Make A Penguin Labeling Activity



Informational Text Features: Make A Penguin Labeling Activity…..

I’ve extended our informational text feature study with maps (or should I say penguins) another week.  My little guy is intrigued with the maps we are using for locating penguins on a world map.



We’ve read a number of books with maps now.  Here is his ultimate favorite…


We’ve read it a dozen times or more.






This book has a few maps in it.  It has visuals in the GLOSSARY that include additional maps.   

The best text feature was this 4 page CHART of all 17 types of penguins from smallest to largest.  PJ  looked at the pictures of penguins for a good hour in total.



I knew we had to go over each type of penguin rather than penguins as a group of Antarctic animals.  

I started by trying out a few homemade black Playdough recipes because black is a hard color to find if not ordered on line.  

Here are a few dependable sites if you would like to try your hand at it:

My dough turned out more a brownish color but I’m not one to waste. The cans I FINALLY found at Walmart were less than 1.00 dollar a piece.  I kept my brown dough for PJ to use in a tropical penguin habitat.

What you need:

  • 5 cans of black playdough
  • 14 plastic eggs (we didn’t use eggs for the 3 smallest species of penguins just dough)
  • 2 cans of white playdough
  • Small amount of orange and yellow playdough


Using the book for reference he formed black dough completely around an egg.  The Emperor Penguin is the tallest and should have more dough than any other egg.  



He labeled body parts of  this penguin without my asking…


webbed feet and flippersimage head and bill
imageEyes and tail



He chose to use googley eyes instead of dough.



He righty put the emperor in an ocean of tissue paper and used the left over Christmas snow I had to decorate the surrounding area!  How creative!!



He made 7 species of  Penguins naming and labeling each according to the text in the book. 



It was a wonderful way to support finding information within his reading and using key text features….Not to mention stir his imagination! 

For more great hands on penguin activities visit Embark On The Journey.

Frog Snails and Puppy Dog Tails– Penguin Snow Globe

Gift of Curiosity– Penguin Printable Pack ages 2-7

Thanks for reading,


Places I Share With





Types of Text: Learning About Informational Text in First Grade

Learning Important Features of Informational Text with Reindeer…..



Most of the time moving from Narrative text to Informational text is easy.  My son read story books about the tooth fairy and was naturally interested in teeth.  An adventure of seeking information about his teeth compared to animal teeth began.


Pour teeth look like this.
Our teeth look like this.


Reindeer teeth look like this.
Reindeer teeth look like this.

JUST LIKE THAT…We were off to find out all about Arctic mammals!  


He had never watched this classic before learning about reindeer so I was excited to watch this with him!




I wanted PJ to become familiar with all the features of  Informational text.  I quickly found some printable lists for my visual learner…..

Nonfiction Text Features Bullentin Board Poster Set
Nonfiction Text Features Bullentin Board Poster Set


Primarily Speaking  Free Nonfiction Text Features   Posters

Classroom Freebies  Checklists and usage log


After I jotted down a hand written list of a few nonfiction text features, we headed to the library to practice using features. ( I ended up making my own visual board for nonfiction text features after the fact.)

Click here

Kindle book…

At the library…image

Kindle book…

Cool Facts/ Silly Jokes

Kindle book…

Click here to view book.


At the library…it’s an older edition of the first book I think.image



Reindeer (A Day in the Life:Polar Animals)

We found a nice quiet place and used this Know/Want to Know/ Learned chart – Teacher Files


Next, we looked up the books I found from above.  He began to fill in his Just The Facts worksheet also from Teacher Files.



Using my handwritten check list we found the most important features of Informational Text:

  • Table of Contents
  • Bold or Italicized words
  • Glossary
  • Headings
  • Subheadings
  • Maps

****There are more Features to cover but my goal is to cover them one by one in a series.  Stayed tuned!****


We took turns reading but I asked him to stop me when he heard a FACT so he could write it down.  There were words we looked up in the glossary along the way when he didn’t understand their meaning.  I wrote down those words to later use as vocabulary and speech practice words.


