Februrary 2021 - Ideas for EVERY Day
We are one month into 2021! How are you doing? How are your learners doing? I hope you are taking some time for yourself and reflecting on your emotions, accepting them, understanding them, and making necessary adjustments to nurture more of the outcomes you desire. You are worth it. You are making a difference. You matter.
The Mr. recently took a training regarding the mental health of teachers. Many of us are having a difficult time teaching, which is likely unsurprising to you. We’re confronting new challenges for which there is no manual. In the face of these new challenges, it is vital that we care for ourselves. The Happy Teacher Revolution offers resources and training (which the Mr. recently underwent) to support us in doing so. A printout from this training now hangs near his desk to remind him of twelve choices a happy teacher makes (links to the original list at Edutopia). There are so many good choices. The one that resonates the most with the Mr. right now is “I choose to be happy,” and mine, “I choose to enjoy the relationships that matter.” Head over to Edutopia if you need a reminder that happiness is a choice, you deserve it, and you’d like a list of choices you can make to help you reclaim your happy. Furthermore, if you’re in a period of persistent unhappiness, even depression, you might consider reading, printing, and displaying these 44 Affirmations from e-counseling. And, among the many that resound, the one that resonates the most right now for me is: “There is nothing wrong with me because I feel sad.”
If you are interested in adding some happy into your learner’s day, too, we are here to support you. We chose a holiday for EVERY February day and selected complementary learning links and/or family activities for you and your Preschool to Sixth Grade learners. Our sincerest hope is that it breathes joy into your routine.
We offer these ideas on a downloadable calendar, which you might print, pin, post, bookmark, paste or paperclip near your planning resources. Or, as a blog, which I personally look at every time I’m preparing daily resources. I tend to use it to build daily themes and sometimes include the activity, but sometimes not, depending on how it works with our current learning objectives.Here’s the February 2021 Idea for EVERY Day downloadable calendar which features the daily holidays and complementary links:
|Above is only a graphic; click here for your February 2021 Calendar.|
|2021 Blank Monthly Calendar with Bible verses|
|2021 Blank Monthly Calendar with secular quotes|
You might consider printing out February’s calendar and jotting notes as inspiration strikes while you read through the February 2021 Ideas for EVERY day below.
Here are quick links to get you to your desired day:
- Week One – February 1-6, 2021
- Week Two – February 7-13 , 2021
- Week Three – February 14-20, 2021
- Week Four – February 21-27, 2021
- Week Five – February 28, 2021
And now, without further ado, here are the ideas we’ve been stewing on for you!
Monday, February 1, 2021 – National Freedom Day
Dive into an adult book about slave uprisings (list from Book Riot) discover children’s books about freedom(recommended by Mommy Evolution) or slavery from Book Roo. From each list, we’d choose the following books for each age-level band:
- PreK-1st Grade: Freedom Soup by Tami Charles (opens to its Goodreads’ page)
- 2nd -3rd Grade: Henry’s Freedom Box by Ellen Levine (opens to its Goodreads’ page)
- 4th to 6th Grade: Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life by Ashley Bryan (links to its Goodreads’ page)
- Adults – The Long Song by Andrea Levy (opens to its Goodreads’ page)
Tuesday, February 2, 2021 – National Groundhog Day
For adults, watch the movie, Groundhog Day, that stars Bill Murphy (links to its page on Rotten Tomatoes.)
Wednesday, February 3, 2021 – World Read Aloud Day
Choose a book and read aloud - simultaneously simple and fulfilling. Find book suggestionsat Read Aloud America. Choose lists by year (for the last decade) or age level (as a composite listing from 1999-2009). For each age level bracket, we’re looking at the following books (chosen from the 2021 list and the 1999-2009 composite list):
Infants & Toddlers
- The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Axel Sheffler (YouTube read aloud by Storytime Now!)
