Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Thematic Thursday Brings You Penguin and Arctic Animal Resources

Thematic Thursday is a weekly teacher linky party focused on the sharing of ideas for a different theme each week. This week's theme is "Penguin and Arctic Fun", and bloggers are asked to share their favorite Penguin/Arctic Animal art projects, writing ideas, center activities, and anything related to Penguins and the Arctic.  Please grab the image to the above to use as your post header above, write up your post sharing your ideas, resources, and anything that fits the theme, and link up your blog name and intended grade level for the resources and ideas you share.  (Example-Comprehension Connection-4th and 5th) You may use the planner below (if you like). At this time, I am allowing Penguin Freebies directly linked to stores.  If you'd like to include a paid product, that is fine too, but please do not link up paid products to your store.  Rather, include them in your post. The image to the left can be used to plan out your posts and once completed, works beautifully for pinning. 
This Pinterest board has been formed to collect our planning sheets as well as other themed resources. Feel free to follow it or pin to your own collection.  
I look forward to reading your posts.  Now, on to mine. Click on the image below to open and download the PDF.  You can access all the links to each of the images below in the PDF.  
Check out these Penguin Fact and 
Fiction Books
 This part of the post is linking up with my best blogging buddy, Andrea over at Reading Toward the Stars for her Book Talk Thursday.  As you can see, there are several excellent Penguin themed books.  Of these, my favorites are Tacky for primary and Mr. Popper's Penguins for upper. You see resources for both below.  Andrea's Book Talk Thursday is a great linky for learning about new book ideas and how to use them.  She's been rolling with it now for two years, so there are lots of great book recommendations in her archive!  You can check out her Penguin list [Here]

Eve of the Emperor Penguin by Mary Pope Osborne is a book that I enjoy using with my fourth grade kids this time of year. The Magic Treehouse series are well liked by so many children, and I love the fact that Osborne includes such rich vocabulary and ties in science and social studies content into the books.  This one takes Jack and Annie to the Arctic for lots of frigid adventure.  .

Close Reading Companion: Tacky the PenguinAnother favorite Penguin book of mine is Tacky the Penguin by Helen Lester. This series is just plain fun. Our kindergarten teachers have a whole week devoted to penguins and Tacky is a favorite. His crazy behavior keeps the children engaged, and the story works well with many reading skills. You must check them out if you haven't already. I haven't made anything for Tacky, but Teresa Maguire has with this great Close Reading set, and it's free! The set could be used with the whole group to model skills in K-1, and in small group with 2-3.   

Thematic Unit: Mr. Popper's PenguinsThe final book I wanted to highlight is Mr. Popper's Penguins.  I have enjoyed using this book with fourth and fifth (depending on the reading level of the group).  It is an old classic and since the movie was released, children are now familiar with it.  Every group I've had read it has enjoyed it, and this week, my bloggy buddy, Kim is donating a copy of her unit to go with the book.  You can enter to win it and the other great donations in the Rafflecopter below.
Hands-On Activities for Penguin
There are so many great options for studying penguins and the arctic, but I am going to start out with two set that I've made.  I plan to use them together during the same week and teach my students to make comparisons across multiple texts.  The first is a forever freebie that I shared recently on my Facebook page.  I have purchased a LOT of close reading materials to use with my students, but I've really wanted to make a few of my own.  It will introduce your students to penguin research and help your students learn the routines of close reading.  To access it, just click on the image below.  
The second set is a partner script written for two voices called Penguins on Parade.  It is a fictional story based upon the idea of Tacky.  The main character has all sorts of challenges on the ice, but he overcomes these issues by being a superb swimmer. It would work well if you are trying to teach author's message/theme or character development.  It is not free (but is only $2.50).  It includes supplementary materials for before/during/after reading.
How about a few fun finds from other places?  Here are my favorites. 
Tacky the Penguin! Kids can make a self "tacky" then write on the inseide  Penguin Winter craft and handwriting activity - Tools to Growkids winter crafts
 Winter Literacy Craftivities - provide teachers and students with 3 different fun, yet rigorous, craftivities for Winter.  There is a Comprehension Snowman with questions to fit any text, Penguin Paragraph with 6 different writing prompts, and a Figurative Language Snowglobe. $ Making a Penguin Snow Globe
Now before I sign off and let my bloggy friends add their links, I am going to feature the work from a few friends. I decided to try to use Thematic Thursday as a way to celebrate the friendships I've made through blogging and give back to those who have helped me out along the way.  These sets will be part of a giveaway at the bottom of the post.