He wasn’t ready to answer why he thought the words were important yet.  I didn’t want to overload him so I saved those thinking questions for another day. 


-By that point my son was familiar with the most important Nonfiction Text Features and could look up bold words in the Glossary.  

-He was able to match and find chapter headings from the Table of Contents to within the books we read.  

He could find the map in one book and point to where Reindeer migrated.   

He also had 6 facts wrote out about Reindeer that we will use later to fill in the “What I Learned” part of  his K/W/L chart.


Here is an example of a Just The Facts sheet about teeth.


While we were at the library I took advantage of the printer privileges((: and printed off pages of FREE Reindeer learning from a few of these sights…



Royal Baloo – Reindeer Learning Pack

3 Dinosaurs- Reindeer Pack Story retell with puppets


More Fact Finding Ideas……

Royal Baloo – Reindeer Lapbook

Enchanted Learning – Label The Reindeer

Red Ted Art – Reindeer Bookmarks

Sarahs First Grade Snippets – Reindeer Fact Craft and More!

First Grade Smiles – Reindeer Facts And Fun



Web Facts About Reindeer…..Yep that’s a part of Common Core and well just a skill must have nowadays.

University of Alaska – Reindeer Caribou..What’s the Difference?

You Tube – Rudolph the Blue Eyed Reindeer

Animals Time all about animals for kids – Top 9 Reindeer Facts


I will share more about reindeer crafts and activities when my son has had his fill of  information on the subject.  Until then…

Thank you for reading!














DIY Emergency Tooth Fairy Pillow


Do It Yourself Emergency Tooth Fairy Pillow….




Ive been scouting for the perfect lost tooth holder because the Tooth Fairy complained that it was to hard to find my sons tooth the last visit!!


And here I am still looking online while yet another tooth is loose..yikes, I’m cutting it really close!  His tooth is hanging by a thread literally but I want to find some kind of tooth holder that he will want to pass on to his kids someday.  

Even if I purchased the kit I have been eyeing online it would take at least half a week to arrive.  

Very cute kit!! See here on


So, today we finished up his homework and started a new study on Informational Text (about TEETH of course!:)).  Then, my son put this project together.  


I couldn’t tell you how I came up with this other than I’ve found many blogs with this tooth pattern only the patterns were for sewing or croucheting…I can’t sew much and don’t know how to crochet.  I decided a paper version would more than work in a pinch.  It turned out to be a great way to work on hand eye coordination, fine motor skills, and articulation for speech.  Besides, he was so proud of his work that he is sleeping with it:)

Tonight I will post the super easy steps to make it.




Step 1…. Draw a pattern of a large tooth to cover a standard size piece of heavy paper or cardstock.

2….  Trace your pattern on another piece of card stock and cut a small square for a tooth pocket.




3….  Let your child decorate or just draw a face on one piece of cardstock and add the tiny tooth pocket to the other piece of cardstock.  We used Elmer’s glue to secure the pocket to the back.  Then use a hole punch around the edges of the patterns.


4….  This is where I surprised him!  I let him use the remainder of our glow in the dark yarn that was made during our SPIDER UNIT to lace the teeth together!! Let your child be creative and make some glow in the dark string too!



He is using his tongue to concentrate here.  Love that!

He was so excited that he tried to goto bed early but disappointed he couldn’t.  He had not taken a bath yet.:)





These are a few Tooth Fairy supplies I’m choosing from……..

Boys Stamped Tooth Fairy Pillow at
My Baby Tooth Book for boys at
Complete kit at

Narratives: Making Connections With Text Through Characters


Connecting To Text With Characters….

Character connections dental Health Month



My son and I continued to study Narratives and all its components this Thanksgiving break from school.  


He has lost THREE teeth!! AND now he has a  fourth tooth loose:).  So, instead of learning about The First Thanksgiving ( we can always do that next week, RIGHT.!??),  he and I read this ADORABLE firster chapter-book!  It turned out to be one of our favorite books!  I only wish I had found it sooner for my now grown daughter to enjoy.


