In September, elementary classrooms usually learn about Johnny Appleseed and learning often
centers around apple themes. Mix it up and add some fun with these simple activities that celebrate the unusual holidays that fall in September.
September 3 – Skyscraper Day Activities
Skyscraper Day is celebrated because of Louis Sullivan, who was born on September 3, 1856. He was a modern American architect who is credited for creating some of the first skyscrapers. Learn how a skyscraper is built by reading aloud “Up Goes the Skyscraper” by Gail Gibbons. Children can create cityscape scenes by drawing and coloring skyscrapers and tall buildings across plain drawing paper. Hang the creations, end to end, to create an interesting display. Or, using a continuous piece of butcher paper, allow children to draw skyscrapers on the paper throughout the week.
September 7 – Neither Rain Nor Snow Day Activities
On September 7, 1914 the New York Post Office building was opened with the message “Neither rain nor snow nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds” carved into its side. Although this is not the official creed of the United States Postal System, we can still celebrate the day by honoring our postal workers and learning about how mail is delivered. Read “The Post Office Book: Mail and How it Moves” by Gail Gibbons and “The Jolly Postman” by Allan Ahlberg. Teach simple letter writing and envelope addressing to your elementary students. You may want to follow this up with a field trip to the post office during the week. Alternatively, create simple artwork by allowing children to design postal stamps or postcards to deliver to each other.
September 9 – Teddy Bear Day Activities
Read aloud “The Legend of the Teddy Bear” by Frank Murphy, which explains how the teddy bear was invented. Read other children’s books about teddy bears such as “Corduroy” and “Winnie the Pooh”. Invite children to bring in their favorite teddy bears or stuffed animal on Teddy Bear Day to inspire a descriptive writing activity. Use gummy bears for a graphing activity or teddy bear counters to teach ordinal number concepts.
September 13 – Fortune Cookie Day Activities
Read aloud from “Fortune Cookies Fortune” by Grace Lin. Bring in a fortune cookie for each child to crack open and eat. Read each fortune inside of each cookie. Each child can contribute a page to the creation of a class book by writing his fortune across the top of a piece of drawing paper, while illustrating what the fortune means to him. Use the numbers across the slip of the fortune cookie paper to create math problems for the day. For instance, ask the children to add up all the numbers. Or take each number, use it as a sum, and ask children to come up with math facts that equal each sum. Or mix it up by alternating addition and subtraction symbols between each number on the slip, to make one long math problem to solve.
September 15 – Make a Hat Day Activities
Read aloud “The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins” by Dr. Seuss. Make paper hats which can be adorned with pom poms, glitter, rick rack and feathers. After the children are wearing their handmade hats, make an “I Spy” game by giving clues about the hats for the children to answer. For example, say “I spy a student who is wearing a hat with purple stripes and feathers, but no pom poms.” Create a simple class math book by giving out a math fact for each child to illustrate. For example, “3 hats + 4 hats = 7 hats” and so on.
September 16 – National Play Dough Day Activities
Read the book “What Should I Make?” by Nandini Nayar. It is about a child who is given some regular dough and begins making animal shapes. Make play dough with your students with one of these recipes or bring in small containers of play dough. Ask each child to practice shaping letters into a spelling word as you call out the word. Many lesson plans using play dough can be found at Hasbro and Lesson Planet.
September 22 – Elephant Appreciation Day Activities
Non-fiction books about elephants to read aloud are “Elephants of Africa” by Gail Gibbons, “Elephants Can Paint Too!” by Katya Arnold, and “Tarra and Bella: The Elephant and Dog Who Became Best Friends” by Carol Buckley. Children can create an Easy Shape Elephant Craft from First School to take home as a token to help them remember to retell what they have learned about elephants on this day.
September 24 – National Punctuation Day Activities
Read alouds to celebrate this special day are “The Perfect Pop-Up Punctuation Book” by Kate Perry, “Punctuation Celebration” by Elsa Knight Bruno, “The Punctuation Station” by Brian P. Cleary, and “Twenty-Odd Ducks: Why, Every Punctuation Mark Counts!” by Lynne Truss. Put sentence strips in a pocket chart and help children learn this punctuation song, which has a rap or a blues version.
elementary teaching experience