As we step into March, here in the Southern Hemisphere, we are looking forward to some cooler weather and a reprieve from summer’s heat as autumn begins. In the Northern Hemisphere, many will be looking forward to springtime and warmer days.
Things to do in March
Regardless of your location, March is a good time for discussing the seasons and observing changes in the environment.
Records might include observations of changes in:
- plants (remember this is the International Year of Plant Health so add that to your discussions)
- the weather including temperature
- their own activities
- the clothing they wear
- the foods they eat
Records could be made using photographs, artworks (including drawing, painting, collage) and words.
The Classroom Daily Calendar can assist you record the weather and season for each day.
Clean up Australia Day
The first of March is Clean up Australia Day. The website provides useful information to assist each of us to be proactive in eliminating waste and reducing pollution. Each section in helping us to ‘Clean Up Our Waste’ explains the problem and suggests actions we can take. Whether large or small, every action makes a difference. Why not encourage your students to employ positive actions for the environment.
The website also lists ways individuals, schools and communities can become involved in cleaning up Australia on Sunday 1 March. (Clean Up Schools Day is today, 28 February.)
Last year I had the pleasure of interviewing Anne Donnelly about her beautiful picture book Ori’s Clean-up. Its message is subtle, told in child-friendly ways in a fun story, and supports the aims of Clean Up Australia Day. Why not read and discuss it and other books with your children.
Another of my favourite books about pollution is The Lorax by Dr Seuss. With Dr Seuss’s birthday falling on 2 March. The timing for reading it is perfect.
Dr Seuss’s birthday
Dr Seuss’s birthday Dr Seuss (Theodor Seuss Geisel) was born on 2 March in 1904. His books are popular with children everywhere. How will you and your children celebrate his birthday?
Perhaps you could read a stack of books by Dr Seuss. Borrow them from the library. Ask children to bring in their own Dr Seuss books. Take a vote and draw a graph showing the children’s favourite Dr Seuss book. Which will it be?
Dr Seuss loved to rhyme. Perhaps you could encourage the children to write their own rhymes too. Dr Seuss wrote about The Cat in the Hat. Challenge the children to think of rhymes about other animals, for example, the dog on a log, the pig in a wig, the goat in a coat. The resource Animal Rhyme Time provides some starting suggestions.
St Patrick’s Day
St Patrick’s Day On 17 March each year, people around the world celebrate all things Irish, often with a parade or dressing up in green. Is St Patrick’s Day celebrated at your school? Will you be going green this year?
National Day of Action Against Bullying and Violence
In Australia, the National Day of Action Against Bullying and Violence is on Friday 20 March this year. It is as a day to take a stand against bullying and violence. Check out the Bullying. No Way! website for many teaching ideas and suggestions for being involved.
Here at readilearn, we believe that schools should be safe places for children where kindness and friendship flourish. We have numerous resources to assist the development of friendship skills, including:
We have also interviewed author Karen Tyrrell several times about her books for empowering children. They are suitable for reading aloud to your class or for independent reading by your older children. You can read those interviews and find out about her books here:
International Read to Me Day
International Read to Me Day is held on 19 March each year. The day aims to empower children to take an active role in their developing literacy by reminding adults that they need to be read to every day. How many stories will you read to children today? Perhaps you could:
- Remind children why it is important to ask someone to read to them.
- Invite children to choose a library book to take home for someone to read to them.
- Send a note home to parents and carers reminding them why it is important to read to their children every day.
The website includes suggestions for getting involved and a reading list that includes The Lion in Our Living Room by Emma Middleton. I had the pleasure of interviewing Emma in 2018.
National Close the Gap Day
National Close the Gap Day occurs on 19 March in Australia. The day is “an annual awareness event that aims to close the health and life expectancy gap between the indigenous and the non-indigenous communities in Australia.” How can you help close the gap for children in your class?
Absolutely Incredible Kid Day
The aim of the Absolutely Incredible Kid Day is to celebrate children and to encourage adults to write letters to children telling them how incredible they are. Why not write a personal note to each child in your class, telling them something special about themselves?
Or to help boost their confidence and self-esteem, you could make a class copy of the book The Clever Children, to which each child contributes a page.
The spring equinox occurs on 19 March in the Northern Hemisphere.
The autumn equinox occurs on 20 March in the Southern Hemisphere.
