Derby Day in the Classroom – Tips and Ideas for Teachers

by Hollie Griffith

on April 26, 2023

The Kentucky Derby, a Grade 1 stakes race for three-year-old Thoroughbred horses, is one of the most exciting horse races in the world. Every year, on the first Saturday in May, thousands of viewers gather at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky to witness this thrilling event. But did you know that you can celebrate Derby Day in the classroom too? Yes, you heard it right. As a teacher, you can bring the excitement of the derby into your classroom and make it a fun learning experience for your students. In this blog post, we will share with you some tips and ideas to celebrate Derby Day with your students. All of these ideas come from our All About Horses Nonfiction Unit.

1. Review Text Features

Before learning about horses and horse racing, use our Google Slides to review text features and partner your students up to play a fun game of memory! (There are a lot of text features in our All About Horses book/presentation).

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2. Learn about Horses and Horse Racing with Books

Use our original All About Horses book/presentation to learn about horses and horse racing. Not only will your students learn about horses, but this is the perfect book to focus on using nonfiction text features to make meaning. Some other favorite read alouds are Seasbiscuit and The Black Stallion.

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3. Derby Day Students Books

While reading and learning about horses, your students can make their own one page mini books. You can also review main idea and details with a horse racing passage.

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4. Derby Day Craft

After learning about horses and the Kentucky Derby, your students can create their own horse craft. This craft is perfect for focusing on main idea and key details in the text.

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5. Snack Time!

What’s a celebration without a snack?!? Make this easy and delicious horse cookie that your students will love!

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6. Derby Day Jockey Silks

I have to be honest… I was getting a little tired of the derby hats year after year! This year I decided to make full size silks! You can grab the silks for free HERE!


7. Extras

Our Horse and Derby unit is filled with extras so that you can pick and choose to fit the needs of your classroom – writing, vocabulary, design your own silks, and more!

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Derby Day celebrations don’t have to be limited to the racetrack. Grab the unit HERE!

Have the best day!!


Bring the Kentucky Derby into your classroom.

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Bring the Kentucky Derby into your classroom.

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