- Kitten’s First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes (YouTube read aloud by Kevin Henkes)
Preschool & Kindergarten
- I Promise by Lebron James, illustrated by Nina Mata (YouTube read aloud by Nina Mata)
- From Head to Toe by Eric Carle (YouTube read aloud by Vids with Ry)
1st and 2nd Grade
- Sofia Valdez, Future Prez by Andrea Beaty, illustrated by David Roberts (YouTube read aloud by Senator Elizabeth Lockman). Read our Wolfe Stew Review of Sofia to uncover story details, author and illustrator information, and academic extensions.
- Library Lion by Michelle Knudsen, illustrated by Kevin Hawkes (YouTube read aloud by Mindy Sterling)
3rd and 4th Grade
- The Secret Lake by Karen Inglis (links to its Goodreads page)
- Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White (links to its Goodreads page)
5th and 6th Grade
- Escape from Mr. Limoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein (links to its Goodreads page)
- The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick (links to its Goodreads page)
Thursday, February 4, 2021 – National Thank a Mail Carrier Day
Read The Lonely Mailman by Susanna Isern, illustrated by Daniel Montero Galan (YouTube read aloud by Carla Whipple) or The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles by Michelle Cuevas, illustrated by Erin E. Stead (YouTube read aloud by The Rectangle Rug).
Then, write a letter to a mail carrier using these templates from Blessed Beyond a Doubt.
Friday, February 5, 2021 – National Weather Person’s Day
PreK-1st Track the weather and learn to dress for itwith this Wolfe Stew Weather Pack. The pack includes both independent and center options.
2nd-3rd Make a recycled rain gaugewith the Woodland Park Zoo.
4th-6th Prepare and present a complete weather reportwith this six-day unit from Scholastic.
Saturday, February 6, 2021 – Pay-a-Compliment Day
“Words satisfy the soul as food satisfies the stomach; the right words on a person’s lips bring satisfaction.”
Sunday, February 7, 2021 – Send a Card to a Friend Day
Monday, February 8, 2021 – Boy Scouts Day
Try out some Boy Scout activities from Boy Scout Trail. You can filter search results by Boy Scout rank and activity type. Also, listed activities are organized according to visitor rankings. The favorite (when we checked) was Marshmallow Kick, Throw, and Blow. You play it as the title states. At each station you kick, throw or blow a marshmallow, measuring the distance for scoring purposes. Visit Boy Scout Trail for more details.
Learn the historyat Scouting.org. Written in bulleted timeline format with dates spanning 1910 to 2020.
Tuesday, February 9, 2021 – Extraterrestrial Culture Day
Celebrate and investigate aliens with books(list from Reading Rockets), an article that asks “Are Aliens Real?” (from The Gazette), and a drawing tutorial (from YoKidz via YouTube). Of the books listed, we’d choose the following from each age group bracket:
- PreK-1st Grade: Alien and Possum: Friends No Matter What by Tony Johnston (links to its Goodreads page)
- 2nd – 3rd Grade: Viking It and Liking It by Jon Scieszka (links to its Goodreads page)
- 4th-6th Grade: What Really Happened in Roswell? Just the Facts (Plus the Rumors) About UFOs and Aliens by Kathleen Krull, illustrated by Christopher Santoro (links to its Goodreads page)
Wednesday, February 10, 2021 – National Umbrella Day
Celebrate this handy element protecting object artistically in the following age-appropriate ways:
- PreK-1st Craft “Showering You with Love” cards with I Heart Crafty Things using cupcake liners, a small heart punch and a few art supplies you likely already have.
- 2nd -3rd Engage in a unique two-day artproject with The Core Inspiration. Your learners will design their own umbrella, background, raincoat, boots, and finishing touches with this step-by-step umbrella art tutorial.
- 4th-6th Make Folded Paper Artwith Krokotak which features printable pages and design suggestions.
Thursday, February 11, 2021 – National Inventor’s Day
PreK-1st Set up an inventor’s box with Little Worlds then watch your inventor’s imagination spin.
2nd – 3rd Undertake an Inventor’s Mini-Unitwith First Grade W.O.W. It’s a free 52-page unit featuring information about inventors, poetry, activities, a student inventors project and MORE.
