It’s Groundhog Day!

This week’s assignment is to write about special things that have happened around Groundhog Day.

It's Groundhog Day

Picture from Amazon:

 Since I spent twenty-eight years teaching elementary school students, I’ve probably spent more time dwelling on this pseudo holiday than people in other professions. A good chunk of time in a primary grade classroom is spent teaching about time concepts (telling time, as well as the passing of time, and learning about days, weeks, months, years, and special days), so Groundhog Day always gets at least a passing nod in February. I suppose it gives us something to look forward to in that stretch between New Year’s Day and Valentine’s Day. Chinese New Year is in there sometimes, but the date varies (this year it’s February 19) so the day when we learned whether we would have a longer or shorter winter marked the first “holiday” observed after the winter break. I really don’t remember anything my own teachers did other than tell us whether or not Punxatawney Phil saw his shadow that day and then move on to the next topic.

 GHD1I spent some time this weekend trying to recall the groundhoggy things I did as a teacher. The first fifteen years of my teaching career were spent teaching music, so I’d always look for songs about groundhogs (there aren’t many – I had to make some up). Later on I taught regular classrooms, so I read books to my students like It’s Groundhog Day by Steven Kroll. When I taught older classrooms we’d look at all the predictions from years past and we’d make graphs comparing how the shadowed years compared with the non-shadowed years.

 GHD2One year I brought in some large boxes and made tunnels going from table to table so that my pre-first graders could be groundhogs for a little while. We sat under the tables to listen to our morning story and read our books. We went through the tunnels to get from one place to another in the room. We talked about him in our science lesson, deciding what kind of animal a groundhog is, and we worked Punxatawney Phil into our language arts lessons, making up stories about what he might do the rest of the year.

 As for the significance of the week in my house, I’d have tphotoo say that my focus tends to be on the family birthdays that take place. My father would have celebrated his eighty-seventh birthday this past week. He always insisted that his birthday was of no consequence and that he’d be happier if everyone just forgot the day. Of course, now that he’s gone I never fail to remember him on his birthday – or any day.

 Miss BFour years ago, Dad’s first great-granddaughter was born, only four days after his birthday. How he would have loved this little girl! She exhibits a lot of the traits I loved about him. She’s intelligent and studious, and she has firm ideas about what’s right and what’s wrong. She has a giving heart and brings a smile to my face, even on the gloomiest of days.

 As for the groundhog and his predictions? Well, this is Michigan, so we’ll have six more weeks of winter no matter what Punxatawney Phil says. Wikipedia says that as of 2014 Phil has predicted an early spring 17 times, and the longer winter 101 times. I guess it depends on where you live, but around here that makes him wrong about a dozen times or so.


About Patricia Kiyono

During her first career, Patricia Kiyono taught elementary music, computer classes, elementary classrooms, and junior high social studies. She now teaches music education at the university level. She lives in southwest Michigan with her husband, not far from her five children, nine grandchildren (so far), and great-granddaughters. Current interests, aside from writing, include sewing, crocheting, scrapbooking, and music. A love of travel and an interest in faraway people inspires her to create stories about different cultures. Check out her sweet historical contemporary romances at her Amazon author page:
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12 Responses to It’s Groundhog Day!

  1. Reblogged this on in his presence 4evermore and commented:
    Happy Groundhog Day – I guess in Canada he is wrong about the same number of times or maybe even more!!! Have a great day y’all!!! ❤️😊👍


    • What a compliment that you thought enough of this post to reblog it! I didn’t realize Groundhog Day was observed in Canada, too – I can imagine you would just laugh if Phil predicted an early spring! Thanks so much for visiting.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I thoroughly enjoyed this post!!! We have a much longer winter here…..but it’s always fun to see, if he sees his shadow or not!!! Have a great Groundhog Day!!! Hoping for an early spring!!! 😳 it’s a snow day here today!!!


  2. jeff7salter says:

    I love the idea of the boxes as tunnels. Though not in a classroom setting, I have often used boxes for tunnels for my own kids or their kids. I enjoy it too!
    I’ve never put any stock in whether anyone “declares” six more weeks of winter or not. Totally irrelevant. To me, “winter” is here until the warm weather arrives … period.


    • Patricia Kiyono says:

      Thanks, Jeff! I tried to do lots of different things in my classroom. Some worked, some didn’t. But they kids seemed to have fun with the tunnels! And yes, winter is here until it’s gone, despite what the groundhog says.


      • jeff7salter says:

        Here in KY the weather has been pretty crazy. In my 8.5 years here, we’ve had two or three HARSH winters and two or three relatively mild winters.
        two or three AWFUL summers (with blistering temps and no rain) and two or three relatively mile summers.
        It’s basically a situation where you poke your head outside before you go anywhere and that’s what your weather is.


  3. True, the warm weather arrives, when it arrives – still I would like to believe it comes rather earlier than later. Enjoy the moment, that’s the motto 😊


  4. I love the box “tunnels”,Patty! They are very creative.
    I can’t recall on groundhog sound.I wish you had told us some you had made up!
    I have a feeling groundhog lyrics are going to tr to surface this evening in my house.Heaven help us!


    • I don’t remember any either, Tonette. I just made up new words to familiar tunes – what we call piggyback songs. And the tunnels were fun – for the kids. I didn’t try them out – I’d never walk straight again!


  5. It sounds like you were the fun teacher! We didn’t do anything fun like that.


  6. pjharjo says:

    I agree with Angela! I thought “What Fun”! while I read your article! I don’t remember what was done in my grade school. I’m sure something was added into the day, but I’m sure it wasn’t as fun as you did! 🙂


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