Playful Penguins Book and Unit
Playful Penguins book and supplemental activities from Andrea Crawford includes an emergent reader, poetry page, word cards, and several activities to go with them.  Andrea and I have been friends for about ten years now, and you can find her over at Reading Toward the Stars and Adventures in Literacy Land.
Winter Activity Pack using Reading-Writing-MathNext up is this great set of 16 activities for second and third grades from Stacy Pearson at  Teacher's Take-Out. It includes 55 pages of materials for math, reading, and writing including everyone's favorite...task cards.  What fun!  Thanks Stacy for sharing this great set. 

PenguinsAnother great gift from Kelly's Classroom will help your students learn to research.  Kelly's broken the researching process down to help students identify main ideas and details.  Please go back and visit Kelly's blog, Kelly's Classroom, for fabulous thematic ideas with other themes.
Penguin Pals: 1st Grade Math CentersSarah from Learning is for Superstars has donated this set from her TPT Store.  It includes ...SIX... math centers. read that correctly, and I can read your mind.  You just said, "Awesome!" :-)  Sarah is a first grade wonder in a neighboring county to mine, and she's a fellow Virginia blogger.  Thanks so much, Sarah!

Thematic Unit: Mr. Popper's PenguinsI mentioned Kim's donation earlier since it was a book I recommended. This unit includes 140 pages aligned to the Common Core and integrated across the curriculum. This is one thorough unit, and I appreciate Kim's donation.  You can visit her store at Mom2punkerdoo

SOL Train LearningThe last donation is a winner's choice from SOL Train Learning.  Pam's logo comes from an icon in her classroom, Quentin.  Quality Control Quentin is the class watchdog.  I just love this idea, and when Pam and I met for the first time this summer, I was hooked.  I was scheduled to work with kinders this year, and I had Quentin in my plans.  I found the perfect penguin at a craft fair, and sadly, during the first week of school, we had a huge growth in fourth grade.  So my plans were foiled.  So the winner will get a choice of Quentin products from Pam's store.

All of these will be combined with my latest products, Arctic Animal Close Reading sets.
Thank you to all my bloggy buddies who have donated items this week, and I hope our readers return to find great Penguin and Arctic Animal resources today and down road. (Resources will be added all week, so be sure to come back.)
The next Thematic Thursday will be scheduled for January 29th, so mark your calendars! The topic will be Bears and Hibernation!

Thanks so much, and until next time...happy reading.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Mentor Texts that Model and Encourage Goal Setting

As you see, the focus of today's post is on mentor texts.  My bloggy buddy, Emily over at The Reading Tutor/OG chose to focus this week's linky on books that help students with goal setting. and I think it's the perfect choice considering the significance of yesterday, Martin Luther King Jr. Day. What a beautiful example of picking and carrying out a goal!  And because we've just celebrated MLK Jr Day, one book I would recommend is Martin's Big Words.  Martin Luther King Jr. was a brilliant individual driven to improve life for others by leading humbly and peacefully.  Oh if we could undo history!  Instead, we should learn from errors and work together following his example. One way to do this is to share his story.

Another book I enjoy sharing with my students at some point along our journey together is Oh the Places You'll Go by Dr. Seuss. This one has been around a while, but sometimes we need refreshers to remember to pick them up. I think this is a "Planning for Life" book, so perhaps it would tie in nicely with long range plans.