4th-6th Rube Goldberg inspiration (PDF) that includes an explanation of simple machines, evaluation of simple machine advantages, and a design walkthrough for simple and compound machines.
Friday, February 12, 2021 – Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday
PreK-1st Craft a log cabinwith popsicle sticks, a penny, construction paper, glue and the guide at Surviving a Teacher’s Salary.
2nd-4th This Stovepipe Hat Timelinefrom Layers of Learning is a cute way to combine historical events with symbol of significance. You’ll walk through not just construction but also instruction when you visit.
5th-6th The Emancipation Proclamation Debates continue in your classroom with Lincoln and the Civil War. Five teams in your classroom will take on a different viewpoint to research, write a paper on, and ultimately use the information to discuss their viewpoint regarding the issuance of Emancipation Proclamation.
Saturday, February 13, 2021 – World Radio Day
Read Radio Rescue (links to a YouTube read aloud by Corrie Hempel) then:
- PreK-1st Craft a Juice Box Radiowith Education.com.
- 2nd – 3rd Listen to How was radio invented?on Fun Kids Live.
- 4th-6th Build your own radio with Science Buddies or Communicate in Morse Codeusing this guide (including printables) from picklebums.
Sunday, February 14, 2021 – Valentine’s Day
PreK-1st Laughing Kids Learn’s I Love You to PiecesValentine is one of our favorites. The Mr. made one last year that still hangs above my desk. Easily adapt it for upper elementary by having learners write things they love about the recipient on each piece of paper.
2nd -3rd Fill Love Tubeswith positive traits about the recipient inspired by this idea from Clicky Chick Creates. Alternatively, Clicky Chick had each girl fill their love tubes with traits they desire to have.
4th-6th My Jar of Hearts, an idea from Inspired Elementary, has learners fill a jar outline on paper with hearts. Inside each heart they write one thing in their life they love. Visit Inspired Elementary for printouts, lesson, and writing extension ideas.
Monday, February 15, 2021 – President’s Day
2nd-3rd Graders finish the phrase "If I Were President..."with this idea from Kindergarten Smiles. Complete with a bulletin board display and self portrait creation, your learners combine social studies, art, and writing in this activity.
4th-6th Grade: A Letter to the President and Legosmay not seem to go together, but Not So Wimpy Teacher makes it work. Check Not So Wimpy Teacher's creative ideas for sparking imaginative thinkers to celebrate President’s Day. There’s even a "show and tell" option with a twist to challenge your Fourth to Sixth grade learners. Check it out!
Tuesday, February 16, 2021 – Fat Tuesday
PreK-1st Graders will make, wear, and possibly even eat these Mardi Gras Necklaces from No Time for Flash Cards. And, in doing so, will celebrate the spirit of the holiday, both in enjoying food before the “fasting season” and in representative color use. Also, use this experience as in invitation to pattern exploration and fine motor development.
2nd-3rd Graders learn about the cultural celebrations of Fat Tuesday, including studying the visual elements in Mardi Gras masks. Then, following directions of Happy Hooligans will make their own Mardi Gras masks. If you’d like to learn more about the Mardi Gras masks, Mardi Gras New Orleans has a concise post on them.
Finally, 4th-6th Graders likely think they are ready to engage in some Mardi Gras Party Games. Indulge them with these ideas from My Teen Guide. We especially like the “Forbidden Word Bead Game,” which could easily weave into any lesson. In fact, you could change the “forbidden word” for each lesson, based on words that will likely to surface.
Wednesday, February 17, 2021 – Ash Wednesday
- Create “Clean Heart Soap” to take home. Check out the process at Kid Friendly Things to Do, but make sure you go to Rotation.org for the teaching part.
- The “Lent in a Bag” lesson mentioned at Rotation.org is described in more detail at Build Faith. The idea is each night (or whenever works for your group) you choose an object from the bag. Attached to the object is a brief description of its representation. After reading the description, open a discussion centering on the provided question. This activity provides opportunity for four group discussions focused on the meaning of lent.
