Take a Glimpse into My Favorite Arctic Activities and Bring Polar Animal Fun into Your Classroom with a Freebie

click to download your free resourceHey friends, 

Maybe it's all the snow or the dropping temperatures, but every year in January I love teaching my kids all about polar animals and their arctic habitats! I thought  I would give you a glimpse into my favorite Arctic activities and help you to bring polar animal fun into your classroom with exciting ideas and a freebie!

Each year I have a fun activity packed Polar animal unit that covers all areas of the curriculum. I love it because there is a lot of choice so I can differentiate from year to year depending on what my kids can handle and what they need. Having choice also keeps it exciting for me
In the Polar Animal Unit I have non-fiction passages about the different arctic habitats, a reader about a variety of animals and comprehension activities to go with each. We compare and contrast, label diagrams, graph our favorite animals, solve polar themed math problems and even complete a blubber barrier science project! My main goal with the unit is to help students gain confidence in their knowledge of polar animals so I can successfully guide them through writing an informative report on the polar animal of their choice. Guess what?! The kid's favorite part last year was creating our polar animal report folders. They worked so hard on them and begged to continue when it was time to put materials away... WIN!  
Report templates for polar animal unit Learning extensions for polar animal unit art, morning work, sciencenon fiction passages for Polar Animal Unit

The only problem, was I was having to run to the library each year, print numerous online articles and apply for grants to get polar animal nonfiction into their hands. So, this year I decided to take the polar animal theme one step further by adding a more in depth guided reading resource to round out our studies. I found one mentor text for each animal and wrote my own nonfiction text for 5 different polar animals. The Arctic fox, walrus, narwhal, reindeer or caribou and the polar bear all made the cut to be a part of my Guided Reading with a Purpose series. 
Since we were gearing up to write an informative report on the polar animals I needed to make sure my text  modeled all the expected nonfiction features and more.  With this in mind I knew nonfiction text features would also be a great choice for my guided reading theme. I don't know about your student's, but many of the nonfiction text features were always a hard grasp no matter how much we covered it. This is why I LOVE Guided Reading with a Purpose. 

Instead of covering the features a little here and a little there,  we go in depth each week to assure confidence and hopefully mastery in each area. The Polar Animal units focus on the nonfiction text features of diagrams and labels. I made sure that all the small readers had a diagram and multiple opportunities to see labels in use. Other text features I included were  bold faced words, table of contents, captions, index and glossary, for review or as an introduction point. 
I cannot tell you how excited I am to not make the haul to the library this year, knowing that my kids will have at least 2 solid nonfiction resources to support their polar animal reports! The best part is that after creating my Guided Reading with a Purpose Polar themed unit I can now truly spread the polar animal fun throughout the whole curriculum with more direction, depth and purpose
The Guided Reading with a Purpose units not only include the readers and comprehension activities to go along with them but also...
  • Mini-lesson ideas to introduce the focus 
  • Comprehension cards to accompany the book to review throughout the book or for discussion after you read
  • Parent communication: letter home going over the weekly focus with suggested conversation starters around literature
  • Book talk bookmarks for guided reading groups, at home support or independent student use
  • Posters supporting the target skills
  • Bulletin board headers and posters 
  • Skill cards: character, setting, problem & solution, etc. 
  • Morning work or fast finisher activities
  • Multiple worksheets covering current skill and precious weeks skills
  • Writing prompt(s)
  • Graphic organizers & writing paper
  • Craft  
5 nonfiction mini readers with nonfiction text featurescomprehension extension activities and worksheets for guided reading
Mentor poster and example cards for covered strands5 polar animal crafts reindeer, walrus, polar bear, narwhal and Arctic Fox with writing extensions
Writing materials and graphic organizers

I know the kids will love these new additions in combination with my original polar animal unit. It will be so much fun! 
FREEBIE ALERT! I wanted you to be able to take a glimpse into a small part of my latest Guided Reading with a Purpose unit on Polar animals so I included a FREEBIE! The orca/killer whale book in this freebie is exactly what the small readers are like in my Guided Reading with a Purpose Polar Unit... full of many text features. I also provided one of my mentor posters and one of the many focused worksheets included in the unit.   
CLICK ON THE IMAGE BELOW to receive your orca whale reader, diagram and label activity and mentor poster
orca whale nonfiction reader with extension activities

I hope you enjoy this freebie and always feel free to contact me with questions you may have!