Back to School in January! PENGUIN WEEK!


Cute Footprint Art Penguins! Just use wiggly eyes and paint on all the rest! 

I got this cute idea to do footprint penguins from Fun Handprint Art’s blog.  I thought we could do it in January right when we get back from our Christmas break.  Her link is HERE for Penguin Footprint Art.
I like to get something up on the bulletin board the day we get back too, so these would be great; a FAMILY of PENGUINS! 

I thought since Mr. Popper’s Penguins came out and it will probably be in video by January, we should do a fun unit on it.  I read it to my class last year and since I am looping and teaching them again this year in 2nd grade we could go from where we left off.

A cute Penguin Fill-in-the-blanks worksheet is HERE at TLS Books.  And some cute writing paper shaped like a Penguin and a cute Penguin Title Page for a story or report with the same shape can be found HERE at A to Z Teacher’s Stuff Penguin and Polar Bears Printables. I LOVE that website. It is probably the first one I ever used as a teacher.  Another good one if you want to do little mini research reports is Enchanted Learning for Penguin theme.  They have so many resources and some are free.

Some Fun Penguin Books for the COOL PENGUIN UNIT!

  • Your Personal Penguin by Sandra Boynton
  • Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard Atwater
  • Cinderella Penguin: Little Glass Flipper by Janet Perlman
  • The Penguin and the Pea by Janet Perlman
  • The Emperor Penguin’s New Clothes by Janet Perlman
  • Little Penguin’s Tale by Audrey Wood
  • The Penguin and the Pea by Janet Perlman
  • Antartic Antics: A Book pf Penguin Poems> by Judy Sierra
    I will have the kids do Penguin research reports. They check out books from the library on penguins first. Then they copy off some facts that they think are interesting about the penguin. Then they get in cooperative groups and share some facts with some other student in their group and discuss what they found out.  Then they can add some new facts to their own reports from a friend.

    Lastly we will paint our penguins.  Last year I had them write penguin stories with a little problem and a solution and a setting which was a city and state in the U.S.A.  They were really pretty hysterical.  We had Katie Perry the Rock Star Penguin falling off the stage!  So Cute!

    Here are some funny Penguin Stories we did last year and the funny tear art penguins that went along with them. 

    To check out how we did these darling Penguin Stories and the Tear Art LINK HERE to Patties Classroom. We did some CUUUUUUUUTE STUFF last year too!

    We brainstormed Penguin facts on this giant penguin to keep up all during the unit. 

    This is a fantastic strategy for getting kids to learn facts from your unit.  Keep a big visual aid up the whole unit long in the shape of what you are studying and keep adding facts you learn from literature, magazines like Scholastic News or Weekly Readers, and any activities or experiments you do in the unit.


    Penguin Bowling is a fun game I found online. The link and directions for Penguin Bowling in math is HERE at Mathwire! They also had a Capture the Penguins game that looks similar to Battleship. My students would LOVE both of these games! I would not LOVE making all those penguins though. So maybe some out of lima beans spray painted black with a white belly and face.  I’ll have to see what I can come up with.


    These penguins were made from clothespins on a doll stand…SO CUTE!


    Since I like to teach thematically I will have the kids play a math problem solving called “Pascal’s Penguins. The Link to Pascal’s Penguin Problem Solving is HERE.  This is perfect for my kids, but if it is too challenging independently it sure would be a good whole class problem solving to introduce daily math. Lots of kids could figure it out if you give the proper directions. 

    Language Arts & Character Education
    This is my all-time favorite book. I don’t know why but I think it is cute, hilarious, sends an important message to kids against bullying the one who is different, and also, Tacky turns out to be the HERO when he saves the day.  I like happy endings, what can I say. 

    So I found a reader’s theater we could read, since we did the story last year.  This year we will do the play. I’m sure the kids’ expression and fluency has improved over the year too and should be a fun play we could put on for the other classes. A link for the free Tacky the Penguin Reader’s Theater is HERE at Reading Lady.

    You could also do a 2nd relay race with tiny plastic Easter Eggs…(penguin eggs) on spoons….

