Thursday, January 30, 2014

All About Penguins

I just love the winter months in Kindergarten!  There are so many exciting things to learn about. :)  This week, my class has been learning all about penguins.  We began the week with a schema activation activity.  First, I made an anchor chart with a picture of a penguin.  I asked the kiddos to tell me anything that they thought they knew about penguins.  Some of their responses were really accurate, and some were just downright cute!  I recorded their responses on sticky notes and put them on the penguin anchor chart.

I then asked the class, "When we want to know if something is true or not, how can we find out?"  "We can read it in a book,"  "we can watch videos about it," and "we can research it"  were some of the responses.  I explained to the class that throughout the week, we would be reading a lot of non-fiction texts and watching some videos that would help us to determine if the things that we thought about penguins were misconceptions or facts.  Throughout the week, we read the following books:

National Geographic Kids PenguinsPenguins
Penguin Chick
These Birds Can't FlyPenguins and Their Chicks

If we came across information that led us to the conclusion that one of our ideas was actually a misconception, we moved it off of the penguin.  I believe that these kind of activities build confidence among early learners because they are able to see that we all can learn together, and if we aren't sure about something, we can find out together.

We also watched these videos on YouTube throughout the week.  The kiddos especially liked the songs from Harry Kindergarten! :)

Penguin Video

Have You Ever Seen a PenguinMr. Penguin

 We incorporated some fiction text into our Reading Block by reading the following books:

Tacky Tacky and the Winter Games

If you're familiar with this series, you know how adorable it is!  You could use any books from the series, but I chose the original and Tacky and the Winter Games because I wanted to introduce the concept due to the fact that the Winter Olympics start next week!

We then made a Venn Diagram of the books.  I completed it on the white board, and then the students completed a paper version of their own.  (You'll notice that we used inventive spelling to complete this.)

We also worked on some penguin-themed morning work from my Winter No Prep Math and Literacy Printables unit on TpT!

No Prep Winter Math and Literacy Printables

We even incorporated penguins into our Math block in our Math Journals and through a penguin measurement activity (although sadly, I was out with a sick baby this day, so I have no pictures).  If you like these journal prompts, you can purchase them from Deedee Wills on TpT.  Click on the link here.  I highly recommend these!  My students' math comprehension has skyrocketed since I introduced these last year! (She even has a free download available if you visit her store!)

If you also teach about penguins in your classroom, I'd love to hear your ideas!

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