Saturday 11 February 2012

Penguins, Penguins, Everywhere!

Have you ever had one of those units that you just can't finish?? We have been working on our penguin books for over two weeks now! We just kept getting interrupted or busy or sick! Oh well, today was our last day and we have had a lot of fun with it!

Penguins are one of my favourite animals, so I love teaching about them! Plus, kids really love them too! Who doesn't love a little flightless, tuxedo-wearing bird? :)

Here are some of the nonfiction books we read to help us learn true facts about penguins:

The first day we made our cute penguin nonfiction books. The covers are from Deanna Jump's Penguin Unit. Love it!

On the second day we looked at many pictures of penguins and talked about the physical features of penguins. Our first page in our nonfiction book was a labelled diagram. The pages I created to go in our nonfiction book can be downloaded at the end of this post.

We talked about the tallest (Emperor) and shortest (Little Blue/Fairy) penguins. Then we measured ourselves against this height chart.

Then we graphed our heights to see if we were shorter than, taller than, or the same height as an Emperor Penguin! My students had a lot of fun seeing how they compared!

Then we completed this little graph page. Click the picture to download the graph labels above and the student sheet.

The next day we learned about where penguins live. We talked about how some penguins live in warm places, and other penguins live in cold places. I got this idea from Jessica Meacham's site. We used this Penguins Around the World site to help us learn where each type of penguin lives. For the students' nonfiction books, I photocopied the page but printed the world map out on the colour printer. I used dry erase markers on my large poster, while students coloured their maps in with crayon.

After we read the true story of "Pierre the Penguin", we talked about how penguins stay warm. We learned the word blubber. Then we did this science experiment from Deanna's unit. There is a recording sheet we completed from her unit as well! The blubber glove is shortening sandwiched between two ziplock bags. We felt the difference between our bare hand in the ice water and our hand in the blubber glove. I wish you could see their faces--their reactions were hilarious! The ice water was especially cold after coming in from recess (me too--duty day) with -25ºC (-13ºF) weather! Brrrrrr!!!

When we learned about penguin predators, we completed this page in our nonfiction book.

Then we played a game of four corners, with a little twist. In each corner of the classroom, I put up posters of the four predators: shark, sea eagle, orca, and seal. One student was in the middle, blindfolded (found this adorable sleep mask at the dollar store) and counted to ten, while the other "penguins" chose a "predator" (corner) to stand by. The penguin in the middle said stop and called out one of the predators. Any penguins standing by that predator were "eaten" and had to sit down. The round keeps going until one penguin is left, and that penguin gets to be in the middle next!

We also took a look at what penguins eat...

and how penguins move.

We talked about penguin babies and learned what the word "regurgitate" means. Eeeww!! :)

As our last day of penguin fun, I created these fun quiz cards to review everything we had learned about penguins! I wrote questions about the types of penguins, where they live, what they eat, predators, babies, etc. There are 28 cards in all (some duplicates--15 different questions). {Click the picture to download from TpT for free!}

How cute are these penguin gummies?? And they are peach flavoured! So yummy! I know it's terrible to bribe kids with candy, but they were so quiet and well behaved during our quiz game! :) If they answered a question correctly, they got a candy. Everyone got to answer one question, so it was fair for all! (And a few more candies ended up on their desk later if they working quietly!)
I didn't do a lot of fiction activities involving penguins, but we spent one week looking at the Tacky books. My little bunnies just love this odd bird! We focused on story elements and completed this chart as we read each book.

I am completey *IN LOVE* with these next two books. The pictures are simply beautiful and the stories are so sweet and innocent! If you have not read them, you need to find them now!

And the cherry on top? They made "Lost and Found" into a half-hour animated special. As a conclusion to our penguin unit today, we watched it together. It was the cutest thing I have ever seen. I love the little penguin SOOOOO much I need to get one. Like a real one. From the South Pole. Click on the picture below to see the trailer on YouTube.

My students noticed right away things that were different from the book, so we had no problem completing this Venn Diagram together. {Click the picture for your own copy!}

Looking for pictures, I just came across this "How to Draw a Penguin" tutorial by Oliver Jeffers. I'm going to put this in my pocket for next year! {Click the picture to visit the link.}

That's it for now! It's past midnight and I feel the sleepies coming on! Have a FANTASTIC weekend, everyone! :)


  1. wow - thank you for all those resources!! I really like the height comparison...and the quiz cards are a cute idea! thank you :)

    ♥ Jen
    The Teachers' Cauldron

  2. Thank you-- couldn't be better timing. For good behavior, we are erasing one letter from penguins each day. We have 2 letters left! I love your booklet, and thanks for finding the author's how to draw a penguin.

  3. You have some GReAt stuff here. Were starting penguins soon! Thank you :)

    Grade ONEderful

  4. Thanks Amanda, these freebies are sooo cute! Where did you find a copy of the Lost and Found video?

    ✿ Kaleigh
    Kaleigh's Klassroom

  5. Thanks for all the comments! :)

    Kaleigh, the only place I could find the Lost & Found DVD was, but they ship anywhere in the world and with shipping it only came out to about $9 Canadian. Check it out here if you are interested!


  6. Thanks so much for the freebies! I love your stuff! :)

  7. I have already finished my penguin unit, but I printed out your freebies to add to the unit for next year. Thank you! I do have one question, though: do you have a special DVD player to play the Lost and Found video? It says it will only play in a Region 2 DVD player. I wish I could show it to my kiddos next year! Thanks again for sharing your awesome creations!

    1. Hi Carrie, thanks for the message! You know what, I hadn't even thought about the Region 2 aspect of it before! I played the DVD on my computer (because it's hooked up to the projector in my room) and it worked just fine. I did test it out on my DVD player at home just now and it did not work, so if you only have a DVD player this would probably not work for you. My techy boyfriend has told me that if it doesn't work on your computer, you can download a specific "codec" to make your computer play Region 2 discs. I don't know a whole lot about that though! I think I'm just lucky to have a newer computer that plays it ok!

  8. Wow! Love this! Thanks so much! We just got back from winter break and I am excited to do a unit on penguins!

  9. Fabulous resources and ideas! Thank you so much for generously sharing. My first graders are sure to love this unit.

  10. I absolutely love the where penguins live student page and the map. Do you know where I can get that. I think that is just great. I tried the links above but they did not really work. Thank you in advance for any help.
    Great ideas. You are very creative.

    1. Hi Jenni, I'm not sure what the problem is. The links seem to work on my computer. Try going here:
      When the Google Docs page opens, go to file then download. Hopefully this works for you.

  11. I too LOVE the where the penguins live pages...I agree Jenni the links wouldn't work for me either. Any idea where I can find those! Great post...I start my unit tomorrow! So excited! :)