Posts made in July, 2013

Penguin Freebie for You

Posted by on Jul 15, 2013 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

“the answer to every problem involved penguins”
― Rick Riordan, The Throne of Fire


It has been an exciting weekend for me with my first Rafflecopter Giveaway and my Sunday Fabulous Flash Freebies. I have gained quite a few followers on Facebook and at my TpT store. I even have a few new followers on my blog. I’d love more! (I should have a Bloglovin’ button soon!!!)

Penguin Birthday Chart Freebie

To thank you I am posting a brand new freebie. It is a penguin birthday chart. It has the same black/white/red as my other new penguin decor. I am also making a Penguins Custom Category at TpT for those who want to view the whole collection. I can’t wait to put up all of new decor and to take pictures of my classroom.

Hope you like the birthday chart. You still have a few hours to get in on the Penguin giveaway.


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It’s That Time Again!

Posted by on Jul 14, 2013 in Uncategorized | 13 comments

Are you ready for some fun! There will be flash freebies throughout the day today on my Facebook page! Just hit the penguin on the poster to find the page! I hope you catch some freebies.

Today (apparently) is the last chance to sign up for my Penguin Giveaway! I meant it to have one more day, but can’t read time correctly on the Rafflecopter, I guess!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Next Sunday (gasp!) I will not have access to a computer throughout the day so there will not be a Flash Freebie Sunday! It will return the next week!


Flash Freebie Sundays


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Penguin $25 Giveaway Is Underway!

Posted by on Jul 12, 2013 in Uncategorized | 12 comments

It’s practically impossible to look at a penguin and feel angry.
– Joe Moore

If you haven’t had a chance to enter my giveaway yet, even if you don’t love penguins, please do so! You can pick $25.oo worth of any products in my TpT store.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Where did this obsession with penguins start?

Well, it started probably about 25 years ago with my Polar Unit. At that time (before state testing took over my life) my year consisted of 9 – 10 units centered around a piece of literature. Each unit reached into every subject area and was integrated throughout the day and month. Some of the units were: Growing Up, Famous Faces, Christmas around the World, Polar, Rain Forest, Dinosaurs, Space, and Our Changing Future. By far, the favorite unit of each and every class of third graders was the Polar unit, in main part, because they loved Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater.

Mr. Popper’s Penguins offers so many opportunities for vocabulary development, writing, map studies, higher order thinking, etc. In addition to that, we read non-fiction texts, we compared the Arctic with the Antarctic. We learned about the Inuit culture. One of my biggest goals was that no child left my room thinking that polar bears and penguins ever saw each other in their natural habitats.

Every year former students would come back and the first question they asked was, “Are you still reading Mr. Popper?” I started collecting penguin books and expanding the unit. Our class rookery started to grow, too. If there was a Beanie Baby penguin available someone would buy it for me.

I read Mr. Popper’s Penguins aloud to this year’s class. We did not do any of the companion activities – no time; testing takes precedent. They were a little confused at first by the movie version, but they quickly loved the book the same as every group.

Here is a (not very good) picture of part of my rookery.

Class Rookery


Tacky the Penguin by Helen Lester has become an important component of my penguin theme. Tacky, after all, is an odd bird, but a very good bird to have around. We read  Tacky in the first week of school, usually on the first day. I talk openly about what makes me an odd bird; my prosthetic leg and so many other things. We discuss differences. This starts the year with a caring, welcoming, accepting atmosphere. Plus, of course, Tacky is, well, tacky, completely unlike their seemingly dignified teacher and the read aloud is hilarious!

Here is a fun thinking activity.

Which of the following could you use on a summer vacation to Antarctica:

A bathing suit*, an umbrella, snowshoes, a compass, an Inuit/English dictionary, a Spanish/English dictionary*, a sundial, insect repellent*, a guidebook called How to Avoid Trouble with Polar Bears, a star chart*

* These are the ones that may be helpful on your trip!


My sister-in-law painted this rock for me. I thought I’d share.

Penguin closeup


Are you an odd bird in any way?


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A Penguin Party Is Coming!

