March Lesson of the Month:
This month’s lesson links a St. Patrick’s Day research project with persuasion. The students will learn facts surrounding the Irish holiday. They will combine their acquired facts with a bit of untruth. Thereafter, try to convince their audience to believe a light-hearted ruse over true facts.
Students will research different topics associated with March 17th and the St. Patrick’s Day celebration. The students will research and write a short essay (1 or 2 paragraphs). The students will rewrite their paragraphs, adding their own “blarney” to the facts they discovered. Each student will share both pieces of information (the true facts and the “made-up” blarney) with their classmates. They will be encouraged to add eloquent vocabulary to further prompt their listeners to believe a ruse over the truth.
Here’s what you’ll do:
1) First, discuss with students what they know about St. Patrick’s Day. Their knowledge may or may not go beyond the wearing of green and/or leprechauns.
2) Next, have students choose a related topic to research such as:
The History of St. Patrick’s Day
St. Patrick’s Day Parades
Pot of Gold
Students can work in pairs or groups to find books and websites relating to their topic.
3) Have students research facts and information about their chosen topic.
4) Next, have them write 1-2 informative paragraphs about their subject.
5) Then have students think of silly statements (blarney) they could place within their factual pieces. Encourage students to use a thesaurus to add a wealth of extraordinary vocabulary, making it easier to persuade their fellow students to believe the “blarney” over the real facts.
TRUTH: Blarney Stone is an actual stone found in the Irish village of Blarney. The stone is set in the wall of the tower at Blarney Castle. It is located between the main wall and the safeguard. Thousands of tourists visit the castle every year to kiss the Blarney Stone in hopes of gaining the gift of eloquence. Legend has it that the tradition was started by an old woman who cast a spell on the stone to reward a king who saved her from drowning. When he kissed the stone, he too was gifted the power of persuasive “gab.” It is very difficult to reach and one must hold onto a railing and bend backwards to position themselves for the kiss.
BLARNEY: Blarney Stone – an actual stone found in the Irish village of Blarney. The stone is set in the wall of the tower at Blarney Castle. It is located between the basement and the main wall. Thousands of tourists visit the castle every year to kiss the Blarney Stone in hopes of getting their wishes granted. Legend has it that the tradition was started by an old woman who cast a spell on the stone to reward a king who saved her from drowning. When he kissed the stone, he too was granted three wishes. Now, when kissing the blarney stone, wishes are granted according to where you kiss the stone. It is very difficult to reach and one must hold on to a railing and bend backwards to position themselves for the kiss. So, if one kisses the stone on the edge, only one small wish is granted. But if one is able to bend far enough and brave the uncomfortable position to reach the middle of the stone, three wishes will be granted.
Here are a few great websites to check out. Or visit your school library for more information.
6) Follow up by having the rest of the class “fact check” in order to identify the “blarney.” Have them discuss how they might verify information and discount the blarney.
Bonus: Have students create word referents for their topic.