Saint Patrick’s Day is celebrated on March 17 in honor of the Patron Saint of Ireland, who died on that day. Saint Patrick was born as Maeyn Succat in either Scotland or Wales in 370 AD. He was kidnapped and sold into slavery when he was a teenager and put to work as a shepherd. A collection of dreams helped him to escape and eventually into the priesthood in France. At this time he changed his name to Patrick, which means “father of his people”. At this point, Saint Patrick went to Ireland and traveled around, preaching and building churches and schools.
There are many interesting traditions that go along with the celebration of Saint Patrick’s Day that can be incorporated you’re your classroom activities on that day. Here are a few for consideration:
1. Students can wear the traditional green white and orange shamrocks that children in Ireland wear as decoration and costumes. The girls can also wear green ribbons in their hair.
2. Create a St. Patrick’s Day scavenger hunt. Use a collection of leprechaun and/or shamrock that contain a question for students to answer and receive another clue. At the end of the scavenger hunt can be a pot of gold with some sort of treat for the students.
3. Have students research interesting facts about Saint Patrick’s Day and share them with the class. For example, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, there was a shamrock with 17 leaves, the most ever recorded.
4. Group students together to put together a project on Saint Patrick’s Day. One group can research who he was and present to the class a basic overview of his life. Another group can research the slave trade in Ireland and a third group can present information on the job of the shepherd, for example.
5. Allow the entire class to work together to write and produce a dramatic presentation about Saint Patrick and his life.
While the celebration of Saint Patrick’s Day seems to be all about Shamrocks and leprechauns and pots of gold at the end of the rainbow, the person behind the celebration spent his life giving back to the people of Ireland. The life and works of this great man are worth the time to teach despite the myths that surround the holiday.
Looking for free Saint Patrick’s Day printables? Teaching Heart Mom offers a couple that are worth checking out!