Thursday, January 22, 2015

Thematic Thursday - Penguins on Parade!

I mean, who doesn't, right?
They're cute.
They make us laugh when they waddle.
What's not to love?

This week's Thematic Thursday Linky is all about PENGUINS!

I'm going to start out by sharing a few of my favorite Penguin books.
(You can grab any of these books by clicking the titles in the widget at the bottom of this post.)

With her trademark directness and simplicity, Gibbons introduces those irresistibly appealing birds, the penguins. As her pen-and-ink and watercolor paintings reveal, these nonflyers share a basic body shape, but lined up alongside each other across the pages, they are seen to possess distinctive feathering that distinguishes the 17 species from each other.

This fun book from Scholastic is chock FULL of information and gorgeous photographs AND comes with an online companion book!
Scholastic Discover More is a revolutionary new nonfiction line pairing stunning print books with corresponding interactive digital books that extend the learning online.

PENGUINS unlocks a free 48-page digital companion book, AMAZING ANTARCTICA, offering even more information, photos, and videos!

Both of these are about the Emperor Penguins and how they care for the egg and young chick.

These offer more stunning photographs and tons of information about these fascinating birds.

If you were a penguin . . .
You could swim really fast and toboggan on ice.
Sing a happy duet, once or twice.
You could live on land but dive under the sea.
There's a lot penguins can do, just like you and me!
Wendell and Florence Minor create a charming tribute to all the playful fun and activity that comes with being a penguin—which young readers can delight in too!  
This fun book would make a great springboard for the kids to write poems about "How to Be a Penguin."

No study of penguins is complete without the fun fictional tale of Tacky the Penguin.  Tacky the Penguin is a total nonconformist who lives with a group of formal, proper penguins. But it is Tacky who foils the plans of three critters with ``get-rich-quick plans'' that threaten the penguins' existence. With his un-penguin-like antics, Tacky puzzles the hunters to such an extent that they're firmly convinced they cannot be in the ``land of the pretty penguins.'' This is a rollicking tale that clearly shows that there are advantages to being an individual.

Here is  a 5-minute video about Penguins.

Here's one from National Geographic Kids on Emperor Penguins.

...and how about some funny Penguin Brain Breaks?

This will have the kids rolling on the floor.

And one final Penguin Song.

How about some fun activities to go along with all this penguin learning?
Isn't that just the cutest? Click here for the directions for this dancing fellow.

Check out these cute displays from

I L♥VE these guys!

This one looks fun for the littler learners.

And I'm in love with this art project from

They are just so bright and cheery!

from Jenny at Art With Jenny K.

For more Penguin themed learning activities, 
check out these fun products from my 

Penguin Pals is an engaging activity incorporating penguins, comics, dialogue, and narrative writing.
It is a huge hit with my kiddos!

The Important Thing About Penguins allows students to use the format from Margaret Wise Brown's The Important Book to demonstrate their learning to create a bulletin board display or class book.

Penguin Acrostics also allow students to showcase their learning in a fun and creative way.

And finally,

In Playful Penguins, students identify sentence types in order to solve penguin riddles or puns.

A couple more Penguin activities for the younger learners include:

from my friend Jennifer at Simply Kinder

WHEW!  That's a LOT of Penguin Fun!

Click on the image below to open and download the PDF.  
You can access all the links to each of the books and ideas in the PDF.  

For these and more penguin ideas, follow my Penguins Pinterest board.
Follow Confessions of aTeaching Junkie's board Penguins on Pinterest.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Need a Good Book to Read?

My name is Teresa and I am a book addict.

How about you?

I just finished reading this wonderful book!

From Amazon...
"Ten years ago, Izzy Stone's mother fatally shot her father while he slept. Devastated by her mother's apparent insanity, Izzy, now seventeen, refuses to visit her in prison. But her new foster parents, employees at the local museum, have enlisted Izzy's help in cataloguing items at a long-shuttered state asylum. There, amid piles of abandoned belongings, Izzy discovers a stack of unopened letters, a decades-old journal, and a window into her own past. Clara Cartwright, eighteen years old in 1929, is caught between her overbearing parents and her love for an Italian immigrant. Furious when she rejects an arranged marriage, Clara's father sends her to a genteel home for nervous invalids. But when his fortune is lost in the stock market crash, he can no longer afford her care - and Clara is committed to the public asylum. Even as Izzy deals with the challenges of yet another new beginning, Clara's story keeps drawing her into the past. If Clara was never really mentally ill, could something else explain her own mother's violent act? Piecing together Clara's fate compels Izzy to re-examine her own choices - with shocking and unexpected results."

It was a "can't put it down" kind of book!
I was so totally engrossed in the story.
Even better, I was listening to it on Audible.
I love listening to books while I am at the gym and driving around in the car.

You definitely want to check this one out!

I thought I would start a new Linky where we could all share our favorite reads.  Grab the linky button below and share your favorite good reads! Please link up with the cover of the book you are sharing.  Then check out the other good reads and spread a little love of your own.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Positive Thinking and Thematic Thursday

Today's theme is all about winter and SNOW!

