I got a letter in the mail the other day from a girl that I had in Kindergarten who is now in Middle School. She sent me an essay that she had written in school about her memories of being in my class. This girl moved away after Kindergarten and I haven’t seen her in quite a few years. I loved reading about what she remembered and thought was fun. A big part of her essay was her memory of St. Patrick’s Day.
Over the years I have sometimes made Leprechauns, did potato math games, read St. Patrick’s Day books, graphed Lucky Charms cereal, or cooked Green Eggs and Ham; but every year we have had a visit from the Leprechauns. Sometime during the morning I read books about Leprechauns and told the children that there is a story that Leprechauns are magic little creatures with pointed ears and pointed feet who like to cause mischief, and if you catch them they have to give you their pot of gold, that they usually keep at the end of the rainbow. I always told them that this is just a story I have heard, and I don’t know if it is true.
Then when the children were at lunch I messed up my classroom. Not just a little. I dumped toys, took books off shelves, emptied crayon containers, and even turned over chairs and one table. I spread small pointed footprints cut out of green paper all around the room, and I put green food coloring in the toilet. When the children came back I was sure to be behind the group, not in the classroom, so they went in and discovered the mischief. I always pretended to be aggravated at them, and asked them why they made such a mess. As they protested their innocence someone always suggested that maybe it was the Leprechauns! After everyone had a good look at the mess we started to clean it all up together (it takes a remarkably short time for them to clean it up!), that is usually when they notice the toilet. I also have a small black Halloween type pot that I hide somewhere they will find it during clean up, and I put chocolate coins or Hershey kisses in it.
When they find the pot I pretended to be very excited that maybe we almost caught the Leprechauns and they were in such a hurry they left their pot of gold behind. After it was all cleaned up I passed out the candy. The kids absolutely loved this whole thing, and talked about it for the rest of the year. They often blamed missing things or messed up centers on Leprechauns for the next few weeks.
I don’t endorse lying to Kindergartners, but I never told them that it was really me. I know some kids can be really sensitive and worry about things, but it was never a problem. I always kept saying, I don’t know if this could be true! I am sure most of them knew I had done it, but they loved this play.
Other teachers in my building often built “Leprechaun traps” instead of messing up the classroom. They would balance a box or basket on top of blocks, and pretend that the Leprechauns sprung the trap and got away, leaving behind their pot of gold.
The children were so excited about this that we made a Language Experience story about it that afternoon. I asked the children to retell what had happened to me, and I wrote it on chart paper. Then I typed it out, with one sentence on a page, and the children illustrated it. I don’t have a sample to share because I gave out class books to the class at the end of the year.
I loved having fun and making memories with my class! I hope you do too!