Friday, December 19, 2014

Penguins Penguins Penguins!

I feel like I've been working on this post for FOREVER, so I'm happy to post it today, finally!!!

Today I'm sharing all the fun we do with PENGUINS! The last 2 years I've done a mini penguin unit to end the time before winter vacation. It is the perfect segway to nonfiction when we return. Almost ALL the awesome activities, worksheets & more are from Amy Lemon's AMAZING penguin unit Waddle with Me... go check it out, it's worth EVERY penny!

We start off reading Tacky the Penguin (and other fictiontional penguin stories) and retelling them on this foldable/organizer...

Next we talked about what we already know and want to learn about penguins...

Then we made the transition to nonfiction. I read the National Geographics book on Penguins. Let me just say those books are FABULOUS.

I would read a couple sections then have them do a different organizer each day. We even compared most birds to penguins.

After reading the nonfiction text, we were ready for our first research experience!!!
I found this amazing site: penguin world that they used to research their penguin. They had A LOT of fun doing this! I am lucky enough to have 6 computers in my room. I also used my personal iPad and  my teammates iPads so that each pair had a device (I only have 17 kids, so 7 pairs and 1 3 group). I've been trying to raise money on Donors Choose so we can have 2 classroom iPads... we're about halfway there!


We did a "whip around" at the end of each of our 3 research sessions. A "whip around" is super easy... you just have each kid prepare for about a minute so they know EXACTLY what they will share when it comes to them and then you "whip around" the circle having everyone share. The kiddo who is next starts sharing as soon as the person in front of them is done. It takes a few times for them to get good at it, but they like it and it's a super fast and effective closure for really any lesson!

Now the kiddos are working on typing up their information. Some of them are writing the story as if they were the actual penguin telling about itself... too cute! Can't wait for them to finish up and share with each other.

We also did a few FUN penguin activities, also from Amy Lemon's penguin unit. Here's a peek at our penguin hats!...

I've loved how engaged my kiddos have been with this mini-unit. Do you do any really engaging mini-units in your class?

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