Sunday, February 24, 2013

An Unforgettable Experience With Leprechauns: With a Little Luck Can It Align to the CCS?

I know the Common Core Standards are big time, but does it drive your entire curriculum?  If there are no ties to the CCS, do you forgo the lesson or activity? It frightens me a bit to think this is the direction our educational providers may be heading.  I got a comment on my blog in reference to my all-time favorite activity to do with my kindergarten students that stated that it "looks fun, but has no ties to the Common Core Standards" and it really saddened me.  I think, if we tried REALLY hard, we could quite possibly create some "ties to the CCS", but do we REALLY need to? Does everything we do in our classrooms REALLY need to be driven by the Common Core Standards?  If so, there needs to be a huge revamping taking place because there are huge gaps that won't allow for student experiences and creating memories if we stick to the basics.  I think you know where I stand on this, but I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas on this as well.  Am I alone?  Until then, I will leave you with the directions to my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE activity that I do year after year with students who NEVER forget during leprechaun season:  
I love St. Patrick's Day! I can't even tell you exactly what the entire premise of the holiday is (is that bad?), but I love the whole tricky leprechaun theme (and all things rainbow and gold, of course). I've done all of the fun activities that you hear everyone talking about like messing up the room, putting green food coloring in the toilet and making traps. But, I don't do those things anymore- I haven't done any of it since I came acrossed the shrinking hat activity and now THAT is how we celebrate the leprechauns in kindergarten! It is such a fun and memorable activity, that is truly all you need to have a little fun with your itty bitties (or children of any age for that matter). It is one of those activities that I am just so excited to share with my students, as well as my own children, year after year. It never seems to lose its magical appeal.

Of course, before we begin, I really talk up the "legend" (I totally make it up year after year--but it so makes the project all that more fun!). You, too, can make it up or I do have it available in my Lucky Leprechaun Activity Kit (with all of the materials you need for this project along with activities to follow up with the next day).

Here are the directions so you can celebrate the holiday and rev up your student's imagination without making a disaster of your classroom:
*styrofoam hot/cold beverage cups
*permanent markers (I prefer to just give "Irish"-like colors- yellow, black, green and orange)

When you bring the tiny little hats back to school, I recommend putting gold coins and other "booty" in and around each child's hat. Leave a letter (written by you from Lucky or printed from my kit) for the children. Be sure to use an Irish dialect in the letter since it is from a wee leprechaun!
Lucky always leaves us a secret message hung all over the room that the children need to decode (also included in the kit) and it is so much fun. It is also fun to take pictures of the kiddos with their hats on and do a writing piece about the experience. The students NEVER forget this really is quite amazing how cups are turned into an actual miniature hat by those sneaky leprechauns (even though I know it is science, I prefer to continue to view it as magic as I watch cups turn into tiny hats !
Click here to get this follow up freebie for this project.

Click here for more information about the  Lucky the Leprechaun project!


  1. Krissy,
    I have your unit and have used it - my students LOVED the little hats!! My question is about the fumes when you are cooking the hats. Have you had any problems with this? Maybe it was the styrofoam cups I used. My house is small and the fumes were overwhelming. I had to step outside for awhile. Do you use a more expensive brand of cups? Cheaper brand? Any suggestions???
    An Open Door

  2. I have never had any problems with fumes at all?? I usually just buy the cheapest kind of styrofoam cups I can put my hands on! Krissy
    Mrs.Miner’s Monkey Business


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