    P.E. Penguin Relay Races!!!
    These are super fun to watch AND to play. You need a nerf type ball for each relay team. 
    Divide kids into two teams. Have players put a ball (penguin egg) between their knees and “waddle” to a finish line. Carry ball back to teammate next in line who in turn waddles down. If ball is dropped, they must return to start and begin waddling again. Winning penguins are those that waddle fastest without dropping their “egg”

    Another fun one is Duck Duck Goose only with Penguin Penguin Polar Bear!

    This cute art project from a black potato print is from


     And lastly, how about a game of Penguin HOPPERS? Similar to Hopscotch, you tape some paper rocks to the gym floor in a sequence with a little space between, just enough for hopping.  The children throw a fish bean bag and then hop on 1 foot across the rocks to “catch” the fish. Then hop back and the next person goes.  You can write different points on each rock to make it more competitive to see who can score the highest after 4 rounds.  I usually do this in teams of 4 so everybody gets multiple turns.

     Or they can go in a circle around the gym (more rocks needed) by throwing their fish…hopping to get it….throwing again…tallying their points.  That way the class can watch 3 or 4 kids going around the circle at staggered times. You could do it with carpet squares too, which might make it easier on teacher! 😀
    OR if you have the funds you can purchase a Penguin Hopscotch rug. It looks like it would be fun for indoor games for $40.00 bucks…..not cheap….but lots of fun!

    I don’t know why all primary grade teachers love penguins so much. Maybe it is because the art projects in black and white always turn out sooooo cute! Maybe it is because they are so interesting and unusual animals…..and the kids are very inquisitive and intrigued by them. Whatever the reason, kids are always engaged in learning more about them!

    It should be a fun week back from holiday!

    Christmas Sled Ornaments and Parent Cards

    Kids Christmas Cards 2011

    One more project I want to share that we did in December were Parent cards and letters (and a cute parent gift too).  We started out by writing letters to parents telling how “good we have been” and also asking for a few things, and not forgetting to thank mom and dad for all they do too! 
    Christmas Letters to Parents

     I didn’t take very many pictures because this project was sooooooo messsssssyyyyyy. I was just doing good to not end the day with Karo syrup all over everything and everybody.   So I snapped the first few that were finished with their letters.  I edited them and they chose some cute paper to write on, I had about 8 styles to choose from that I have been collecting for years.

    Then the painting commenced!  Here are a few of the first few that were done… pretty! 
    Then we let them dry over the weekend.  Some weren’t dry yet even after 4 days…..note to self….be sure the painting is done kind of thinly next year!  
    So messy but so pretty too! 

    Then we left them out to dry from Thursday to Monday…
    Bright NEON food coloring works best….I’ve tried regular colors and they turn out too dark! 

    These colorful paintings are made with Karo syrup and food coloring.  I just put a cup of Karo syrup in a paper cup and dropped in the food coloring (I chose NEON colors, they are a lot brighter for art projects). Then the kids painted them on some thin, shiny, poster type paper we had in our closet. 

    Karo syrup and food coloring make for some colorful paint!

     Then we topped each dried painting with a “stained glass window” looking black outline. They were hard to cut out!  I did half of them and my wonderful parent helper Mrs. Kenner took the rest home and did them for me with Xacto Knife. It is tedious work!  Thanks so much! 

    All the Stained glass windows look so different….

    But they all were very beautiful…..
    We backed them with yellow paper and a tag that said Merry Christmas 2011

     Here we are BEFORE the tops are put on…..Already they are so proud of their creations….

     Then we made our Popsicle stick sleds…painted them red…..added our pictures to them…. and our name and the year we made them….then we glue gunned a hanger on them…..I didn’t take any pictures of how cute they were….but trust me…they were super cute.

    Popsicle Stick Sleds…. Sorry I didn’t snap a picture of a finished one…..

    Then we wrapped up our gifts to our parents in tissue paper and yarn ribbons….and stapled our letter inside of our pretty cards.   Then we all couldn’t wait to show mom and dad.  

    Painted Christmas Cards for Parents

    They were beautiful works of art!   We hope everybody loved them!  I know the kids were proud of them. 

    Our parent Cards…..
    I hope everybody had a wonderful Christmas!  Best wishes for a happy New Year too! 

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    Christmas Snowmen Ornaments

    We had fun making our parent gifts this week. Here was one we did last year. But since I had the same class this year (moved up to 2nd grade) I couldn’t do that again.  But Here is last year’s post.

     We made white acrylic handprints on blue glass ball ornaments. The white handprints turn out to look like 5 little fat snowmen for the kids to then decorate with “painty” markers. Here is a sample that we just did today. Here are the steps….

    1. Start with blue glass ornaments (any shade) and have your child paint his own hand white with acrylic paint
       (I usually go over it once with a paintbrush. Then set the ornament in their hand and they press lightly.
    2. Fill in the missing parts of the hand with a small paintbrush. Let dry 15 minutes or so. Wash hands.

    3. Adults use a  BLACK paint marker and put 2 dot eyes and 4-5 dots for smile on each snowman. and put  2 “twig” arms on either side using BROWN, and a triange shaped carrot nose in ORANGE.

    4. Give students markers to make button dots down the front of snowman, a scarf around his neck kind of flying out in the wind, and some kind of hat. Kids can choose black tophat or red, green, blue or yellow Santa hat using a triangle shape with a white ball on the tip top.

    5. Adult write child’s name in white painty marker and year somewhere at top of scene when it is dry.

    6. Add a blue or silver ribbon and this poem on cute blue paper with a hole punched in a corner.  Wrap it up with tissue paper and ribbons or do what I do and use brown paper bags with a handmade reindeer on top.

    The kids love to do this craft and it always turns out so cute. Parents have come back and told me it was the cutest ornament they’ve ever had.

    The kids in my class then get a lesson in “giftwrapping” and we use school tissue paper and yarn and wrap these darling ornaments up for mom, topped of course by a wonderful handmade card.

    Last year I had the kids do a handprint card which turns out to look like Santa Claus.  I paint their palm in peach paint and red and the fingers in white. Then when it dries I have them use their pointer finger and make white dots on the peach for the mustache and pom pom dots on the red hat and along the bottom of the hat too.  Then we use glitter glue for eyes and nose (I do this after school and add a few glitter stars around the card) and we attach the “All We Want for Christmas” to the front.

    Then I give kids different types of cute stationery to write on and we go through the whole writing process doing a brainstorm of ideas on the board, “sloppy copy” on newsprint, and then I edit for spelling and we rewrite on the nice colored paper. Here’s what they look like all done.  Very fun writing activity with a little art sprinkled in!  Hope mom’s love this!

    Holiday Traditions Reports and Cookie Decorating

    Very excited before we get up to sing for the school….We sang a duet
    2 classes singing Dashing Through the Snow and our class and Stockett’s singing
    “Snowflakes Falling All Over Town….it turned out really good.  We had a few bell ringers too. 

    The kids getting a little tired at the end of watching grades K -6 sing for us….

    Hey Santa! How did you like our singing? Mr. Schofield, our principal is introducing him….

    Bags of classroom candy canes from Santa being rolled in by a helper!  

    Then we shared our oral/written reports on Family Holiday Traditions….Gavin shared a sucker with each of us! 

    They all used the microphone and shared a visual aid too….

    Everybody really liked Nova’s Santa Key…they wanted one too!  

    Here we are decorating our Gingerbread men cookies on Wednesday….

    We got lots of candy donated from parents…thanks mom and dad! 
    Thanks Addie’s mom and grandma for providing all the icings….

    Ty’s mom and little brothers came too…..

    And Zach’s mom came and provided all our sugar cookies and gingerbread men! Thanks so much! 

    The kids are proud of their creations….

    We had 5 of these bowls filled up with a variety of candy! Do you think  the students were high as kites
    by the end of the day? Oh yes. Note to self….decorate cookies with candy at day’s end in future…mmmhmmmm….

    Then we shared our reports on holiday traditions…We wrote reports and had to have visual aids…
    Zach’s family drives around in a convoy of cars with walkie talkies looking for the best decorated
    house in the neighborhood to give a reward to…what fun that must be! 

    Morgan shared yummy cake balls with the class that her family makes every year…
    red velvet with cream cheese! Oh yum they were good! Thanks Morgan’s mom for making them! We loved them! 

    Saige brought in 24 candy bars and taught us the candy bar game her family plays.
    You roll dice and if you get 7, 11 or doubles you get a candy bar. Then when they are
    all taken you can steal from others in your family. We played it and all were laughing!
    And all got a candy bar…Very fun. 

    Matt and others shared how their family goes skiing or do winter sports. His family goes
    snow shoeing. He had to teach the kids what snow shoeing was. Very neat. 

    Peter shared some Korean food traditions his family has. One was these
    rice cakes shaped like Twinkies. He shared one with everybody so we could taste them.
    They were gobbled up! 

    Many shared ornaments and how they decorate for Christmas.
    Addie’s family always make handmade ornaments. Here is one she
    shared with us. 

    Just one of the many written or typed up oral reports…Great job everybody! 

    Peter’s rice cakes It was fun to see a Korean tradition….

    Gavin’s ornaments…they only use silver ones at his house…These traditions
    stay with your kids as they leave your house and are more important than
    you think as you are raising them.   I know….mine all have adopted some of mine and added their own….

    One of my favorites was Ty’s family tradition where they all have individual  hot cocoa
    mugs they only take out of boxes at the holidays. It must be very fun to get them out
    each year and have a treat together as a family.
    We loved hearing how you all celebrate in different and diverse ways.  I may
    have to copy a few of these…they all were wonderful!

    Happy Holidays Everyone! I’ll do one more post next week on our parent cards we wrote…. 

    Reindeer Paper Craft

    Here is our cute “red nosed reindeer” and “Favorite Things” winter writing.

    The faces are just a square of brown paper rolled into a cone…red glitter glue added on to the noses…

    We made black traced “hands” for the antlers and 2 holly leaves with red berries, white eyes and cute eyelashes in black.  Then we added a red nose with red glitter glue. Wa LA!

    My favorite things about Winter….. they loved hot chocolate… what’s not to love?

    And snowmen……and gingerbread houses……Yeah….those are all great! 

    Santa  is great as well as all his elves…

    Cute little Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer! 

    And the Utahns like skiing of course….

    Snow Forts are always good….

    Ya Better Watch Out…Ya better not cry….Oh no that’s another song… oops…

    You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer…did you know those were girl names? Heard that on Good Morning America today!  Learn something new from a morning news show….something I’d never have thought! 

    Being together as a family….I love that too!  Good job everybody!  

    Gotta love this one….”Spectacular snow shoveling?” He’s a mother’s dream, right? 

    And the kids all love those snowball fights…..probably cuz they aren’t allowed at school….snicker….

    We also made glittery poinsettias….

    The fringed eyelashes were just squares of black with lots of scissor snips….

    Happy Holidays Everybody! 

    Let’s go hit the slopes!   We got new skis too!  WOo HoO!  

              We’ve got one more day of school and then 2 weeks off for Winter Break….well….I HAD to tell MY favorite thing about Winter!  Snicker…..See you on the slopes!

    Amphibian Reports

    We made some cute FROG FACTS books a week ago in science.  We all got amphibian books from the library and made a giant list of Froggie Facts.

    A poem we sang to “Jimmy Crack Corn” tune…
    Fabulous Frogs Floor Puzzle at Littleowl


    These kinds of things can be bought and used for counters at center math games during your frog study week. I often times will pull out math generic games and have frogs as counters. Or the above puzzle as a fast finisher activity. The kids love enrichment like this

    Froggy Fact Books with cute art to go on the cover.  

    Inside is all of the facts the kids came up with from all the books and Scholastic News we read. 
    Finished bulletin board of our Frog Fact Books! 

    Microscope slides of amphibians and life cycles. It is a really fun mini unit to do along with the Reading Streets story A Froggy Fable. 

    Insect Reports

    We’ve been working in science on learning about the Animal Kingdom.  Half of my class I had last year. So we reported on all of the animal families; mammals, reptiles, birds, ocean animals. So this year I thought we could cover amphibians and insects. So we’ve been busy doing reports on frogs and insects.

    Here are the highlights of the insect reports…..

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    Insects line the walls outside our classroom….

    Dragonflies of all sorts..

    Caterpillar….molting into a butterfly….
    Plastic insects at the Science Center….

    Along with the microscope slides of insect metamorphosis…

    Insect cards at a the Science center…..

    Butterflies of all kinds…..
    Really colorful butterfly here…..
    Ladybugs, and bees….
    Cute speech bubble on this honeybee….buzzzzz……

    cool grasshoppers….

    Lots of kids wrote about Monarch Butterflies…
    We learned about dragonflies and grasshoppers! 

    We actually caught a few grasshoppers and had them as class pets a month ago….

    It’s been fun to learn about INSECTS! 

    There are a gazillion different types of insects for us to study…we had to narrow it down to just a few….

    Here’s Some cool grasshopper life cycles and we labeled the body parts….

    Diagrams and Crossword Puzzles

    Insect Reports and Life Cycles

    This is a gifted artist…yeah….

    Really nice job on this ladybug!  I loved the background too….

    Pretty Butterfly too….

    Such a beautiful Dragonfly!  

    Sloppy copies were edited and final copies were written…

     The kids did a really nice job on their insect reports. I loved them all….I especially loved the illustrations. I can’t help myself! I’m an art minor!  What are you gonna do, ya know? 

    Very nice writing!  

    And some neat handwriting too!  

    This is Matt’s flea illustration. Isn’t it cute? I don’t know what it is sitting on though?

    We made a few life cycles too….did you know the dragonfly starts out underwater? Yeah.  It’s a cool metamorphosis!  
    Hope you enjoyed our INSECT DISPLAYS…..

    Next we will post our Amphibian Reports….they are all done too.
    And lastly we will do ocean animals for those new kids in my class who didn’t do it last year. 


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    We did a lot of things the week before Turkey Day that I did not post. So I’m playing catch up! We did crossword puzzles, we played Bingo, we read lots of books on the Mayflower, Pilgrims and Indians. And we wrote all about it.

    We made Squanto and Samoset and “became” an Indian boy or girl and wrote about their lives
    during the time of the Mayflower and the First Thanksgiving…
    When you open the Indian’ “buffalo skin coat” here is what one student wrote…

    LINK HERE  for a cute Turkey Crossword Puzzle.
    Another crossword puzzle is HERE at Sunday School Kids.

    May your stuffing be tasty
    May your turkey plump,
    May your potatoes and gravy
    Have nary a lump.
    May your yams be delicious
    And your pies take the prize,
    And may your Thanksgiving dinner
    Stay off your thighs!
    ~Author Unknown

    We never had time to do these cute pilgrims and Indians…we made some others…instead… 

    Here at Phillyfun4kids  is a cute craft for kids using paper towel and toilet paper rolls.  A utube for directions on the roll “village people” is

    We also made these cute turkeys out of butcher paper loops…

    And we wrote about what we are Thankful For….lots of kids were thankful for Turkey Dinners! 

    Tune: Did You Ever See a Lassie
    I’m glad I’m not a turkey, a turkey, a turkey
    I’m glad I’m not a turkey on Thanksgiving Day.
    They’ll cook you and baste you
    And then they’ll all taste you!
    I’m glad I’m not a turkey on Thanksgiving Day!

    Darling turkeys (in disguise) made by some of my 3rd grade former students…..

    Can you tell these are Pirate turkeys?  So CUTE! They are in disguise so they won’t be EATEN! 

    Albuquerque, he’s my turkey- Anonymous
    (Sung to the tune of ‘Clementine’)

    Albuquerque he’s my turkey
    Oh he’s feathered and he’s fine
    He wobbles and he gobbles
    And I’m awfully glad he’s mine.
    He’s the best pet
    You could ever get.

    Better than a dog or cat.
    Albuquerque he’s my turkey
    And I’m awfully glad of that.
    Albuquerque he’s my turkey
    He’s so cozy in his bed
    Because for Thanksgiving dinner
    We had scrambled eggs instead.

    HERE at Family Fun.  is the link to make this cute pilgrim.  It is made with toilet paper rolls too.

    We had fun playing Thanksgiving Bingo with our class after we had written down things we were Thankful for.  I hope everyone had a fun time on their family’s Turkey Day.  Soon I’ll some journal entries we did Today called our Thanksgiving Weekend News. In the meantime, we did a weekly graph asking this question; What is your VERY FAVORITE Thanksgiving Food.  Guess which one was the winner?
    I’ll post the pictures of our graph and the answer tomorrow.

    HERE is a cute BINGO  game from Family Fun that is FREE and downloadable.