Posted by on Jul 10, 2013 in Uncategorized | 28 comments

Starting Thursday morning I will be having a Penguin Party Giveaway to celebrate my newly redesigned blog! Enter to win!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Penguin Party Giveaway




I will announce the winner early on Tuesday morning. Good luck!


Penguin Party Giveaway Items

Shown above: At top, Penguin pennants 10 inch and 5 inch, Team labels and numbers, name or desk tags, birthday poster and birthday cards, Penguin award and stationary, at bottom, Penguin behavior charts and coupons, and Penguin Scavenger Hunt with Data collection and graphing

My Penguin Products:

Ready-to-Go Penguin Theme $7.00 (47 pages)

Happy Dance Penguins Border
Emperor Penguin Border
Happy Dance Penguins Subject Headers
Emperor Penguin Subject Headers
Penguin Birthday Postcards
Penguin Birthday Chart
Penguin Thank You Card
Penguin Stationery
Thank you
Just a note…
Happy Dance Penguin Certificates
Days 2 different sets:
Roly- Poly Penguin
Pattern of happy dance penguins and colors
Penguin Desk Tags Grades 1 – 5
Penguin Desk Tags Mixed Grades 3 – 5
Penguin Cutouts
Penguin Bookmarks: 2 sets
Happy Dance Penguins
Emperor Penguins

Penguin Decor  $2.50 (26 pages)

Team Signs (Numbers and Days of the Week)

Desk Numbers

Name or Desk Tags – 18 different tags, using all 17 species of penguins

Welcome signs

Penguin Decor Pennants $3.00 (50 pages)

Alphabet, numbers, and punctuation in 10 inch and 5 inch varieties, uses all 17 species of penguin

More Classroom Penguins $2.50 (14 pages and growing)

4 Birthday posters and birthday cards
4 Behavior sticker charts
2 Bookmarks (Chillin’ with a Good Book and I-C-Y You Love this Book)
Hall passes
Class coupons (No homework, iPad/Computer Time, and “Waddle” You Choose Free Choice coupon)

Penguin Scavenger Hunt with Data Collection and Graphs $2.50 (13 pages)

Addition Facts Reverse Bingo $4.00 (55 pages)

My classroom is set up with penguins everywhere. You can see the penguin wall stickers that I purchases from My Growing Child on my cabinets. They have an amazing assortment of wall clings available. I found the carpets online. The reading carpet is looking great after 2 years. The hopscotch carpet needed replaced after 2 years of wear and tear. Even our superintendent felt the need to hopscotch his way out of the room! My pictures showing my bulletin boards, calendar, etc. were the very first pictures that i took with my cell phone and the quality is terrible!!! I will have to make a new post to show these off once I get back to my classroom.


Reading rug

Hopscotch Penguin Style

 Thank you for joining the giveaway!


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Tackling Tic-Tac-Toe

Posted by on Jul 10, 2013 in comprehension | 4 comments

Tackling Tic-Tac-Toe

Games lubricate the body and the mind.

– Benjamin Franklin

At the beginning of the month I posted my Reverse Bingo idea for making bingo  more educationally involved game. Yesterday when I made a table to insert into a powerpoint, it reminded me of a tic-tac-toe board. I instantly had an idea for making this game have an educational aspect. My new game is initially an independent practice page.

Solve the problems, Find the Tic Tac Toe


On this paper all of the differences are 8 or 9. Once they are solved there will be a row of the same difference as the winner. Do I think some children might be able to figure out which ones are smaller? I would be thrilled if students were able to make generalizations and comparisons based on the similarities of the problems! That is higher order thinking in action!


Solve the problems, find the winner!


Here is a trickier example! Which is the winner 64 or 48?


I am thinking I could extend this by giving 2 students a list of problem choices to choose from, for example:

2 Player


Finally, it would be fun to assign a number for x and a number for o and let the partners brainstorm their own problems for each box. I would provide some incentive or rule to make more challenging problems the better selection. Anyone can multiply by 1 or add 1! Real thinking should be encouraged and rewarded.


Now my goal is to find some way to use this idea for language arts! Any ideas?


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