Sunday, January 29, 2017

Groundhog Day Activities





One thing I just adore about teaching in the primary grades is that we have the ability to expose students to fun themes and holidays throughout the year.  These things are always fun and of high interest to the students.  Even more important though, I really love expanding on these themes and holidays with activities that are jam-packed with learning.  It's a win-win because the kids are working on topics that are fun and interesting, the teachers have fun planning and also get to hit the standards at the same time, and of course administrators are happy that it's not all just fluff.  

When I create a pack, I try to be sure I am including activities that are exciting for the students, but also worth your instructional time.  With this pack I started with some informational reading about these little guys we call groundhogs, or as they will learn are also called woodchucks or whistle-pigs. 


I started including these Fact Cards with real photos in some of my other thematic units like Reindeer and Penguins, and I have gotten tons of comments and feedback from teachers that this was their students' favorite part of these packs!  I have to agree -- my kiddos love it too!  These sheets can be printed off and laminated to show students, or can be projected from your computer so students can read along.  The second option is what I usually do because it offers students a different media to learn from and switches things up a bit.  After reading and learning together, we move on to some comprehension.  I kept the comprehension simple in this pack because I know we don't have all that much time to devote to only groundhogs, but I think you'll find that it is just enough to show students how to gather information from texts.  

The next part is an informational mini-book about the actual day of Groundhog Day.  This is perfect for shared reading and can be followed by buddy reading or independent reading for further practice. 


 Once students are thinking about whether or not the groundhog will see his shadow, we start making our predictions.  I use these chart pieces to create a class graph where students can predict what they think will happen on Groundhog Day.  Then we all fill out a graph to show what the class chose.  I also have the students do a quick writing about their prediction.  I included this writing page, along with two other options without a sentence starter and different writing lines.


Along with the informational reading I do, I always like to tie in some fictional reading as well.  There are some really cute read alouds for Groundhog Day, but my favorite is Go to Sleep, Groundhog! by Lucy Cox.


I made two different sequencing activities to go with this book.  One is a quick picture cut and paste worksheet, and the other is a cute flip book which is also cut and paste with events from the story.  Choose whichever one you have time for and fits your students' abilities.  I also made a blank sequencing flip book that you could use with any groundhog read aloud you choose.


Finally, I like to have some filler activities for these days to use either in centers, for morning work, or just for fun.  I made a couple printables for math and sight words.  I also made a groundhog page topper if you'd like to use it for a bulletin board or it can also be used as a cute hat.  

I can't wait to get started on the Groundhog Day fun tomorrow in my classroom.  If you think you could use some of these activities too you can grab it in my Teachers Pay Teachers Store by clicking on the picture below.  


I don't know about you, but I am ALWAYS hoping Puxsutawney Phil DOES NOT see his shadow so we can have an early spring.  Where I live that really never happens though.  We're happy if it stops snowing by April (sometimes May).  So if you are someplace warm -- send me some of that! :)


Saturday, January 7, 2017

Animals in Winter: Hibernation, Migration, and Adaptation


Hey friends!  Just popping in to tell you about one of my favorite units we do this time of year - Animals in Winter.  It's pretty cold up here in my neck of the woods right now.  So I figure if it has to be sooooo cold outside, we might as well have a little fun with winter inside.    Here is a quick overview of what this unit looks like.  And if you stick around till the end you will find a little FREEBIE too :)  

 First up in this unit is an Informational Mini-Book for shared reading.  There is a color copy for you to use as the teacher and a black and white copy to make for students to have their own.  I packed in a ton of important information in this book so your kiddos will be learning a lot.  Good time for an impromptu observation by your principal.  
Here's what it looks like in action:


Speaking of being observed. . . I'm sure your principals like to see the Common Core standards in action. So I included a bunch of practice to hit those reading for information standards.  You're welcome!

Included in those standards is learning new vocabulary, so that's in there too.  There's pieces to use when teaching the vocabulary and then a student book to fill in.  




Next up - writing.
There's papers for your students to write about what they learned and make their own book.  There's also templates for a class book about what kind of animal your kids would want to be in the winter and why.  


I also wrote a little fact filled song called Winter's Here.  

Finally, I included some center activities and printables to complete this thematic unit.   



 I hope you will find this a useful unit too.  Click on the cover below to check it out on TpT.  


And as I promised - here is a little sampler freebie for you.  To grab this freebie, just click on the picture below.


Thanks for stopping by and joining me for a little cleaning break this weekend.