Goal! by Mina Javaherbin may not be widely known.  It is one I picked up last summer at our local, Ollie's store since I had so many boys that love to play soccer.  The cover caught my eye, but the story made me buy it. It is about a time when a young boy from South Africa receives a football as a gift and uses determination to be able to play with his friends in order to forget the fighting that is going on around them.

How about Stand Tall, Molly Lou Mellon?  If you're not familiar with this series, run to the library to check it out.  They are adorable, and perfect for the middle grades. Molly turns her faults into talents and follows her grandmother's advice to, "Sing out clear and strong and the world will cry tears of joy," Her struggle is with a bully, but the key is that she has a problem and develops a plan to work through it. 

The last book is another fairly new one to me, and it too came from my favorite little discount store, Ollie's (I am addicted to the book section. Sh! Don't tell my husband!).  It's a small little book, and it's message is all about pursuing your dreams. 

What are some of your favorite books for this topic?  Share your thoughts in the comments section. I'd love to hear about a few new titles myself.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Close Reading with Arctic Animals

A little over a week ago, I shared this post over at Adventures in Literacy Land, and I thought I'd expand on the topic just a bit by walking through one of my latest products, a Close Reading set about penguins.  This one is an informational text, but really, any type of text can be used.  In fact, since students are less likely to pick up a biography or poetry text, it is wise to explore these genres more.  
I mentioned in my post that Chris Lehman, author of the book, Falling in Love with Close Reading, presented at the Virginia State Reading Association conference which I attended, and his session was jam packed with teachers wanting to know more.  He modeled a Close Reading lesson using a song lyrics, so the presentation was quite engaging and lively.  If you haven't read his book, you can check it out here.  It's a great resource for getting started, especially for the Middle School and High School levels since he gives examples of texts that would be appealing to the "mature" reader.  
The typical Close Reading lesson is divided up into three reading sessions, each digging deeper into the meaning and use of the information in the text.  Chris calls this using different lenses to select specific information you need as a reader.  The initial read scratches the surface and gives the gist of the reading. It familiarizes the student with the actual words on the page and introduces the organization of the text. 
The penguin set I put together includes a prereading activity to build schema and a copy of the article.  I set the article up with plans for my students annotate as they read.  If you notice, the students are given a specific purpose (or reading lens) to use. They are asked to identify the main topics and big ideas.

Now, I just read a blog post a few days ago from Performing in Education that advised calling the note-taking process, "Important Points to Remember" versus "Annotations" because students may get more hung up on the terminology instead of focusing on the task.  I do have to agree that that may be an issue for some, so keep that in mind as you work on annotating.  Certainly, that post is one to save and reread over and over again.  

In the second reading, students begin connecting ideas and focus on using the information they've read.  They're making inferences, comparisons, and thinking about author's message, theme, and ways to use the new information.  They're looking for the text evidence to support their thinking.  

The third reading of the text is used to gather information that will be used in deep discussion or expanded writing.  Students need to see the connection between reading and writing, how writing is organized (structure and purpose), and how we can use what we learn to support our thinking and opinions.  For this Close Read, I asked that students to find adaptations that help protect it from predators and describe what they'd do to protect the penguin, so the reader has to work at the upper level of Blooms to use the information and create something based upon their learning.

Chris makes several other important points in the reading. Students need to be strategic and read with a specific purpose in mind.  They also need to share.  They need to do most of the talking (which I am working hard to learn and practice).  It is a difficult thing to release that role to the students, but it does give the teacher the opportunity to assess understanding.
Remember to use a variety to texts.  I know with my students, 80-90% of their reading is fiction, so using other genres in instruction increases the likelihood that students will select other genres.  Plus, we work with genres differently.  We need to show our students how structures change.  
If your interested in looking at the other Close Reading sets I've completed, here are the preview files. Each is linked to the listing on TPT.  The structure of the sets are like the penguin freebie, but they do include an additional vocabulary page.  I also thought to have students color code information in the second reading, so that's a slight difference.
Let me know if you have any questions.  I hope you'll take the plunge and dive into Close Reading.


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