and family. But not just any old envelope. These are filled with money - and symbolize good wishes and luck for the new year ahead. Each envelope on this j2e5 activity has an amount printed on it. Can you drag the coins onto the envelope to show the right amount? find this activity here.
Lunar New Year cards: How about getting your students to make a year of the Rabbit poster or card using this Chinese New Year template, made with just2easy's j2e5 tool, use the template here.
Valentine's Day 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 some of that in their lives?
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 Express 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 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, and 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 exploring typography, creating word art in the j2e5 tool, getting 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, an example is here.
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 about the pieces as well, a lesson example can be found here.
Shrove Tuesday, 21st February
You would be flipping furious if you forget about Shrove Tuesday, If you want to keep the activity mess-free you could also make virtual pancakes using the 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.
If you need help with setting up or making the most of either Busy things or the just2easy platforms then please do contact the Inspire team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org for free support and guidance.
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.