Five Irish traditions to adopt in your classroom this Saint Patrick’s Day

Saint Patrick is Ireland's patron saint. Starting as a religious holiday honoured on March 17th in Ireland, Saint Patrick's Day as a true celebration came to be in the United States in the 18th century. At first, it spread to other countries with high percentage of Irish immigration, and now it is slowly taking over the world. People are captivated by the happy-go-lucky nature of this holiday, saturated with the colour green, shamrocks and cute and greedy little leprechauns.

Here are five fun ways to celebrate St. Patrick's day in your classroom.

Tradition #1: Green everything

Green colour traditionally dominates the St. Patrick's Day. Encourage your students to wear green clothes, and bring some green snacks such as green apples, kale chips or cabbage. Green foods are nutrient-dense and useful to our bodies, and this is the perfect opportunity to make them fun to eat.

Tradition #2: Meet the leprechauns

Leprechauns are charming bearded fairies. They are famous for hiding their pots of gold from the rest of the world. Get to know them. Read stories about them in class, and create maps to find their precious gold. Golden chocolate coins will do just fine for this purpose.

Tradition #3: Shamrocks

According to a legend, St. Patrick used a three-leafed shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity to the Irish. Although there is no actual proof that he indeed practised this, both three and four-leafed shamrocks are the symbols of St. Patrick's.

At the very beginning of March, plant some clover seeds in suitable pots and keep them in a warm and light spot. Hopefully, they will sprout and grow just in time for the holiday. If you have a clover patch somewhere in the school's yard, you can take the younger kids out for the ever-exciting lucky 4-leafed clover hunt.

Tradition #4: Irish folk music

You can spice up all your activities by playing Irish music. The fairy-tale-like melodies will add value to every activity, deepening the connection with the original Irish roots of the St. Patrick's Day.

Tradition #5: The Parade

All of the formerly described activities can be incorporated into the great finale - your group's very own St. Patrick's Day parade. These parades are one of the most famous hallmarks of the American St. Patrick's day, and especially those held in Boston - and you can make your own classroom version. With everybody dressed in green, special snacks, shamrocks and incredible music, you can try out traditional Irish dances and - have fun. For some extra fun why not create your own craft decorations to add some children's creativity to the parade! 


Five Notable Women to Celebrate this Women’s History Month

What could be a better way to learn about women's fight for rights, as well as for a better world, than learning by example? During this Women's History Month, let's explore some notable female leaders.

Michelle Bachelet

VerĂ³nica Michelle Bachelet Jeria (1951) is the first woman president of Chile, holding her second mandate as of 2014. Priorly she was the Minister for Health and the Minister of Defence, and in the UN she held the chair of the executive director of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women).

Michelle Bachelet is highly educated - a physician with additional studies in military strategy, and she speaks five languages. She is also a mother of three children.What makes her story even more remarkable is the fact that she had a difficult childhood - her father died, and she and her mother were imprisoned and tortured during the Augusto Pinochet's dictatorship. Her story conveys a strong message about one contemporary woman's fight for life, dignity and education, which eventually made her the leader of her nation.

Benazir Bhutto

Benazir Bhutto (1953 – 2007) was a Prime Minister of Pakistan from 1988 to 1990, again  from 1993 to 1996. She was the first woman to lead a government in a Muslim nation, which is even more fascinating given that she was a liberal and a secularist.

Pakistan's Islamists condemned her for her secularity and modernisation policies. On the other hand, she was very popular in Pakistan as well as in the West, where she was applauded for championing democracy and women's rights in an extremely conservative environment. Unfortunately, Bhutto was assassinated in 2007. Her murder was never fully clarified.

Catherine the Great

Catherine the Great (1729 – 1796) was the most famous female ruler in Russian history, and one of the most famous European rulers of her time. She was the embodiment of the enlightened aristocracy.

