Precious Penguin Book and More…

Yep, I know it is summer, but I’ve got penguins on my mind, and here is why: Don’t you hate it when you find a great idea or book after you’ve already taught a particular unit/subject? I’m always finding myself thinking, “Oh man, I wish I would have…” So here is a new find I wish I would have known about… In second grade, I LOVED teaching about the ways that emperor penguins care for their young. Absolutely fascinating. This was one of my favorite books to use, although I talked so much that it took my class 3 sittings to finish. It describes the life of a penguin extremely well.

Now, I’ve found another BEAUTIFUL, poetic, sweet, lovely book! The text is actually a song that can be sung or read as poetry. I really really wished that I would have used it!

Isn’t this cover sweet?

I will miss teaching about penguins when I move up to fifth grade, but at least I got to do one of my favorite penguin activities: The Blubber Glove!! Have you ever done this activity? It is PERFECT for any arctic/tundra unit. You make a glove of crisco/lard and have students put one hand inside. Students put both hands in a bucket of ice-water. They quickly find that the hand in the blubber glove stays warm, while their other hand can only stay in the water for a few seconds before getting too cold!

Instead of gloves, I used bags. I put a few cups of crisco in one gallon sized bag. Then, I placed another bag within that bag and rolled the tops over. I taped the tops together, sealing the crisco in the first bag. That way, their hands are surrounded with the crisco, but they do not actually have to get any crisco on their hand. 20+ little hands covered in lard = HUGE mess. The kids LOVED this…

Great memories!


Oil Spill Simulation

I spent the first four weeks of my summer working at a summer program at school. The students did different types of learning based projects. One of the groups I worked with studied water pollution so they could create their own PSAs to promote awareness. I went on a hunt for activities to help them learn more about water pollution, and I found a wonderful activity from the Australian Government’s Marine/Maritime website. I have since seen it on a few other websites, but this link has the directions I followed.

The directions are very detailed, but basically you put water and food coloring in a clear dish. Then, you make “crude oil” using cocoa powder and vegetable oil and add it to the water. (Bonus-this teaches about oil and water, too!) Items such as feathers can be added to the polluted water to show students what it is like for birds in the water. Then, you experiment with different sorbents and methods of cleaning up oil spills. It was a wonderful way to show students the effects of an oil spill and the difficulty involved in cleaning up a massive oil spill.

Oil on top of the water…

Testing sorbents…

After the dish soap has been added…

Favorite Smartboard Programs

I love using the Smartexchange to find new Smartboard programs to use in different subjects, so I thought I would share a view of my favorites. Thoughts of a Third Grade Teacher is having a linky party for favorite smartboard programs. Here are mine:

I love the “Daily Calendar Math” program. While I rarely used the calendar, I LOVED having all the different math review activities in one spot such as the money, place value and the interactive hundred chart.

Here is a super simple program entitled “graphs.” This was actually one of the very first programs I used to get my second graders used to dragging objects on the Smartboard. It is also a great way to introduce graphing to young students. At the summer program I worked at, I even used it with Kindergarten students.

This program is one of my very favorites! It teaches about stars and constellations, and then student’s can build their own constellations! Kids love it!

These next two are examples of the many pre-made programs from Smartboard that you can find on the Smartexchange. They are super well-done and have fantastic visuals and sorting activities.

I love using my Smartboard as a word work choice for Daily 5. Usually I pair up my students and let them take turns on the board, so that each student can use it at least once or twice a week. There are so many wonderful wordwork/word sort type programs on the Smartexchange. This is just one example:

Last but not least, Smartexchange offers some wonderful templates for games so that you can add in your own information.