Groundhog Day is a fun, low-stress holiday for the elementary classroom.
Teach your students about the history of Groundhog Day using my Groundhog Day Worksheet. You will find vocabulary definitions, think and respond questions, and a fun tongue twister about woodchucks. (Did you know a woodchuck and a groundhog are the same creature?)
Visit Groundhog.org, the official website of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, for pictures, articles and Groundhog Day ideas submitted by teachers. (I like the songs to the tune of “Winter Wonderland” and “Up on the Housetop.”) Teach your students about press kits using the Groundhog Day press kit, complete with fun facts, history, and a map of downtown Punxsy.
“Punxsutawney” [puhngk-suh-taw-nee ] originally was settled by the Delaware Indians.
The name derives from a Native American term which translates to “town of the sandflies.”
The town is located in Jefferson County, Pennsylvania, 84 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.
Here is a quick brush-up on Groundhog Day history from my worksheet:
Groundhog Day is a holiday celebrated on February 2nd. According to folklore, if it is cloudy when the groundhog emerges from its burrow, the groundhog will leave the burrow, signaling that winter will soon end. If it is not cloudy, the groundhog will see its shadow and retreat back into the burrow. Winter will continue for six more weeks.
Groundhog Day began as a Pennsylvania Dutch tradition in the 18th and 19th centuries (1700s and 1800s). In Pennsylvania today, you can see official Groundhog Day early morning festivals. You can enjoy special food, hear speeches, and even watch a g’spiel (play or skit). You might find that only the Pennsylvania German dialect is spoken. Those who speak English at the event pay a penalty, usually a coin per English word spoken, to a bowl at the center of the table.