Born as Princess Sophie of Anhalt-Zerbst in Prussia, she came to power when her husband Peter III, was assassinated. Under her reign, Russia became larger and stronger and got its place among Europe's most influential nations. As a notable supporter of the Enlightenment, Catherine the Great is also remembered as an extraordinary benefactor of arts, culture and education. Catherinian Era was also marked by lavish nobility masons and luxury architecture.


There is probably no woman ruler that evokes more sense of mystery and archetypal power than Cleopatra. Cleopatra was the last ruler Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt. Not long after her rule ended, Egypt became a province of a new empire - the Roman Empire. Even today she is celebrated for her beauty, intelligence, and leadership.

In modern pop culture, Cleopatra is often shown as a beauty by today's standards; but Cleopatra had a big nose, sharp chin, and she was rather short. However, this is a perfect paradox to be discussed in your class.While women today are being indoctrinated by artificial beauty standards, Cleopatra's case proves that real beauty is made of traits more important than body proportions and facial features. In his famous quote, among other things, Plutarch described her as someone who had "an irresistible charm".

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

Another groundbreaking contemporary female leader, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was the President of Liberia from 2006 to 2018, and the first elected woman president of an African country.

Despite her relatively humble origins, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf managed to become very educated, receiving her degrees from University of Boulder and Harvard. She became a president at a very delicate moment, two years after the end of the bloody Liberian civil war. Nevertheless, during her presidency, she managed to stabilise and completely change the face of her country. In 2011, she earned the Nobel Peace Prize for promoting women’s rights, but also for her overall achievements in reconstructing a war-torn country.


Five ways to honor Black History Month in your classroom

Black History Month is an annual celebration of history, culture and the civil rights movement of the African diaspora. The United States, Canada, United Kingdom and the Netherlands are the countries that officially honour Black History Month in their classrooms. However, as multi-culturalism, civil rights of minorities, oppression and racism are essential topics anywhere on the globe, Black History Month be used by teachers worldwide to point out these important topics.

Here are five ways to honour the Black History Month in your classroom.

Idea #1: Listen to and explore music created by black history idols 

Blues, Gospel, Jazz, Soul, Hip-Hop - these are all the musical trademarks of African culture. Instead of following the historical timeline, start your musical exploration with what is the most familiar to your students, and that is probably going to be Hip-Hop. There is a numerous list of rap songs dealing with black history and rights, from old-school to current hits of stars like Beyonce and Kendrick Lamar.

If you're working with younger students, it's probably too early to expose them to the world of hip-hop, but you can still use it to introduce the children to the fun practice of breakdance.

Idea #2: Get to know Martin Luther King

Marthin Luther King was perhaps the most important figure of the original civil rights movement. His famous inspiring speech "I Have a Dream" is a perfect subject to be studied in class, since it is so poetic and vivid. Talk to your students about their own dreams for this world, and how they would like to change it.

Idea #3: Get to know Rosa Parks

Rosa Parks was a woman who one day quit obeying the rule that black people had to sit at the back of the bus. With this simple act, she ignited a revolution. Her example is the perfect opportunity to discuss the separation policies. Create a thought experiment: how would the students with, for example, blonde hair feel if they were made to sit at the back of the classroom? You can also watch a very quality TV film called "The Rosa Parks Story".

Idea #4: Watch Black History Month inspired movies 

There are many movies which are suitable to watch during Black History Month. Different films are appropriate for different age groups, and because of the often violent nature of the struggle for rights and freedom, most of them are intended for the ages of 13 and up. There are exceptions such as the Scholastic Storybook DVD "March On! The Day My Brother Martin Changed the World", (4+), "A Ballerina's Tale" (9+), and "Remember the Titans" (10+).

Idea #5: Make Traditional Biscuits

To add some sweetness to often-bitter topics of the Black History Month, bake a traditional sweet treat such as sweet potato biscuits. While munching away, have a light talk about the civil rights struggles within the local communities of your area.