I used to read a lot of fun penguin books during our Winter Unit. Of course, Roxie Heart had to have her own penguin outfit to go along with one of the information books we read.
The facts that she taught the class were:
Penguins are birds but they can’t fly.
A Penguin can slide on his tummy faster than a man can run.
Penguin use their spikey tongue to catch fish to eat.
The mother and father penguin both take care of their baby.
They hold the egg, and later the baby penguin, on their feet to keep them off the ice – and cover them with a fold of their skin.
Penguins live in large groups called colonies.
I just go through the book I want to use and pick out about 5-6 facts I would like the children to remember, and draw simple illustrations.
Roxie Heart has a spikey tongue made out of construction paper in her purse.
We reinforced these facts by making a Penguin Book too!
This penguin popped up when you open the page. It was fun teaching the children how to cut 2 slits on the folded edge of the paper and push that portion in to make the pop-up. After that I saw kids using this technique at the art center too! The cutout diamond pieces are supposed to make it look like a snowy hill.
I had access to some lightweight foam that we glued onto the page to look like ice or snow. Then we glued a tagboard strip onto the end of the penguin. When we put the end of the strip into a slit on the page we could make the penguin “slide” across the page.
Of course we had to eat some Goldfish Crackers too. I loved playing a math story problem game with this. At circle time I gave each child a cup with about 12 Goldfish crackers and a piece of blue paper – no smaller than 4 x 4 1/2. Then I told them a story –
“One day there were 2 fish swimming in the lake.”
We all put 2 fish on the paper.
“Soon 3 more fish came along.”
We added 3 fish.
“How many fish were in the lake now?”
The children counted and said “5.”
“Then a big whale came along and ate 1 fish.”
We ate one off the paper.
“Now how many fish were left?”
“Two fish heard their mother call them to come home”
We ate 2 more, and I asked how many remained. I usually just made up the story as we went along, including simple adding and subtracting. I played this game several times during the school year, and depending on where we were in math – sometimes I asked the children to tell me the “number sentence” that went along with it.
At Halloween I used white crayon to draw one square on top of another and then a triangle on top – for a simple haunted house and we played this game with Count Chocula (sp?) cereal. Sometimes we used Honeycomb cereal for snowflakes or Teddy Grahams. You can play it over and over and the kids always love it. You might want to ask the children to help tell the story. I stopped occasionally and asked the children to see if the person next to them had the same amount of fish (or whatever) as they did – to double check that they were all keeping up with the story.
The little piece of fur was only glued on at the top, and lifted up to show the baby penguin sitting on the Daddy’s feet.
This year I happened to have some penguin stickers, other times we just drew the baby.
Obviously the text for this book was not a pattern, and the sentences were a little longer than some of the books we made. It also did not rely on sight words. The purpose of this book was to reinforce what we learned about penguins, but I still put the words into a pocket chart and read and reread them. I think this is a good example of differentiation – some children were usually ready to read this text by relying on sight words, word chunks and picture cues. Other children memorized it because of the repeated re-reading. There were some children that just talked about what was going on as they “read” each page. No matter how they read it – they enjoyed it and really remembered facts about penguins!