Today is St. Patrick's Day.
The Irish have observed St. Patrick's Day as a religious holiday since the island's conversion to Christianity in the early Middle Ages. The first St. Patrick's Day parade in New York City took place on March 17, 1762, giving the Irish soldiers serving in the English military the opportunity to reconnect to their roots. Today, St. Patrick's Day is celebrated by people of varied backgrounds around the globe.
Celebrate St. Patrick's Day by reading Irish folk tales. It is the perfect opportunity to learn about Irish heritage. Have a selection of books available in class or bring students into the school media center to select an Irish folk tale. Tales are also available online from the Open Directory Project. Then have students read independently, in small groups, or as a class.
After reading the story, have your students use the ReadWriteThink Story Cube tool to create a graphic organizer. Older students can use the ReadWriteThink Literary Elements Map to map story elements. Have students print out their graphic organizers and share them with the class. After finishing this activity, treat your students to some Irish soda bread while they listen to Irish folk music.
Extend the activity by having students read additional Irish tales and compare them to other traditional folk tales with which they are familiar. What characteristics are unique to the Irish tales? Brainstorm common characters, settings, or themes found in the Irish tales. Students can then write their own tales in the Irish style.
Part of America's Story from America's Library, this site invites elementary students to read about the history of St. Patrick's Day from primary sources. Students can explore Irish folk songs and view historical photographs.
This History Channel website explores the culture and background of St. Patrick and St. Patrick's Day celebrations. The site's interactive map offers information on different parts of Ireland and beautiful photographs.
Resources offered on this official website of the Irish government include an extensive photograph collection of well-known locations in Ireland as well as information on culture, sports, the land, the people, and the economy.
This National Geographic News article focuses on some of the St. Patrick's Day traditions that are not actually Irish.