AMAZON.COM new or used available!!

     This book has 13 chapters that took us all of his break from school to read.  We took our time and were able to read the whole book two times from start to finish.  This is a great reading comprehension strategy BTW!



If you have been following you will remember I like to use anchor charts when we cover literature at home.   My son just loves the BIG visuals we draw and write out together!!  




     This particular book worked good with a VENN DIAGRAM to compare himself to Pearl, the main character in the book.  The second most important character of course was the TOOTH FAIRY!!


He loves to draw on wrapping paper and I love that he is using his whole body to think!



How are we the SAME?








He wrote new details to compare himself to Pearl after every few chapters.  We used the TABLE OF CONTENTS   to label every new chapter and find the page the chapter started on. 

How are we DIFFERENT?



When the diagram was all filled up we continued to talk about comparing his own tooth loss experiences to Pearls experiences.

image image

      In the book, Pearl makes a tooth collection box for herself.  (She wasn’t giving that old Tooth Fairy her tooth and that was the rising conflict in the story.)  My son just loved that part and made all kinds of ” Oooh Noo!!”  faces:)    So, we decided to make a paper tooth fairy pillow together to represent that he gave the tooth fairy his teeth.  Post the finished product later…


     He liked the book so much so that I even looked for TOOTH FAIRY PACKS to incorporate into his week off from school.  




3 Dinosaurs- FREE Tooth Fairy Pack ages 2-7

Enchanted Learning- FREE Tooth Fairy Pack


     This book itself has many LETTERS to and from the Tooth Fairy as they two characters were in a fued over a lost tooth.  I took advantage of the books content and we wrote a future letter asking the tooth fairy to keep his next tooth:)  


Here is the link for a letter responding to that request FROM THE TOOTH FAIRY HERSELF!!


More future tooth fairy ideas(:


Mom & Munchkins

FREE PRINTABLE CHECK in case you don’t have the money on hand…

Mom 4 Real


Living 2 Learn

I’m sure I will be reading more books about the tooth fairy real soon, but if you have more ideas to add to this tooth fairy unit feel free to comment!! Love to here from you!


Thank you for reading!

Crystal 🙂





Types of Text: Learning About Narratives in First Grade

     I sent a lengthy note to my sons teacher to ask what she had covered in my sons class thus far in the way of types of text and writing.   I like to be “on the same page” when we do activities at home.  Really, we have a monthly goal planner that breaks down into weekly activities to do Afterschool.  And since my son has other things planned Afterschool like sports and speech it really pays to have our Afterschool hours be as productive as possible.  By productive I mean learning what is grade appropriate as well as what is developmentally appropriate for my son.  The task of planning is tricky if you dont keep open communication with your child’s teacher….But that is a blog for another day.



     From his teacher I learned the class had already covered narrative texts.  We are still covering narrative reading/writing at home and I really want him to KNOW what a narrative text consists of before we move into informational text.   Plus, he is already good at pointing out facts in informational science books that we read together.  This made me decide to focus more time on narratives.  So, what is a narrative text in first grade??


Well, if  your children are attending a public school it would be a good idea to start by becoming familiar with first grade Common Core Standards.   The first grade language arts reading can found HERE



****Remember, every state has their own adaptions to common core.  Be sure and check out your states First Grade Common Core Standards, too.****


     ……….Back to reading narrative text.

 A first grader will learn to decipher narrative text from other types of text by remembering a few key characteristics::

  • Narrative text TELLS A STORY.
  • It has a BEGINNING, MIDDLE, and END.
  • Narratives have a CHARACTER(s) AND A SETTING.
  • Narrations can be FICTION or NONFICTION. (introductions will begin in Kindergarten)

A Cute visual for characteristics of a Narrative can be found at Fun In First.


is fairly self explanatory.   You want your firster to be familiar with story telling text.  In kindergarten they will be read famous classics, Fairy Tales, Poems, and all the awesome series books like “The old Lady That..” And “Clifford”.   All those types of literature are considered narratives.  So while you are reading to them help them become familiar with the vocabulary term “Narrative”.  They will need to label types of text in first grade and be able to differentiate characteristics of those texts.  