Fortunately, here where I live, we don't usually get snow,
and although we have a few cold days,
it isn't REALLY cold.

A couple years ago we did get a bit of snow though!

This was at my husband's office.

But I do love teaching about winter and snow.  Some of my kiddos here have never actually even seen snow, let alone playing in it or living in it.

Helping them experience it, even virtually, is a lot of fun,
(and a heck of a lot warmer!)

To that end, I am linking up with some friends to share some of my favorite wintery resources.
There may even be a freebie in it for you.

There are many wonderful winter picture books out there, but I'll share just a few of my favorites.


In The Snowy Day, a 1963 Caldecott Medal winner, Peter wakes up to discover that snow has fallen during the night.  The story takes us through his adventures with the snow.  It is one of my all-time favorites!
According to Aamzon, "The book is notable not only for its lovely artwork and tone, but also for its importance as a trailblazer. According to Horn Book magazine, The Snowy Day was "the very first full-color picture book to feature a small black hero"--yet another reason to add this classic to your shelves. It's as unique and special as a snowflake."

There are many versions of the The Mitten, but Jan Brett's is my favorite, and no classroom library is complete with out it.  The book lends itself perfectly to sequencing activities and retelling with props.

Have you ever wondered what happens to snowmen at night while your're sleeping?
Have you come out in the morning to find your snowman is not quite as you left him the night before?
This fun and fanciful tale reveals some amusing details about the antic of snowmen at night.  It is a great springboard for imaginative artwork, narratives, and winter poetry!

My all-time favorite winter picture book is

A wordless tale about a boy and the snowman that comes alive in his dreams.

The pictures and soft and gentle and leave me with warm fuzzy feelings.  I was so excited when I discovered the video that goes along with the book, also wordless.  My kiddos have loved watching the video, and then afterwards I have them write and illustrate their own versions of the story.

There are also tons of great non-fiction books for a winter study.

Snowflake Bentley is one of the best!
"Of all the forms of water the tiny six-pointed crystals of ice called snow are incomparably the most beautiful and varied." -- Wilson Bentley (1865-1931)
From the time he was a small boy in Vermont, Wilson Bentley saw snowflakes as small miracles. And he determined that one day his camera would capture for others the wonder of the tiny crystal. Bentley's enthusiasm for photographing snowflakes was often misunderstood in his time, but his patience and determination revealed two important truths: no two snowflakes are alike; and each one is startlingly beautiful. His story is gracefully told and brought to life in lovely woodcuts, giving children insight into a soul who had not only a scientist's vision and perseverance but a clear passion for the wonders of nature. Snowflake Bentley won the 1999 Caldecott Medal.

Before a snowflake melts on your tongue, it makes an epic journey. This is the beautiful, full-color story of that journey, step by step, from a single snowflake’s creation in the clouds, through its fall to earth, to its brief and sparkling appearance on a child’s mitten. Told by a scientist who knows snowflakes better than almost anyone, the story features his brilliant photographs of real snowflakes, snowflakes forming (in the author’s lab), water evaporating, clouds developing, ice crystals, rain, dew, and frost--all the elements of the world and weather that add up, flake by flake, to the white landscape of winter. Aimed at readers from 6 to 12, The Secret Life of a Snowflake gets to the heart of one of nature’s most magical phenomena while making the wonder of the snowflake all the more real.

How do snow crystals form? What shapes can they take? Are no two snow crystals alike? These questions and more are answered in this visually stunning exploration of the science of snow. Perfect for reading on winter days, the book features photos of real snow crystals in their beautiful diversity. It even includes instructions for catching snowflakes!

Winter is also a great time to teach some life science about animals in winter and hibernation.  This is always a favorite with the kids!  here are a few of my favorites for teaching about animals and hibernation.

You can grab any of these books by click on the links at the bottom of this post.

After reading all these great books, what can you DO with them?

Here are some fun ideas...


Using equal parts boiling water and Epsom Salts, make a saturated solution and let cool.

Have kids draw and color winter scenes on dark blue or black paper
and the paint liberally with the cooled solution.

When the "paint" dries, it crystallizes and creates an icy look.

I found good directions for this activity here.

Another fun activity from Steve Spangler Science is to make borax snowflakes.

They turn out so beautiful!  Hang them in the windows and they sparkle!
You can find directions here.

For some online fun, check out these snowflake activities.
Click on the images to go to the sites and have some fun!

For some more online fun check out this list from

I have created this fun estimation freebie for you.  It has been a very popular activity with my students.
Click on the image to grab yours.

Click on the image below to open and download the PDF.  
You can access all the links to each of the books and ideas in the PDF.  

To check out even more wintery ideas head on over to the Pinterest Board.

I am also giving away a brand new copy of my favorite winter book.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
I am going to leave you with my thought for

which is also in keeping with my theme...

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

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