I love offbeat holidays, and just like my city’s motto – “Keep Austin Weird”, I firmly believe we should mix a few weird holidays into the yearly holiday calendar. When I was teaching, we would always celebrate Dr. Seuss Day by making green eggs and ham. And if the day fell just right, we would celebrate Friday the 13th with games about superstitions and phobias. At TCEA, we love Geek Day, Talk Like a Pirate Day, and peaches. Did you know August is designated National Peach Month per executive orders from Ronald Reagan? Thanks to Margaret, our TCEA accountant, we celebrated the month with H.E.B. Peach Cobbler Ice Cream. Delicious.
So why not meld the power of the iPad with weird and wonderful holidays? Below you will find several September offbeat holidays that, with a little imagination and creativity, will blend technology with fun and learning.
National Play-Doh Day
Play-Doh has been around since the mid 1950’s and is a great, inexpensive way to express creativity. How about making a stop motion animation of a Play-Doh monster? Using a googley eye or two, Play-Doh, and a wonderful free app, iMotion, storyboard your monster and film the creation. A stand-up case or tripod is a must for a steady hand. But in a pinch, students will get creative and find anything to prop up their iPads. A little trick is to limit your stop motion animations to 10 seconds or less. Check out this great example.
National Butterscotch Pudding Day
Use a graphic organizer of your choice (I recommend StoryKit) and have your students take a photo of each step in making butterscotch pudding. Record voice of each step and add the appropriate text. Wrap up the activity by eating the pudding, of course!
World Gratitude Day
This is a great day to show your gratefulness and appreciation to a school helper, such as the custodian, nurse, or cafeteria staff. The Padlet app makes it easy to set up and each student can post a message on the gratitude wall. Just share the link with your favorite school personnel and their day is MADE!
Elephant Appreciation Day
Download the free WWF Together app and explore the elephant section of this beautifully-designed app. Students can look at stunning photos, videos, and interactives in this World Wildlife Fund production. Bonus: Discover multiple ways to get involved and protect elephants and other amazing animals.
Celebrate this day with a free iPad app, Checkers for Kids HD, from Amusedo Games. The app has three levels: easy, medium, and hard. The cute user interface is easy to operate and has fun sound effects. Bonus! This day is also Dogs in Politics Day. Celebrate the day with some presidential canine trivia.
- Which President’s dog wrote a book?
- What was the name of President Clinton’s dog?
- Checkers was the name of which president’s dog?
- Bo and Sunny currently live in the White House. What kind of breed are they both?
- Did our first president have a dog in the White House?
National Comic Book Day
Take a break from a novels and textbooks and practice those ELA skills with some comic books. Or perhaps celebrate the day by having students create a short comic book story or joke with the free app Pixton Comic Maker.
There are lots of other great apps to use to celebrate fun holidays each month. You can find some of them, if you’re a TCEA member, on our list of recommended iOS apps. And, of course, many of our free-to-members Lunch and Learn webinars feature amazing apps for both you and your students.