Thursday, January 10, 2013

Back to School Again...with Penguins!

Before I even begin to tell you what we have been learning at school, I have some exciting news to share!
I am a first time Aunt! I am so in love already. She is absolutely perfect and precious and innocent...I could go on and on. What a blessing!
In other news...we did begin our penguin unit at school! Check it out on my blog HERE! This was supposed to be a two week unit, but we decided to change it to a three week unit. I absolutely love teaching nonfiction units because it is amazing to see the knowledge that children gain and watch them become so interested in a topic.
On Monday we completed the 'K' and 'W' in our KWL. They actually surprised me (like always) with the amount of previous knowledge they had on penguins. When I write the information that they already know, I write everything they say. We will revisit the 'K' and cross out misconceptions or fix them to be true. As you can see below, we also already learned a lot of new information on penguins as well!
On Tuesday, I introduced their 'Word Splash' words for the penguin unit. I call children up to 'splash' the word on.
I read them the words, but I don't tell them the meaning. As we read our nonfiction books, the students have to listen for their words. If they hear one, they give me a thumbs up. Then, we will go over the definition. After we go over it, I move the word over to the left hand side.
On Wednesday, I stayed home to meet my amazing niece. So, on Thursday, we labeled our penguin.
I call one student up at a time to label the penguin...for some reason my kids really enjoy this activity!
During writing, we began our nonfiction 'All About Penguins' book (Common Core W.K.2)
The children really did an awesome job writing down some penguin facts on their first page. (Some students do use the KWL for guidance)

They also did their second page on what penguins eat. 
I am having a blast with the penguin unit so far! I will share some of our centers and other activities soon! I did have a mini 'teachable moment' today. We were reading one of our penguin books and it was discussing how penguins can tell each other apart by the sound that they make. My students didn't believe me! They thought there were way too many penguins huddled together for them to know the difference. So, I had all of my students close their eyes. I told them that if I tap them on the head, they have to say 'hello'. We did it one time and I had the students open their eyes. I asked them if they knew who said 'hello' and of course they guessed right away! We did it a couple more times and they guessed correctly each time! They couldn't believe it! It was super cute!
You can find the activities mentioned above, in my penguin unit on TPT.
I am linking up with Denise over at Sunny Days! She is showing off some other great winter ideas :)


  1. Love this unit...can't wait to use it! Your niece is precious!!

  2. how sweet is that baby! I love your penguin unit too!

  3. Congrats on being an Aunt! She is precious! And thanks again for your tips!
    :0) Cara

    Kindergarten Boom Boom

  4. Goodness I want to start this unit tomorrow!! I love that idea about closing their eyes and recognizing their voices!

  5. Way cute! And congrats on becoming an aunt!
    Kickin' it in Kindergarten

  6. Congratulations on being a first time Aunt!!!

  7. We have had a blast with the penguin unit this week! Thank you so much for sharing. I can't wait to see the Polar Bear Unit!

  8. SO precious! Congrats on being a first time aunt! :)

    Bren P.
    The Teacher Diaries

  9. Love the Splash activity. Great way to discuss vocabulary from informational text.
    Primary Paradise

  10. Congrats on being an aunt! What a blessing!

    Sprinkles to Kindergarten

  11. Congratulations Aunt Caitlin!
    ΡΌ Lori
    Teaching With Love and Laughter

  12. Congrats on being a new aunt! We have one niece with a nephew coming any time now. So exciting! Love what you're doing with your kiddos on the penguin unit! I defintely like the word splash idea to introduce vocabulary. I'll have to remember that strategy. Enjoy aunt-hood!

  13. Hi Caitlin! First, congratulations on being a first-time aunt! That happened to me two years ago and I am already up to THREE nieces and nephews now! The love and fun just expands with each is definitely a blessing like you said! Enjoy! :)
    Also, I LOVE your blog and I love following you on Pintrest! I recently purchased your penguin TpT unit and will start teaching it tomorrow with my little ones...I am so excited because it is my FAVORITE unit to teach all year! Thank you for creating such an engaging unit...this is only my third year teaching about penguins and thanks to your unit it is CERTAIN to be the most thorough year yet! Thanks for being an inspirational teacher!

  14. Congratulations on becoming an Aunt! What a special day :)

    I found your blog through A Special Kind of Class's giveaway! I am your newest follower :)

    Mindful Rambles

  15. Congrats on becoming an Aunt! It is the best feeling! Your penguin unit looks great! :)
    Crayons and Curls

  16. YAY! Congratulations on being an aunt!! That is so exciting :) I must tell you that I love your penguin unit and so are my kids! They are having a total blast!! Thanks so much for sharing it!

  17. I meant to say so *do* my kids! Woops!

  18. Your niece is super adorable. Mine is about to turn 13 and I can still remember the first day I held her in the hospital like it was yesterday!
    Thanks for joining my linky and showing everyone your amazing penguin unit!
    Sunny Days In Second Grade

  19. Your niece is precious!!!!! I bet someone will be very spoiled by her Aunt Caitlin! :). I don't know if you have a SMART Board in your classroom but I only have one computer in our classroom so during centers I use the SMART board for the computer center and it is interactive so the students will get to do different types of websites on there. I also have a Flip Cam and I or a student will video the class retelling our big book at the end of the week! Then we play it on the "big movie screen" in Hollywood! They LOVE IT!!!

  20. I have been following your blog since so many days.. the content you provide really helps me..
    Primary Schools In Pune

  21. I love you blog! Everything is so helpful! What are a few books that you recommend for the nonfiction penguin unit?

  22. Hi Tara! Thanks so much! I actually don't have access to my classroom over the summer so I am not 100% sure of all the non-fiction Penguin books that I have. I looked on Amazon to see which covers I recognize from my collection, haha, and here are some that I know I have:

    and I THINK I have this one too: