Monday, January 16, 2012

Happy Blog-Birthday to Kathy at First Grade a la Carte!

Please be sure to stop by Kathy's blog and wish her a very Happy Blog-Birthday! While you're there be sure to enter her amazing giveaway!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

This is winter? And a Freebie!

This is a strange, strange winter.  It was 60 degrees and sunny here today.  Very unusual for January in upstate NY! I'm not complaining, but my thoughts still go to the typical January themes and topics.  So...onto one of my favorite picture storybooks: Pierre the Penguin, by Jean Marzollo. I had the pleasure of meeting Jean Marzollo last year when she visited our school for an author visit.  So, I am the proud owner of an autographed copy of Pierre the Penguin.  If you're unfamiliar with the story of Pierre, here's a snipit from Amazon, School Library Journal: Pierre the penguin lives at the California Academy of Sciences. Being an African penguin, he prefers warmer climates. For some reason (it's not clear why), he loses his feathers and thus will not swim because he is too cold. In addition, the other penguins are afraid of him and bray at him. Pam, his caring handler, designs a neoprene wetsuit that keeps him warm when swimming. Over time, his feathers grow back, and the story ends with Pierre making a “nest for his very best friend".  
I read the story to my first graders, stopping on the page where Pam the aquatic biologist is walking her dog and comes up with a way to help Pierre.  Her idea is to have a wet suit made for Pierre, but I stop reading before that point, and have my first graders brain storm a way to help Pierre.  I give them this cute little penguin writing paper and have them write their ideas.  They are so precious.  Their ideas range from giving Pierre new feathers to buying him a sweater.  This activity always makes me smile.  After they've had a chance to write their ideas I read the rest of the story for the students to enjoy.  

Pierre the Penguin 1

Although this is an extremely mild winter, January is typically filled with winter themes like snow, snowmen, and Arctic animals, so in that tradition, you can find some super fun new games in my TpT store for practice with nonsense word fluency, sight word recognition, and Dolch sight word phrases.  Check them out. 

Available in 5 different levels: pre-primer, primer, 1st grade, 2nd grade, and 3rd grade.