- Wunder-Mum directs you to various sites that provide Lenten activities for kids. Of them all, our favorite was KinderCraze’s “Sharing Lenten Love with Good Deeds,” post. There, she walks you through how she taught what a good deed was, how to perform them (including what not to do) and a discussion about honesty in reporting. At the end, she offers a printable “Good Deeds” chart when you sign up for her email list. Alternatively, you could print a chart of your choice from Free Printable Behavior Charts or other spring or Easter themed coloring page from Crayola.
Grades 3 and Up Can research Lent (even if you do not observe it) using this video from The Church of England via YouTube or this article from Christianity.com. After researching, have learners showcase their learning in a presentation method of current study: a persuasive, informational, opinion or narrative piece; presented as a slideshow, a poster, an artistic symbol, or a musical performance.
Thursday, February 18, 2021 – National Battery Day
While I must admit that celebrating batteries seems a little odd, have you ever stopped to think where we would be without them? And, in the classroom, celebration of this day lends well to scientific exploration:
PreK-1st Graders Investigate Battery Durationwith this Education.com experiment. You’ll compare brand-name batteries to generic brand batteries using a flashlight, clock, and observational skills. Then, drawing on the observation, you'll make a conclusion as to whether or not it is worth the cost difference to buy the more expensive battery.
2nd-3rd Graders will learn that they can make batteries out of fruit with this lemon batteryexploration from Animal Jam. To be quite honest, I previously attempted the potato battery with failed results. So, if you get this one to work, I would love picture evidence. Not that I need convincing it works; rather that I would enjoy celebrating your success along with you.
Friday, February 19, 2021 – Tug of War Day
There are more ways to participate in Tug of War Day than playing Tug of War, (although we won’t discount that option) even some academic ones:
PreK-1st Graders play Number Line Math “Tug of War” with this idea from Nrich. Gather counters, dice, paper and learners who are practicing addition and subtraction, or even counting, then follow the directions at Nrich to play Number Line “Tug of War” and reinforce these concepts.
2nd-3rd Graders answer the question “How could you win tug-of-war against adults?in this Mystery Science investigation that focuses on balanced and unbalanced forces.
4th-6th Graders Visit the Return of the Tug of War (PDF) in this NCTM article that challenges learners to describe the outcome of a Tug of War contest between rebel fighters and storm troopers using algebraic reasoning.
Saturday, February 20, 2021 – Clean Out Your Bookcase Day
Okay. Be honest: when is the last time you cleaned out your bookcase? There is no judgement here; trust me. The only time I clean out my bookcase is when I am moving. But, here is a day that honors such a task. So, if nothing else, one might consider how to go about doing such a thing, and there is no shortage of variety in inspiration out there. We found bookcase cleaning information for book nerdsfor serious cleaners, and for basic cleaning. Our thoughts: the book nerds one is a self-reflective journey, the serious cleaners one is beyond what we would realistically accomplish, and the basic cleaning is more within our reach. Which one are you clicking? Or does just the thought of cleaning out your bookcase send tremors up your spine?
Sunday, February 21, 2021 – Single Tasking Day
Find out why you should try it out (at Rescue Time) AND how to do it(at Becoming Minimalist). Single-tasking appeals to me because, according to Rescue Time, it lowers your stress levels. I want to try out working in bursts – one of the single-tasking training exercises mentioned at Becoming Minimalist. What about you? Are you a single-tasking guru? If so, I would love to hear what tips you have to offer.
Monday, February 22, 2021 – World Thinking Day
PreK-1stGrade presents the perfect opportunity to practice these critical thinking Techniques suggested at Bright Horizons. The one I still struggle with is not intervening immediately. While it is difficult to not jump right in and help, we are helping develop our learners more by allowing them to struggle for a while.
2nd – 3rd Graders will benefit from these tips that weave critical thinking into your dayfrom We Are Teachers. The one we want to start doing is the turn around strategy. When a negative situation occurs, ask, “What good can come of this?” Then work together to envision positive outcomes of negative situations.
