Thursday, January 10, 2019

Penguin Unit in Kindergarten

Teaching the Penguin Unit was definitely one of my favorites during the year! The kids learn so much and there are so many fun, interactive, activities to do!! 
I think a lot of kindergarten teachers have moved away from themes like Penguins because it 'doesn't fit into their curriculum anymore'. However, you really CAN incorporate this into your curriculum-your living/nonliving unit, real/pretend, how animals grow and change, and even your life cycle science unit. Of course it is very easy to incorporate all of your reading and writing skills too! Check out my framework HERE that I presented to my administration :)

We always started off our unit by working together to fill out the 'K' and 'W' of our KWL.
We usually always do that whole group in the morning; however, this particular time I had the students write about it during our writing block and they did wonderfully! I did tell them that they had to write one thing they 'knew' and one thing that they were 'wondering'.
During our nonfiction units we also used our 'word splash'. We 'splashed' the words on at the beginning of our unit, then we listened for them as we read throughout the unit.  If we heard a word, I would move the word to the side and we would discuss the meaning.
I had students turn and talk to discuss their new learning and discuss the word splash words. We did this every day! It helps them retain all of the information!
There are so many wonderful center ideas, if you are doing centers anyways, then why not do them thematically?!
At the writing center they did this cute drawing activity. Students will be drawing lots of penguins during writing so this is the perfect way to teach them! At the bottom of the page they wrote about penguins as well.
At our word work center students put their penguin cards in alphabetical order.
Then they used their best handwriting to record the letters.
They read and followed the directions on the activity sheet to color in the correct amount of penguins during math centers.
We were also working on reading ten frames. In 'What Comes Next?' they chose a card, read the ten frame, and recorded that number. Then, they wrote the next 3 numbers. 
To work on reading and sight words, students built simple sentences in the pocket chart and practiced reading them to one another with a pointer.
 There are different activity sheet options in my penguin pack; however, I had students record the sight word 'is' for extra practice.
In 'Time to Find Food' students counted the number of penguins and the number of fish on their card and added the numbers together.
 Another great sight word activity, 'It's Feeding Time!' Students built the sight word on their penguin and recorded the word three times on their activity sheet.
'Penguin pairs' works on rhyming words.
 We also worked on reading and sorting real CVC words vs. nonsense CVC words.
In writing there are a couple of options to choose from. I've done both and can't decide which one I like better!
 We've created an 'All About Penguins' book FULL of non-fiction information that we learned throughout the unit.
We've also used this cute penguin craft as our 'All About Penguins' book! Either way students are learning SO much!
Some of my favorite videos to watch and listen to during the penguin unit are below:

I've linked other videos in my Animal Framework at the top of the post as well!