Sunday, November 17, 2013

Penguin Fun and a Freebie!

Ahh I'm back! I have been very overwhelmed with parent teacher conferences, after school meetings, and my first formal observation! So yes, it has been crazy. But the good news is.... I made it!! I sure do believe God had a purpose for placing me where I am, and I am very thankful to be working with my third graders despite huge obstacles.

In the classroom, we have been having LOTS of fun researching, reading, and writing about penguins. I was so excited when I find out that our next Reading Street story was an informational text about penguins. My kids absolutely LOVE learning about animals. So, I figured I would turn this story into a bigger, informational unit that would really expand and deepen the knowledge that my students have about penguins. We started out by activating and making known our prior knowledge with this cute little KWL chart. You can grab it here!

After documenting our prior knowledge individually and whole group, we moved into thoroughly researching and understanding the nature of nonfiction texts. My students have not had much exposure with nonfiction. So, I found it very necessary to teach the differences between nonfiction and fiction to my sweeties. I also really wanted my students to learn how to find the "main idea" of a nonfiction text. My students arevery familiar with finding the main idea of fiction, but not with nonfiction. I presented them with an anchor chart that gave them CLUES as to how to find the main idea of a short or longer  nonfiction text. I then gave my students the opportunity to practice finding the main idea of nonfiction pieces about animals.... but most of my kiddos chose to read about penguins:-) 
We used this amazing packet


My students absolutely loved reading about the different animals, and I saw them growing in their ability to find the main idea from a nonfiction text. However, I didn't want to stop there! I wanted to continue giving my students the opportunity to dig deeper into penguins. So, I decided to go to the library...... and I came home with about 26 different nonfiction books about penguins for my students! 

They were so EXCITED!!!


We ended our week finishing our KWL charts, and let me tell you.... my kiddos were so excited because they had learned so much! And most of their questions had been answered! We also ended by writing about penguins...... oh a little bit of Happy Feet:-) 
This Reading Street Story, along with all these supplemental penguin activities sure were a hit with my third graders! I can't wait to do more nonfiction with my students because they sure do love it! 

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