The cooler weather is here, and it is time for some penguin fun! The winter months are perfect for learning about snowflakes, animals that hibernate, polar bears, and penguins. I’m sharing a few ideas today that will make planning a penguin unit a breeze for your students in your elementary classroom. Be sure to checkout the two freebies that are included in this post!
With so many different awesome book choices, it is hard to narrow the list down to just 6, but here are a few of my favorites.
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National Geographic Readers: Penguins – “They waddled into stardom in National Geographic’s March of the Penguins film. These guys are now nature’s ROCK STARS! If you’re age 5, you’re probably as tall as an Emperor. But why do they throw up so much? March this way, and find out all!”
The Emperor’s Egg: Read and Wonder- “Can you imagine spending the winter outdoors in Antarctica without anything to eat? That’s just what the male Emperor penguin does. While his mate is off swimming and catching loads of fish, he stands around in the freezing cold with an egg on his feet for two whole months, keeping it warm and waiting for it to hatch. Welcome to the story of the world’s most devoted dad!”
Tacky the Penguin – “Tacky’s perfect friends find him annoying until his odd behavior saves the day. Tacky is an odd bird. He likes to do splashy cannonballs and greet his companions with a loud “What’s happening?” In fact, he’s something of an eccentric, which wouldn’t be a problem if all the other penguins weren’t such . . . conformists. When intimidating visitors invade their peaceful nice, icy land it’ll take a lot more than a bunch of perfect penguins to save the day. Thank goodness Tacky’s such an odd bird!”
Go, Jojo, Go! – “Jojo the penguin just can’t wait to go to sea, but first she must learn to swim. When Jojo’s fuzzy baby down becomes a shiny penguin coat and she can swim across the biggest rock pool, she is ready at last. Flippa-flap, snippa-snap, go Jojo go! This delightful picture book for children ready to explore their world features photographs of the Gentoo penguins on Macquarie Island, halfway between Australia and the Antarctic.”
Penguin Chick – “Easy-to-follow text and photos introduce readers to penguins and their chicks. Plus each title includes bonus augmented reality video to help readers learn more.”
This simple anchor chart can be used with a variety of text and book options. This is my favorite one to use with nonfiction text like, National Geographic Readers: Penguins. We read the book the first time for information. We practice active listening skills like, find two facts you didn’t know before we read the book. Then, the second time we read, we read for purpose. The purpose is to find nouns, verbs, and adjectives from the book that are about penguins. Shhhh….your kiddos will forget that they are actually practicing all of those parts of speech.
***Take it a step further!*** Use this anchor chart in your writing station throughout your unit. Challenge students to use one word from each section in their sentences to make their writing full of informational facts!
Want to download this free template? Click here!
Who wouldn’t want to march around the school with a penguin mask on??? What is great about this project is that it works with your Silhouette if you have one to make prep a breeze!!! Click here to see more!
You know if you are teaching about penguins that the snack needs to be cold, right? These frozen banana treats are so cute and from one of my favorite mom bloggers! Click here to visit!
Word Problem Freebie
Last but not least, be sure if you cover thematic units not to just include reading and ELA activities! Throw some fun math activities in there too! Let me introduce you to Math Story Mats.
You give your students a page with word problems and a page with a background for the “mat” and then ten frame pictures to manipulate on the mat. Students cut the pieces apart and act out the word problems as they solve to find the sum or difference. These are perfect for visual and kinesthetic learners! Make word problems come alive for your students, and they will be able to visualize what is being asked of them for years to come without the mats! Want to download this freebie? Just click here!
If these story mats are perfect for your students, be sure to click here to see more winter themed story mats!