Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Penguins and More!!

Whew! This week (and last) has flown by! I can't believe it is almost Mardi Gras! I definitely feel ready for a relaxing five day weekend! This is a time of year when I am totally THRILLED to be a Louisianian. I must say; however, that today was one of those days that I feel truly blessed to be a teacher. Seriously...some days I just LOVE my job! That feeling makes all those not-so-good days totally worth it!

Last week, our class wrapped up our penguin unit! It was so much fun, and I could tell the kids really learned a lot!

We began our unit by creating a little penguin themed KWL chart. Then, we read a few non-fiction books so we could add to our new learning!

Next, we began our class reading of Mr. Popper's Penguins. Have you read this book with your class? It was definitely one of our favorites! Each day, I read a chapter (or two) of the book and we followed up with a little "accountable talk". My kiddos have gotten so great at holding discussions. They have really learned to talk to one another about a topic and respond to what one another has to say! I have even completely removed myself from the accountable talk circle, to ensure that the discussion is completely student lead. I am so proud of them! 
My littles loved the book so much, we decided to do a little reader's theater with a cute script I found online! You can click the picture of the book above to link to the website . We have been practicing every day and will be putting on a little performance for our parents on Friday. I'm letting my students make the props and costumes all by their lonesome, so I will definitely snap some pics of their creativity! :)

Our most favorite part of the unit by far, was the little surprise we received last Monday from an "anonymous" person. Just like Mr. Popper, we received our very own class penguin!!

The kids could not contain themselves when we got a special knock at the door from the school secretary. The "air holes" poked in the box as well as the words "keep cool" probably gave the surprise a way, but they were excited nonetheless!

 Of course, we had to name the penguin, so I chose four of my hardest workers to pick a name. Then we held a class vote and graphed the data! Our class decided to keep tradition and name our penguin Captain Cook, just like Mr. Popper. It was so funny to see the names the kiddos came up with! Our other contenders were: Ariel, Andrew, and Icy.

When we were done, we displayed our data on yet another penguin, and turned our votes into fractions! We used the recording sheet below to record and analyze our data. You can click on the picture to get your own copy!

Since we have also been studying money, I finally found the perfect opportunity to use the little piggy banks I snagged from the beloved Target dollar section.

 I had just enough piggy banks for each of my table groups, so I set them out and asked students who were doing great work to put various amounts (of my choice) in their piggy bank throughout the day. It provided them with the perfect opportunity to practice counting money, and also motivated them to stay on task!! At the end of each day, we counted the money in each piggy bank as a group and the winners get to "fed" Captain Cook his fish (goldfish crackers). This process basically consists of the winners sitting in a circle around Captain Cook and feeding themselves. Ha!

 Another favorite of this unit was a little activity called the Blubber Glove I got from my dear friend Ms. Thomas over at the First Grade Jungle. My kids almost died when I told them they would be wearing a "blubber glove" today! They kept asking me where I got it from and if it was real. Of course...I said yes ;). It was such a fun way to expand their knowledge of penguins and they got SO into it

To wrap up our unit, we wrote a little opinion piece on whether or not we would want a penguin for a pet. We have been practicing using evidence to support our writing, and it was hilarious to see what they came up with! Their writing has gotten so great throughout the year, and I was very impressed with their work! Some of their writing was so long, it took up three pages! When we were done, we created our very own colorful penguins! Here are a few of my favorites!!

One of the most creative uses of evidence was this sweet little line "I do not want a penguin for a pet because it might make a rookery out of my rock collection!" How stinkin cute?

You can click the link below to grab your own copy of the little writing sheet I created!

I hope this helps!! We are in the midst of our Valentine's unit, and have been working on some great writing pieces! Can't wait to share them with you!
Have a great evening!

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