4th-6th Graders benefit from social interaction and movement. And these Thinking Structuresfrom We are Teachers will get them doing exactly that. One that sounds interesting to us is the Gallery Walk. Each gallery display features a new, but similar, information to consider. As a group, learners discuss and record their thoughts about the information on chart paper located at each display. Use political cartoons, paintings, quotes, questions and more. Visit We Are Teachers for more critical thinking activities that will get your upper elementary learners moving, communicating, and thinking.
Tuesday, February 23, 2021 – Play Tennis Day
If it is literary inspiration for which you are searching, The School Run has you covered. A few that intrigue us:
- For PreK-2nd Grade - A Magical Racquet Ride: Journey to the Four Grand Slam Tournaments of Tennis by Marissa Gould, illustrated by Mark Brayer (links to its Goodreads page)
- Third and Fourth Grade - Game Changers: The Story of Venus and Serena Williams by Lesa Cline-Ransome, illustrated by James E. Ransome (links to its Goodreads page)
- Fourth and Fifth Grade - Tennis Shoes by Noel Streatfeild (links to its Goodreads page)
- For physical activities: 101 Ways to have Fun with a Tennis Ball by Christopher Dunkley (links to its Goodreads page)
- For the science connection: Tennis: Sports Science by Patricia Bow (links to its Amazon page)
Wednesday, February 24, 2021 – National Trading Card Day
To celebrate, make your own (PDF) trading card that corresponds to an area of study (historical figure, scientific hypothesis, literary character, etc.). Or, make up a Pokémon (National Pokémon Day is on the 27th) using this template from The Ketchi via Deviant Art.
Thursday, February 25, 2021 – National Tell a Fairy Tale Day
PreK-1st Sequencefairy tales with Kindergarten Nana. Then use sequencing activity to retell the fairy tale.
2nd-3rd Compare and Contrast fairy tales as you Step into 2nd Grade with Mrs. Lemons. After comparing and contrasting, have them use their favorite elements from each story to tell their own fairy tale.
4th-6th Consider the point of viewof fractured fairy tales with Nyla’s Crafty Teaching. After reading some of these alternate perspective fairy tales, like Really, Rapunzel Needed a Haircut! By Jessica Gunderson, illustrated by Denis Alonso (links to a YouTube read aloud by Audio Books), have them retell one of their favorite fairy tales from a new point of view.
Friday, February 26, 2021 – International Polar Bear Day
PreK-1st How do polar bears stay warm?Find out, or at least get a better idea, in this STEM science experiment from Preschool Powol Packets.
4th-6th Graders Live large with these Polar Bear International Lesson Plans. For instance, when “Livin’ Large Like a Polar Bear,” they will watch videos to learn about polar bear adaptations and facts related to numbers. Then, they may either list classroom efforts to help polar bears or learn about energy vampires.
Saturday, February 27, 2021 – National Retro Day
The older I get, the easier it is to find ways to celebrate this day. It got real when I heard a teenager refer to music I grew up on as “retro.” Sighs. Go all out today by choosing your favorite decade (or even have everyone in your family choose a different decade), dressing in that decade's fashions, (with the help of Holidappy) then by visiting that decade in film (choose from this list at filmsite.org). Honestly, we would likely skip the dressing up part, but celebrating by visiting decades through retro films sounds like something the Wolfe Stew household would enjoy.
Sunday, February 28, 2021 – National Banana Bread Day
It’s simple, for banana bread day, we recommend you make some. Based on the comments at kitchn, this recipe is very forgiving and adaptable to personal tastes. So be creative. Start with this base recipe and amend to your heart’s desire. Then come back and let us know what you did to put your own personal spin on it. We would love hearing your ideas too!
Before You Go, We’d Love to Know:
- What is your favorite part of February?
- Which activity above speaks most to you?
That wraps up this month’s, “Ideas for Every Day,” post. We’re making some changes for the month of March, so get ready for something new! Or, if you would rather we come to you, simply enter your email after hitting the subscribe button above. Then, receive every blog post directly in your inbox. We sign-off with a sincere hope that you are finding the JOY in every day!
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