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Favorite Books and Activities for February

There is always a lot to look forward to in February.  The month is filled with a lot of fun celebrations that also invite unique learning opportunities. Groundhog Day, Valentine's Day, Presidents Day, Black History Month, and the 100th Day of School are just a few of the celebrations you may be gearing up for in February.  There are so many meaningful books and lessons to share with your upper elementary students throughout the month. Here are some of my favorite books and activities for February.

1. The Chinese New Year

The date of the Chinese New Year, also known as the Lunar New Year, changes each year but it still always falls in January or February. The celebrations usually last about 16 days and end with the Lantern Festival.

You can read and do activities with students to teach about the Chinese New Year and celebrate.

A few favorite books that you can read about Chinese New Year:

Holidays Around the World: Celebrate Chinese New Year | This Next New Year | Bringing in the New Year | How to Catch a Dragon | Lunar New Year (Celebrate the World) | Celebrating Chinese New Year: History, Traditions, and Activities | Ruby's Chinese New Year | Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas

2. Groundhog Day

Your kids will love sharing their thoughts about Phil and his shadow!  Groundhog Day is one of those days that gives a nice break to the regular morning routine, doesn't get kids *too* wild and excited, and once the fun of the shadow watching is over, your day can move on. It's really a great school holiday that you can have some memorable learning moments with!

Foldable books are my favorite for special occasions such as Groundhog Day.  I love to have students complete a foldable book as a bell ringer or morning work and then share them during morning meetings.  It gives students a chance to write down their thoughts about the day and allows them to share their ideas and their excitement when there is a special occasion. A short but sweet activity like a foldable book gives kids a chance to make a prediction, write about Phil, and more.

You can watch a short, kid-friendly video all about Groundhog Day HERE.

You can grab the foldable book for Groundhog Day HERE.

Here are some Groundhog Day books that you and your kids will love:

Grumpy Groundhog | Groundhog Weather SchoolGroundhog Gets a SayGroundhog Day!Groundhog's Runaway ShadowGroundhog's Dilemma | Go to Sleep Groundhog | Substitute Groundhog

3. World Read Aloud Day

One of my very favorite things in the world is reading aloud…so of course, there is much to celebrate come February 2nd (after Groundhog Day, of course) with World Read Aloud Day.

There are so many great things that you can do to promote reading in your classroom, but reading aloud and sharing your love for reading with your kids is one of the most important.

You can have students share books they'd like to read, find some favorites of your own to share, pull titles out of a hat…anything to build excitement for a day that celebrates reading aloud.

You can find some of my favorite books to read aloud HERE.

4. The Winter Games

In February, all eyes will be on the Winter Olympics in Beijing. Athletes from all over the world will meet to compete in winter sports. There are so many great ways to celebrate the excitement of the Olympics in the classroom.

While you are watching and cheering on favorite competitors battle for the gold, you can print on sticky notes and have students write each other “golden notes.”

You can also keep a medal count and work on making tallies and keeping track of the medals by sport, by country, or however you'd like to pique your students' interest.

5. International Day of Women and Girls in Science

Did you know that only 35% of students that are enrolled in STEM-related fields are women? And women that are in STEM fields are usually paid less than men. Even though there may not be as many women in the field, their discoveries, inventions, and research is astounding.

February 11th is celebrated around the world in different ways, big and small. There are so many women to recognize that have had important roles in science and technology. You can discuss the barriers that women and girls face when it comes to science and technology education and research famous women and their triumphs in science and technology.

Here are a few books you might like to read on February 11th:

Bold Women in Science: 15 Women in History You Should Know | Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World | Black Women in Science: A Black History Book for Kids | Greta and the Giants | Hidden Figures | Counting on Katherine | Born Curious: 20 Girls Who Grew Up to Be Awesome Scientists | Girls Think of Everything: Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Women | Grace Hopper Queen of Computer Code | Mae Among the Stars | I Am Jane Goodall | Ada Lovelace: Poet of Science the First Computer Programmer | The Doctor with an Eye for Eyes: The Story of Patricia Bath

There are SO many amazing women in science to read about, I could go on and on! What a great way to encourage and empower girls to embrace their love of science and technology! You can have your students write short biography reports about a famous woman in sciences too!

6. The Super Bowl

The Super Bowl is always fun, especially if you've got a favorite team that you're cheering for! To celebrate, you can have kids make predictions for the winner, you can have them create commercial ads using a recent book that they've read, make posters cheering on players or teams, or write letters to the players about the big game.

You can find a close reading passage all about the big game as well as other relevant February topics HERE.

7. Valentine's Day

There are so many great activities that you can do to celebrate Valentine's Day, and they do not have to be crafty and cute, you can work in some fun yet challenging content!

Idioms

Figurative language is always a fun concept to teach and teaching it in February is extra fun because there are so many “love” themes to use.  Your students will be head over heels for these fun idioms…see what I did there?

You can use blank books to glue pages in, you can bind them, staple them together, or any creative way you would like to create Valentine's Day Idioms books.  Students can create a book about the figurative and literal meanings of idioms with a LOVE theme.  It's such a fun time of year and students love the silliness of idioms.

“Books We Love” Display

You can grab a FREE bulletin board display that goes along with any of your student's favorite books. You can have students fill out the half-page after they finish books throughout the month and watch the bulletin board fill up with books that students love! This is a great way for your readers to find suggestions for their next book too!