The equinoxes occur when the centre of the sun is exactly over the equator. The equinoxes mark the change of seasons astronomically, while the first of the month in which the equinox occurs marks the seasons meteorologically.
World Poetry Day
World Poetry Day is observed on 21 March each year. It is a day for appreciating and supporting poets, and for reading and writing poetry. According to UNESCO, “One of the main objectives of the Day is to support linguistic diversity through poetic expression and to offer endangered languages the opportunity to be heard within their communities.
The observance of World Poetry Day is also meant to encourage a return to the oral tradition of poetry recitals, to promote the teaching of poetry, to restore a dialogue between poetry and the other arts…”
Children enjoy poetry and rhyming verse and stories. It helps to develop an ear for language in a fun way and can be used as a springboard for lots of learning.
Be sure to check back to our interview with Australian poet June Perkins about her beautiful book of poetry for children Magic Fish Dreaming and this post about Appreciating and exploring poetry in lower primary classrooms which includes poetry by Jennifer R. Poulter.
Here at readilearn, we also have many resources to support your teaching of poetry; including:
Christmas poems has examples and templates for writing five different forms of poems: acrostic, sound, haiku, I love and shape poems. The poetic forms are suitable for writing at any time of the year.
Let’s read and write with Little Miss Muffet provides suggestions for a series of lessons developing oral language, reading, writing and imagination.
Write your own “I love” poem encourages children to innovate on the traditional camping song I love the mountains.
If You Were an animal —poem and teaching notes includes a fun poem to recite with lesson ideas for both English and Science.
Busy Bee chants help to foster and sense of belonging and can be learned and chanted every day to send the children out of the classroom at the end of the day feeling joyous and happy to be at school.
How will you include poetry reading and writing in your class program?
Events promoting harmony, respect and inclusiveness
In Australia, Harmony Week runs from 15 March, culminating on Harmony Day on 21 March. It is a celebration of Australia’s cultural diversity. “It’s about inclusiveness, respect and a sense of belonging for everyone.” A collection of free lesson suggestions are available on the website.
Harmony Day coincides with the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination which “aims to remind people of racial discrimination’s negative consequences. It also encourages people to remember their obligation and determination to combat racial discrimination.”
Supportive and welcoming classrooms in which everyone feels accepted and has a sense of belonging contribute to a harmonious and tolerant society. Here at readilearn, many of our resources assist you in developing those features in your classroom.
The Family Traditions and Celebrations unit helps children get to know more about their own family’s history and to share those histories with each other. When we learn about each other, we learn respect and tolerance.
Getting to know you surveys are great to help children get to know each other, to find their similarities and to accept and appreciate their differences.
Me and my friends is another great way to help children get to know each other.
It is also important to read stories about children and families from diverse backgrounds. The list of Multicultural picture books — a selection from my bookshelf provides some suggestions to get you started.
Also celebrated on 21 March is World Down Syndrome Day. This year’s theme “We Decide” is one of empowerment for both people with Down Syndrome and their supporters and carers. It is celebrated on 21 March to “raise public awareness of Down syndrome, a congenital disorder caused by having an extra 21st chromosome”.
International Day of Forests
International Day of Forests is also celebrated on 21 March. The purpose of the day is to promote the importance of forests and trees in our lives. It is a perfect fit for discussions during the International Year of Plant Health. You could:
- include learning about trees and forests in your science work – types of trees, features of trees, how trees grow, what trees need.
- read books about trees; for example, The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein, Leaf Litter by Rachel Tonkin and The Lorax by Dr Seuss.
- write poems about trees as you sit under trees (use the Tree shape poem template for presenting the poems).
- make a classroom display with information about trees (refer to the 3D Classroom tree display for suggestions).
Earth Hour from 8.30 – 9.30 pm on Saturday 28 March encourages people to switch off and take positive action for the planet and climate change. Earth Hour for Schools is on Friday 27th. A collection of free resources for teachers is available from the website. We are all encouraged to be part of the solution, switch off and #Connect2Earth.
There is certainly no shortage of dates to celebrate in March. March is a month for
- raising awareness and taking action about climate change by caring for our planet.
- ensuring that we are respectful and accepting of each other in our diverse and multicultural communities.
- reading, writing and appreciating literature in all its forms.
Have a wonderful March.
A free list of these days and events to celebrate in the classroom is now available to download in the readilearn collection here.
Remember to check out the complete readilearn collection of
over 400 teaching resources for the first three years of school
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