You will also want them to start writing about how they relate to the story.  “What would you do if” types of questions will now be wrote out in sentences.  Your firster will learn how to give supportive reasoning and examples from narratives to form opinions as well.  They will draw from their own experiences as they develop character trait recognition….It is magical to hear my son beginning to compare himself to a character within a book!!  

We will focus in more detail about character traits during our next break……THANKSGIVING!!!  Can. Not. Wait.:)


Supportive reasons activitity for the book "If I Were President"
Supportive reasons activities for the book “If I Were President”.




Sequential Order or BEGINNING, MIDDLE, and END……


 Emphasis is placed on pattering, story retell, using words like first, next, last because these skills are the stepping stones to ALL academics!  Later, there is number order/patterning, the scientific process, writing phonetic English patterns…the list is endless.  They are NOT just skills important to reading.   You may want to review those kindergarten story sequencing skills but expect them to point out key details with less prompting…….  More putting thoughts into correctly written words instead of using illustrated retell is what that looked like for my little guy.

The most common way to teach all about narrative reading and writing is to use story maps like these…..

Reading Rockets

Teacher Printables

There are really a lot of FREE printable story maps online at Teachers Pay Teachers if you are a FREE member!!!


At the start of first grade it’s all about using simple sentences to recall key details….

During first grade, children learn to write sentences to describe what is happening in the beginning, middle, and end of a narrative.  They develop more intricate writing patterns as the year progresses.  So they need to use a simple Story Map with say Beginning, Middle, End, character, and setting at the start of first grade.  

Towards the ending of the year the same child may be using a story map that asks the child to describe the plot and conflict in addition to the B/M/E.  For higher learning levels (as leveled by core standards) a story map may even ask them to describe the conflict, peak of conflict, and/or resolution using key details.

***** It is important to remember a story map should be appropriately challenging for each individual child.  AND that it is quite alright for parents to teach with a mixed level story map even if you need to make your own for your children!!  Sometimes my son uses cut and paste or hidden folding story maps for extra writing space. *****




I decided to really target Characters in narratives during break from school.  There is so much more to learn about characters in a story than a story map can cover here.  See how we cover characters using BIG visuals this week (HIS FAVORITE READING AND WRITING TOOL!!) as we step into informational text.  I will come back and post a link to this page!

When you chose to cover characters with a story map you can ask your child to write out the name of the main character with correct capitalization.  If there is more than one character ask them to write each characters name in order of importance.  Most times the main character is who is telling the story but the character telling the story may change at certain points.  Be sure to ask “Who is telling the story?”  

The setting often changes at different times during the story especially when reading firster chapter books.  When this happens my son first does a chapter by chapter story retell with posty notes:)

These are some of his favorite chapter book.  We take turns reading but it is still important that he read chapter books.  He is learning to use features of books like Table of Contents to find chapter title and page number.


Then I help him fill out a simple book report to summarize his notes.  

You can find FREE printable book reports at 123Homeschool4me.


Your firster should already be familiar with story books that are true and not real stories.  At this point they need to know what the vocabulary words Fiction and Nonfiction mean.  These two categories of text will be learned about continually throughout the year and this is why………

Nonfictional and Fictional text can be found in a many types of texts not just Narratives.

  • Narrative text
  • Personal Opinion Narrative text
  • Informational text (is generally nonfiction unless you are reading something like ” The Three Types of  Swap Monsters” 🙂 
  • Opinion text

More Information

Blessed Beyond A Doubt – fREE Fall Writing Prompts

This Reading Mama – Simple Writing Lessons

Fun In First – Narrative text and writing

Hub Pages – Explaining narratives and tons of activities for them








Continue reading Types of Text: Learning About Narratives in First Grade

30 Plus Spider Activities for Learning!…Even in Speech

30 Plus Spider Theme Activities….AND How We Used Them!!!



 Wow Wee!!  We have studied spiders in just about every way possible for a first grader to do so!