Valentine's Day Foldable Book

A Valentine's Day foldable is also the perfect way to start the day; you can have your students work on the book throughout the day or as their morning work.  This is one of my favorite foldable books to make with!  It can be taken home and used as a sweet Valentine's Day Card or put on display in your classroom. 

Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch

Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch is my FAVORITE Valentine's Day read aloud and I love to do some fun, but still content-rich, activities to go along with it! I first heard this book when one of my college professors read it aloud to our class and I have read it every year since then. This is a true testament to the power of reading aloud! Even as a college student, I loved listening to this book and it made such an impact on me, that I in turn shared it year after year. It is powerful and touching. I know you and your students will love it.

You can find six activities to help students analyze characters, synthesize, sequence, make connections, cause and effect, and respond to reading HERE.

Here are Some Favorite Valentine/Love Read Aloud Books:

You!Love Monster and the Last ChocolateI Need a HugWords and Your HeartHug MachineI'll Love You Till the Cows Come HomeLove, ZRobot in LoveThe Big UmbrellaLoveIn My HeartThe Invisible StringPlant a KissLove Is

You can grab some activities for some of my favorite love-themed read-aloud books too.  Here are a few of my favorite “love” themed books and activities.

“I Am Love” by Susan Verde is a favorite to talk about love and compassion.  You can read more & find some activities to go with this book HERE and also find a pack of activities HERE.

“Listening With My Heart” by Gabi Garcia is another favorite and helps students understand mindfulness and self-love.  Find a whole pack of activities HERE.

“In My Heart” by Jo Witek is also a beautiful book about our feelings and February is a great time to read aloud this meaningful book.  Looking for activities to go along with the book? Find them HERE.

“I Need A Hug” by Aaron Blabey is a great book to share, it's always a student favorite.  You can find a whole pack of activities HERE.

“Words and Your Heart” by Kate Jane Neal is another really amazing book to talk about your words, your feelings, and your heart. You can read more about this book HERE and find 10 activities to go along with the book HERE.

8. 100th Day of School

Another exciting day is the 100th day of school. While many think this is a celebration for primary students, your upper elementary students will love joining in on the fun too!  And why not celebrate such a milestone?  You've all worked hard for 100 days, it's time to shine bright!

You can work in math and writing along with some other 100th day activities.  You can set up 100th day activities as bell ringers, create small centers and rotations, allow early finishers to work on the activities, or as a rotation in reading or math workshop. 

They're only little once and even though they may feel like “big kids,” they'll still enjoy some 100th day fun.

You can find a pack of activities for the 100th day of school HERE.

Here are a few fun 100th Day books to enjoy:

 Happy 100th Day! | 100 Things That Make Me HappyJake's 100th Day of School100th Day Worries

9. Black History Month

There are so many amazing books to read throughout the month of February to celebrate Black History Month.  I like to visit the library and also pull from my own books to have a variety of books featuring and written by African Americans that have shaped our country's past and present.  You can keep a basket full of books by Black authors as well as books about important events and people in Black History. Have this basket available for read-aloud books throughout the month, as well as for students to grab for their independent reading time.  I love to have a variety of books available in the classroom library throughout the year, but pulling out books to celebrate Black History Month really gives you a chance to showcase books and authors that celebrate Black History.

Here are some of my favorite books for Black History Month:

Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race | Mae Among the Stars | Carter Reads the Newspaper | Counting on Katherine: How Katherine Johnson Saved Apollo 13 | The Girl With a Mind for Math: The Story of Raye Montague | The Doctor with an Eye for Eyes: The Story of Dr. Patricia BathOverground RailroadThe Oldest Student: How Mary Walker Learned to ReadThe Power of Her Pen: The Story of Groundbreaking Journalist Ethel L. PayneDream Builder: The Story of Architect Philip FreelonLet the Children MarchOut of WonderThe UndefeatedSalt in His Shoes: Michael Jordan in Pursuit of a DreamWho Is Michelle Obama?The Story of Ruby BridgesThrough My EyesOnly Passing Through: The Story of Sojourner TruthThe Book Itch: Freedom, Truth, and Harlem's Greatest Bookstore |

More books for February:

Trombone ShortyMalcom Little: The Boy Who Grew Up to be Malcom XFreedom Song: The Story of Henry “Box” BrownPoet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses HortonWhoosh!: Lonnie Johnson's Super-Soaking Stream of InventionsFirebirdYoung, Gifted and Black: Meet 52 Black Heroes from Past and PresentLittle Leaders: Exceptional Men in Black HistoryLittle Leaders: Bold Women in Black HistoryBlack Women in Science28 Days: Moments in Black History that Changed the WorldThe Roots of Rap: 16 Bars on the 4 Pillars of Hip HopWhen the Beat was Born: DJ Kool Herc and the Creation of Hip HopJimi: Sounds Like a Rainbow: A Story of the Young Jimi Hendrix |Superheroes are EverywhereThis Promise of ChangeChampion: The Story of Muhammad AliSchomburg: The Man Who Built a LibraryBetween the Lines | Libba: The Magnificent Musical Life of Elizabeth CottenFancy Party Gowns: The Story of Fashion Designer Ann Cole LoweBrave Ballerina: The Story of Jane Collins

10. President's Day

While we all may enjoy a day (or more) off to celebrate President's Day, it is important to help kids understand the holiday too.

You can watch a video all about President's Day with your kids HERE.

You can talk with your kids about what makes a good leader, write a letter to the president, create a presidential trivia game, or write “If I were President” pieces.

I hope you found some new books and activities for February and I hope your classroom is filled with lots of love and learning throughout the month!

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Happy Teaching!

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