St. Patrick’s Day

Free lesson plan, writing template and printable word-search for kids

st patricks day, gail gibbons

Best suited to:

K – Year 2

KLAs covered:

English, geography, history (culture, celebrations)

Learning:

  • was St Patrick a real person? Who was he?
  • what is a saint?
  • why do we celebrate St Patrick’s Day?
  • when is St Patrick’s Day?
  • the symbols and traditions associated with St Patrick’s Day;
  • the distinction between stories, legends and historical facts;

Need to know:

  • a very simple text which begins with the story of St Patrick’s birth, life and good deeds and goes on to discuss the ways people celebrate St Patrick’s Day around the world;
  • prayer, God and the Catholic Church are mentioned but in a very straightforward, non-religious way and they are not emphasised;
  • the book focuses on St Patrick’s kindness, good deeds and care for his fellow human beings;
  • most of the book is devoted to exploring St Patrick’s Day celebrations and traditions;
  • there is a section in the back of the book which recounts several legends about St Patrick;
  • this is a great book to use as a springboard for discussing legends (traditional stories sometimes popularly regarded as historical but not authenticated) and the difference between a legend and a historical fact;

Discussion Questions (before reading):

  • read the title and discuss the cover: do you know what St Patrick’s Day is?
  • what do you see on the cover? What do you think this story will be about?
  • read the author’s name and revise/introduce the words: author and illustrator. Why do you think there is only one name on the cover?

Discussion Questions (after reading):

  • lead a brief discussion about St Patrick and his life: what are some of the things we learnt about him in the book?
  • where did St Patrick live? Ask the children if they know where Ireland is. Find Ireland together on the classroom’s globe or on a world map. Look at how far it is from Australia and discuss how long it would take to get there;
  • ask the children why they think many people in Australia celebrate St Patrick’s Day. Briefly discuss the history of Irish immigration to Australia (Irish convicts, immigration during and after the Potato Famine, etc);
  • you may like to reiterate that St Patrick is an important religious and historical person in Ireland so his special day is now a day to celebrate everything about Ireland;
  • ask the children to recall some of the things that people do on St Patrick’s Day (wear green, decorate with shamrocks, wear Irish hats, play Irish music). Tell the children these are the symbols associated with St Patrick’s Day. Briefly discuss the fact that symbols are things that remind us of – or stand for – something else;

Activities

  • children draw and/or write about their favourite part of the book;
  • children write about St Patrick: who he was, what he did and why we remember him;
  • children write about some of the ways St Patrick’s Day is celebrated and illustrate their work;
  • briefly discuss the difference between a legend and historical facts (a legend is a traditional story which is often talked about as if it is true but there is no proof that it is true). We know the facts about St Patrick’s life because they were written down at the time. Read the first three of the legends which appear at the back of the book and briefly discuss them. How do we know these are legends? (It is said… Some people say …) The children divide a piece of paper into two and draw and write a true story about St Patrick on one side and a legend on the other.

On the Art Projects for Kids website you’ll find two great art lessons to go with these literacy activities: “How to Draw a Leprechaun” and “How to Draw a Shamrock”.

Your free, printable word-search puzzles and writing template

These free, printable word-search puzzles for kids are great for building and reinforcing the vocabulary used when discussing St Patrick’s Day. They’re especially helpful for EAL/D students.

There are three different puzzles in this file to enable you to differentiate the activity according to the learning needs of your students.

Download and print our free writing template for use with the picture book St Patrick’s Day here (PDF).

a flamboyance of flamingos
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