Thursday, January 14, 2016

Nonfiction Penguin Palooza FREEBIE & GIVEAWAY!

We just finished up our first nonfiction mini unit of our new reading unit, and I am so in love with how it turned out! Last year, we read a new text every one or two days, and I was really focused on my students being able to write the topic and one or two key details that they learned. I didn't really feel like any of them owned what they were learning. It was very fast paced, and the focus was on the product, not the process.
This year, I decided that I wanted to slow down a  bit and help my students really understand the power behind nonfiction. Instead of churning our response sheets as fast as we could, I broke down the unit into several mini units of study. I decided to start with my favorite animal… penguins!
This unit was structured around the recent nonfiction close read push, as well as a resource that I purchased from Hope King several months ago, Set The Stage To Engage. I felt that if my students were engaged and invested in the topic, the key details and other curriculum driven learning would come. Let's start at the beginning…
Even though there was plenty of arctic-like weather outside my classroom walls (thanks, CT!), I wanted to bring that feeling inside my classroom to get my students excited about what they would be learning. For next to nothing, I got some fun fur yarn and pillow stuffing, and was able to make snow and ice appear within the walls of my classroom! A little crafty Sunday afternoon, and my room felt transformed! My teacher heart was so happy when one of my kiddos walked in and said, "Woah! I can't wait to see what we're learning today!" I couldn't have asked for a better moment!
Throughout the next two and a half weeks, we completely immersed ourselves in everything penguin! We kicked off our learning with a penguin KWL chart
…watched a live penguin webcam
… had in depth discussions about the penguin text we were reading
…did a penguin blubber experiment to really understand why penguins need blubber
…tried to waddle like father Emperor penguins taking care of an egg
…used our nonfiction dictionaries and answered text dependent questions
…and watched all of our learning come together in these cute penguin flap books from One Sharp Bunch!
I could not have imagined that this unit would have gone as well as it did! My students were EXCITED for shared reading each day, and their learning extended across the curriculum! During Daily 5, students were searching for nonfiction penguin books to read on RAZ kids and reporting their new information to the class, students were creating penguin diagrams and penguin lego figures during indoor recess, and some were even writing informational pieces about penguins in their free write journals! You can't make this stuff up!!
Click on the image below to grab a FREE SAMPLE of Diving Into Nonfiction!

Looking for more penguin ideas and resources? Make your way through our blog hop to keep on reading!


Don't forget to enter to win my Diving Into Nonfiction resource AND tons of other penguin resources from my friends!
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6 comments:

  1. I love how you set the stage to engage, Gina! Your room looks fabulous, as does your nonfiction pack! I bet your kiddos enjoyed the penguin unit so much! I am glad we could team up!

    Ashley
    One Sharp Bunch

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  2. Love the idea of the penguin cam! Thanks for sharing!
    Jenn
    Crayons & Cuties In Kindergarten

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    1. Thanks, Jennifer! My kids loved seeing real penguins!

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  3. I love all the activities and cannot wait to try it in my classroom. Where did you get the blubber experiment sheets?

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    1. Thank you!!! The blubber experiment sheet is part of my Diving Into Nonfiction resource! You can find it here if you are interested: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Nonfiction-Reading-Response-Journal-1338465

      I hope your class enjoys their penguin lessons!!
      Gina

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