Sunday, February 7, 2016

Polar Animal Fun

Hi there,

Vonda here!  Each year, my sweet Kindergarten students get their first run at doing a book report during our Polar Animal theme.  They always do even better than I expect them do, and stink if I don't learn something every single year.  I love it!

To do these reports, I offer a variety of non-fiction polar animal books.  I have my own personal stash, but I definitely hit up the local library, too.  Each student gets to choose a book, and I encourage them to choose an animal that they do not already know a lot about.  They really do impress me with their willingness to learn something new.  Now, note to self, make a list of the book title that each child took and where the book is from in case someone misplaces it {not that I learned from past mistakes or anything!}.

Each child takes home their book along with the report form and explanation note included in this kit.

This is a great time to teach my students proper oral presentation skills like don't hold your paper in front of your face, speak clearly and loudly so we can hear you, know your information before you start to speak, and much more.  These are such grown up skills, but they are READY to put them into practice!

After the reports are all completed, and we've lots of new information about these amazing animals, it's time for a snack.  This year, I kept it super simple because I have some severe food allergies in my class.  The students LOVED the "icebergs" {blue jello}.  Of course, they thought the "polar bear" was just too cute to eat.  But they managed! 

We did quite a few other fun things during our Polar Animal unit.   I first took a couple of ideas from Reagan Tunstall.  The class had some great ideas about what we should pack in our suitcase for our Antartica trip.  My favorite was the "paper penguin."  Of course, the students had to tell me why they chose a specific item.  "Mrs. Morga, we HAVE to have a paper penguin as a decoy so that the real penguins will come up to it.  Then we can see them close up."  Would you say this little guy is the child of a hunter!  *wink*

We also did the blubber glove experiment.  This isn't anything new, but the students love it every time.  They are always amazed at how they can't even feel the icy water through the blubber glove.  NOTE TO SELF:  Help them so that ice water doesn't go into the top of the bag, ruining the blubber glove concept.

In one of our non-fiction books, we learned that a penguin can go up to 120 days without food.  So I posed this question to the class:  "Why would a penguin need to go that long without food?"  We put all of our ideas up, then set to the task of proving or disproving our ideas.  Yes, Kindergarten sweeties are ready for this level of research.  Here are the original ideas:

  • I have to sit on my egg.
  • I eat a lot of food at one time.
  • I have to swim a long way to get food.
  • God made me that way. {This is probably my favorite!}
  • I take a long time to digest my food.
  • I see a predator.
  • I can't see very well.
  • There is not enough food. 

They split up into groups {be sure to have at least one great reader in each group} and took some of our nonfiction books to gather ideas.  They decided that the following are not true, based on the books that we had available:
  • I can't see very well.
  • There is not enough food.
  • I take a long time to digest my food.

If you want a penguin-themed Valentine's box, check out this post.

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