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September is the month when most students return to school (at least those who have not started back in late August). It's also a great time to kick off the year with activities related to events that occur or are celebrated during the month. These themes, events, and holidays and corresponding activities will provide plenty of ideas to enliven your lessons as you start out the year. Use them for inspiration to create your own lessons and activities, or incorporate the ideas as provided.01of 19
National School Success Month
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A great way to start the school year is to discuss how important it is to succeed in school. Have students create a list for the first week of school and post it in the classroom. September provides the perfect opportunity to think about goals and expectations for the year.02of 19
Better Breakfast Month
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Teach students about the importance of nutrition and eating breakfast. Only about one-third of all people in the U.S.-kids and adults-take the time to eat breakfast. Yet those who eat this important meal tend to have a lower risk of heart disease and stroke. Indeed, says the American Heart Association, those who skip breakfast are more likely to be overweight, have diabetes, and eat more sugars the rest of the day. Use this month to show students why breakfast may, indeed, be the most important meal of the day.03of 19
Sept. 3: Labor Day
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Labor Day celebrates the hard work and accomplishments of workers in America and how they helped make the country strong and successful. Plenty of free information is available on the internet to help create a brief lesson on the history of Labor Day as well as its meaning. Labor day printables can also serve as the basis for several lessons throughout the month.
Sept. 4: Newspaper Carrier Day
Celebrate the day by trying a few newspaper activities with your students, including word search puzzles, vocabulary worksheets, and alphabet activities. Discuss the interesting history of the event, which honors the day that publisher Benjamin Day hired 10-year-old Blarney Flaherty as the first newspaper carrier on Sept. 4, 1833.05of 19
Sept. 5: National Cheese Pizza Day
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All kids love pizza, so celebrate this day by throwing a pizza party for the class. There's probably no better way to start the school year. When the kids are done eating, bring up a few trivia tidbits such as the fact that Americans eat 350 slices of pizza per second every day.
Sept. 6: Read a Book Day
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Possibly created by a bibliophile or a librarian, this unofficial day presents a great opportunity to do possibly the most important thing you can do with a group of young students: Read a book. And when you're finished reading, choose from 20 book activities that will help to extend your reading lesson.07of 19
Sept. 8: International Literacy Day
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Continue the reading theme by observing International Literacy Day. Help your students' love for reading blossom by providing them with any of 10 reading-related activities such as playing book bingo, creating thematic book bags, and holding read-a-thons.
Sept. 9: Teddy Bear Day
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Have kindergarten or first-grade students bring in their favorite teddy bears from home, and read the story "A Pocket for Corduroy," a classic tale by Don Freeman (that's more than 50 years old) about a teddy bear and his friend Lisa. If your students are a bit older, tell them that the toy was indeed named for Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt, the 26th president of the United States.09of 19
Sept. 10: National Grandparents Day
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President Jimmy Carter declared the first Sunday after Labor Day as National Grandparents Day, the result of efforts by Marian McQuade, a West Virginia housewife, who, in 1970, started a campaign to establish a special day to honor grandparents. Mark the day by having students write a poem, make a craft, or invite their grandparents to school for brunch and play.10of 19
Sept. 11: 9/11 Remembrance Day
Honor the people who were killed in the World Trade Center by having students donate to the 9/11 memorial fund sponsored by the 9/11 Museum & Memorial in New York City. Or mark the solemn day with 9/11 memorial songs, such as "Little Did She Know (She'd Kissed a Hero)" by songwriter Kristy Jackson and "9-11," a downloadable tune by singer/songwriter Greg Poulos.
Sept. 13: Positive Thinking Day
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Take the time on this day to remind students how important it is to always think positively. Put students in small groups and have them come up with five ways they can think positively in various real-life situations.12of 19
Sept. 13: Milton Hershey's Birthday
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The founder of the Hershey Chocolate Corporation who helped popularize chocolate candy throughout much of the world was born on Sept. 13, 1857. If you have access to a kitchen, make some kid-friendly chocolate goodies, such as chocolate-dipped pretzels and tiger fudge to celebrate this sweet day.13of 19
Sept. 13: Uncle Sam's Birthday
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In 1813, the first image of Uncle Sam appeared in the U.S., and the day gained official status in 1989 when a joint resolution of Congress designated Sept. 13 as "Uncle Sam Day." Activity Village offers free Uncle Sam activities for kids, including an Uncle Sam puzzle, tips on drawing the famous figure, and several craft projects.14of 19
Sept. 13: Ronald Dahl's Birthday
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Celebrate the children's book author by reading a few of his stories to the class, such as "Ah Sweet Mystery of Life" and "Danny, the Champion of the World." If you have older students, read a biography of Dahl, such as "Storyteller: The Authorized Biography of Roald Dahl."
Sept. 16: Mayflower Day
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Mark the day the Mayflower sailed from the Plymouth, England, to America by learning about the voyage, reading the text, and coloring a picture of the famous ship, and doing a few Pilgrim crafts. If you have older students, talk about the signing of the Mayflower Compact by 41 English colonists in 1620 as well as the founding of the Massachusetts Bay Colony a decade later.16of 19
Sept. 15-Oct. 15: National Hispanic Heritage Month
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Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 by celebrating the contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America, and South America. HispanicHeritageMonth.org offers classroom activities, historical information, and updates on yearly events that you can share with your students.17of 19
Sept. 16: National Play-Doh Day
Play-Doh actually started as wallpaper cleaner, but when inventor Joe McVicker heard a teacher say traditional modeling clay was too hard for children to use, he decided to market the substance as a children's toy. Let young children make shapes with the modeling compound, and give them some fun facts, including:
- More than 700 million pounds of Play-Doh have been created.
- More than 100 million cans are sold annually.
- Play-Doh was inducted into the Toy Hall of Fame in 1998.
Sept. 17: Constitution Day/Citizenship Day
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Constitution Day, also called Citizenship Day, is a U.S. federal government observance that honors the creation and adoption of the United States Constitution as well as those who have become U.S. citizens through birth or naturalization. Use the day to teach students about immigration to the U.S as well as the naturalization process, and share the fact that on Sept. 17, 1787, delegates to the Constitutional Convention signed the important document at Independence Hall in Philadelphia.19of 19
Sept. 22: First Day of Autumn
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It's time to say goodbye to summer, so take a walk around the school grounds and have students observe and discuss how the trees and leaves are changing. Or have students do autumn word search puzzles to boost their knowledge of fall-themed vocabulary.