When winter rolls around, my daughter just can’t get enough penguin activities. These little birds are the cutest with their little short bodies and waddles across the ice. She laughs and giggles every time we see them at the zoo. Of course, when I go to switch out my seasonal books I have to make sure there are plenty of books about penguins! She watches me oh so carefully so that I don’t forget any of her favorite books. Not only does she love penguins, but I found that this was one of my favorite units in the classroom. My learners just had a blast learning about these fun creatures. Have you ever seen a classroom full of first graders try to waddle around like penguins? It’s absolutely A-DORABLE! Just like my daughter, my students couldn’t wait to rush to the library to check out the coolest penguin book and they begged…no, pleaded for me to read anything penguin at my teacher table.
Informational Books Are Fun…What??!
A go-to book that my learners love reading is Cool Penguins. What’s even better is that it’s an informational text filled with text features that keep the book interesting for all types of readers. The ‘ooo’s’ and ‘aww’s’ as they read to themselves just makes my teacher heart so happy! As a first grade standard, we are to help learners take their knowledge and form sentences using simple phrases. Most years, I just created an anchor chart and displayed our work in the class. However, each year I noticed the students were less and less interested in my so-called fun anchor chart. This is when I had to put my teacher hat on and change up some things!
A New Teacher Hat
And that’s when my Penguin flip book was born! What my learners loved most was that their own work was displayed proudly in the hall for all to see. The adorable smiles and glances as they walked past their own work told me I did something right! So, how did we make this adorable penguin flip book? After we dug into Cool Penguins, we had quite the discussion of the new knowledge they gathered. That’s when I knew it was the right time to see what they truly learned on their own. I passed out black, white and orange construction paper along with a template of the penguin. And to my OCD, perfectionist teachers, let them do it! It’s much more adorable when you see the hard work they put into it. Following the directions on each template, my learners worked hard at creating each piece of the penguin. I reminded them of our glue rule: “Just a Dot…Not A Lot!” I could even hear a few whispers of that fun little chant as they glued each piece together carefully. Once our penguins were put together, it was time for them to show off what they learned. They looked so big as they referred back to the book to look for spellings of words and to verify that their findings were true!
So you’re probably asking, “What now? What do we do with these cute little books before displaying them in the hallway?” Good question! In my classroom, there is always time for sharing. Instead of the old fashioned raise-your-hand-to-share technique, I let my students pair up to share. This leads to further discussion and excitement when it comes to sharing and everyone is engaged and disruption is at a minimum! I know, I know. You’re thinking, “Where do I get this activity??” Well, look no further! Grab this Penguin Fact Book for FREE by clicking on the download box below! Need more winter activities? Check out this great list below!