Penguins GALORE!


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I just love penguins. They are truly an amazing and very interesting animal.   Teaching about penguins is always a fun experience for my students (and for me!) because there are so many things that you can do.  I love the integration into many subject areas.



I like to start with finding out what kids already know about penguins. Or, in my experience, what they THINK they know.  I want to be able to teach students to VERIFY their "facts" by teaching them to research and think critically.  (I first learned this extra step in a workshop put on by Tony Stead.)  First, students are given 3 sticky notes to write what they think they know, what they wonder and what they want to learn.





After we finish with our sticky notes, we have a class discussion on the "facts".  Some we know for sure and they can be placed on verified.  Many go to the Wait section and need further investigation.


Then, we research!

I review text features with students that I taught them in my Literacy block (see Hooked on Writing)  and with my Just Chillin' set.



As students are reading and researching and learning more about penguins, they learn to think critically and recognize some of the facts from our anchor chart.  If they find the fact and it has been verified, the sticky notes from the We Will Find Out section  go to the Verified section.  Sometimes, we can't find a fact and verify it so it stays on the we are not sure section. As students research, they put together a mini penguin book that showcases their learning thus far. It's a great formative assessment tool to use as students are engaged in the learning process. You can quickly see where they are in their learning and where to go next in your teaching.



During our integrated social studies and literacy block, students participate in two kinds of learning:  they make a penguin lap book and they work on penguin writing centers.

The Penguin Lap Book is full of penguin facts.  Students read and complete activities that help them to learn more about penguins.




There are a variety of different options depending on your focus.






 Students love putting this together!  It's a great summative assessment for the end of your unit and the perfect thing to share with parents and for students to take home and keep.

The second thing we work on is "writing in role", or point of view.   I use my Penguin Perspectives set in the writing center.  Here, students use these colorful non-fiction type journal prompts to write fiction.  Students write in the role of the penguin and answer fact based questions like they are a penguin writing in their journal. My students loved this!  It was also another great way for me to see how much my students had learned in the unit.










Here are a few penguin books you might like for your penguin unit.



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