 AND my son has enjoyed learning with a spider theme so much, that I thought I would share with you all the possible ways to use spiders for a theme study.  So…if you were looking to cover spiders…



     Everyday Afterschool my son has first grade spelling words to memorize.  We practice writing his spelling words in a mock test but also do a hands on activity.  I ended up making my own Spelling Spider Web Art….


Before or I found this hands on activity from….

 A Mom With A Lesson Plan: It’s A Spider Web Spelling Word Search!!!!  


We wouldn’t get very far if we didn’t include reading in his spider theme.  He loves, loves, loves, books! And after a search for reading practice at home I found..

We have made lots of printable books together in the past.  

Even if your children aren’t ready to read chapter books they may still enjoy listening to the classic “Charlotte’s Web”.  My son is still enjoying our study in this book (2 weeks later!) with the many activities I found here:

  • One Extra Degree has a Charollet’s Web Unit Study and FREEbie!
  •  I loved using This Reading Mama’s homeschool experience about FACT or FICTION with Charollet’s Web.  We also used these books below (plus tons of others!) to label fiction from nonfiction, compare and contrast spiders with a Venn diagram, fill in a Can/Are/Have chart and an Know/Want to know/Learned chart..
****NO NEED to see disclosure. There are no affiliate links here but I’m working on it;)



     My son is covering addition and subtraction of  double digits.  We also reviewed more/ less than for mathematic language.  Gotta learn those word problem terms!

  •    You can try my activity for Addition/subtraction with spiders HERE.  It also has a more/less than activity version.
  • I included The Imagination Tree Incy Wincy SPider Counting Activity Resource Pack  in this round up because it was a good resource for Firsters in beginning levels of math.
  • Tiny Tots Adventures has a hands on craft to Practice Number Words.
  • 3 Dinosaurs Printable Packs!!  This needs a category all it’s own!
Warming up with the most adorable spider web number sequencing 11-20 Puzzle! 3 Dinosaurs
Using 3Dinosaurs packet to write facts from the nonfiction spider books we read.
Using 3Dinosaurs packet to write sentences about the fictional spider books we shared reading. 3Dinosaurs
More sentence practice about spiders and fictional books.
More sentence practice about spiders and non fiction books. 3 Dinosaurs
He really enjoyed using the addition printable!
He really enjoyed using the addition printable!
Thumbs up! He used this addition practice printable so many times that he had it he last problem memorized. Hence Thumbs Up!!:)
Thumbs up! He used this addition practice printable so many times that he had the last problem memorized. Hence, he did not have to count it out and we gave each other the thumbs up:) 3Dinosaurs (the numbers are taken from previous The Afterschool House activity and used to help with writing reversals)

  If you haven’t tried her printable packs you are missing out on some of the CUTEST graphics and best all around learning out there!!  We used her FREE Bat & Spider Pack over and over again!!  As you can see above, my son had no problem maintaining attention to tasks in almost every subject.  And the best part about the packs are you can choose your child’s level and practice subject!  (Yes, there are printable s for writing, math, reading, shapes, letters, you name it!) She has each printable labeled so that you can pick and choose BEFORE you download!!


   My son likes science almost as much as he likes books..almost.  He particularly likes life science: ants,bugs,life cycles, ecosystems, plants, water, eggs, babies, and the like.  The best place to explore all these things are outdoors.  So we hunted for spider webs on walks and tried to collect one that turned out too dainty for the task.  Maybe you will have better luck at finding a hardy web with the link below..

  • We worked for several days on this FREE Spider Lap Book from Preschool Powol Packets.  

