Playdate with a Polar Bear

Most kids LOVE to have playdates with their friends. What if that playdate could be with an awesome creature from the animal world? As a primary teacher for most of my career, I know how much kids love animals from an early age. I also know that animals motivate kids. Have you ever had your students read to a stuffed animal? Magic! Pure magic! In my quest to change the way I think about learning, I have created resources that are more open ended and designed to tap into the creative side of students where real learning begins. If you've been reading my blog for a while, you will know that's how I roll. I am always looking for learning opportunities for students that are deep learning experiences, designed from the outcomes in the curriculum and the big ideas, where students can construct their own learning. Today, I released a brand new set called Playdate with a Polar Bear. Read on to find out more about this fun set!

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Kids love animals. Kids love to play. Put these two together and you've got motivation to learn! My first set is called Play Date with a Polar Bear.  These kits are perfect for your literacy centers. Inside a student pencil case or other plastic case, you will include the items in this set: 2 information cards, a puzzle set of the Arctic habitat and some of the animals you will find there.  You can choose to cut out the animals that are provided or use your own small plastic figurines. (You can find some here or visit your local Michaels or dollar store.)

There is also a set of printables for students to create their own story using a close technique (use vocabulary to fill in the blanks of the story so that it makes sense.) This is a great strategy for increasing comprehension while also allowing students some room for creativity. They get to name their polar bear friend, draw it and write about a trip to the Arctic with their bear and then a trip to their own home town with their bear.  There are lots of opportunities for students to practice their word choice by describing places and things.

Students can then put together a puzzle that you have printed (and laminated for longer use if you choose.) This picture will give them some more ideas about the Arctic and the animals. If you have Arctic books to enhance their learning, these would be a perfect fit.  

There is also a coloured blank Arctic habitat picture that you can laminate or put in a sleeve. Your students can use the animals to play with to create an adventure story.  To help students once they have created their ideas, I have included a planning sheet and writing paper to write their polar adventure.

Here's hoping we can bring a little purposeful play to the classroom to supercharge learners and inspire their creativity. I think you will notice a difference in their skills, their motivation and their engagement.    What other PLAYDATE sets would you like to see?

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