    We rainbow colored the parts of the spider then drew lines to the matching label/name of the part . A variation from Preschool Powol Packets.
  • To match the parts of the spider to each name of the parts he and I studied and talked about it using these SPIDERS at  This is a fantastic step by step way to label spider body parts!image
  • He wasn’t quite ready for all the printable s in the lap book so I added this life cycle of a spider in addition to the one that comes with the lap book.  We cut The Life Cycle of a Wolf Spider from into puzzle pieces and practiced putting it together several times.  Then we glued it into place on the back of the Lap Book.


  • We studied 4 unique spiders: 2 poisonous spiders the black widow and brown recluse, a wolf spider, and the orb spider family.  This link was one he was uber fascinated by.  It’s a posting of a mama wolf spider caring her babies on her back! EEK!!
  • My son is a super visual thinker!  We utilize you tube for learning extensions in all subjects.  Videos also help bring it home so to speak by repeating what we have already learned in reading or listening to books.  Many times I read a book then find the video reading of the same book and read it again.  I didn’t share a link to those we used for his spider study: There were too many!  


LOTS AND LOTS of writing was done after reading, you tube videos, and  before we started the spider study.  I made a couple of charts using the back of wrapping paper to compare and contrast spiders with him.  I did the same for a K/W/l chart before we started diving into books.  He wrote sentences (above) about facts he learned.  I asked him to recall stories from ficiotional books using a story map.  We wrote spelling words on Spider themed paper and paused videos to jot down key points about spiders..I used different types of paper to keep things interesting. 

3 Dinosaurs  Bat Spider Pack was perfect for sentence practice! (See above)


School Time Snippets has a FREE Spider Verb Noun Sort that we have been working on repeatedly.   NOTE****  If your child uses picture cards or PECS try this with your cards!


  • Speech Peeps is still keeping us busy with an introduction to Synonyms WHICH HE IS JUST LOVING!!!! This Synonyms Spider Craft And Activity is oodles of fun!  This doubles or maybe  triples! for Speech, sentence practice, and language arts!!
  • Playing With Words 365 has an ‘Sp’ prodution at the word level GAME.  We aren’t working on Sp articulation but if you have a spider theme going on you can sub your own sounds at different places in words, phrases, or even reading within text.  

We will be having this kinda spider speech fun from SLP Mommy Of Apraxia well into November!

MORE HANDS ON ACTIVITY FUN…..In between the other fun spider learning of course!

  • Oh, he had a very hard time containing the hardy laughs (he can have a deep voice), YEAH’s!, and general ants in the pants when we played this with our neighbors!!! Thanks Frugal Fun For Boys for your  Back Yard Games Spider Launch.  NOTE****we used this to practice spelling words as well.  Neighbors are also classmates. No pictures. Things were going little boy fast!
  • 123Homeschool4me has a totally “Fly”Glow In The Dark Spider Web! Did you like what I did there;)  Here we are trying our hand at it. Our web is still drying….

    “Fly” Glowing Spider Web
  • If you looking for more Spider Crafts Coffee Cups And Crayons is a good place start.  We are using some for Halloween decor. 


We have done done various color wheels but we have yet to use glue and glitter to make a color wheel.  Artsy Momma has a beautiful design for that HERE.

There you have it!! Tons of stuff to have a memorable time learning about spiders like we did!!!!



Thank you for reading!

Crystal 🙂







5 Ways to Use Spider Rings for MATH

5 Ways To Use Spider Rings for Math……


Its been two weeks now and my little guy is still going strong with our Spider Theme!!   He doesn’t seem to want to find another Halloween theme JUST YET with the exception of our The Magic School Bus: A Reading Book Character Event.  

We’ve had a lot of fun exploring Spiders across all environments, in EVERY subject, and at least one “sub-category”.  That would be the study if the Spider Wasp!  We discovered a really amazing, super gross fact here.

Just home from school! And hiding from the sun in the shade of our hedges.

Math is also one subject that my guy works on everyday even if it is a short activity.  To do this with a spider theme I chose to make his activities as simple as possible.  Meaning, the next step for me was to search awesome homeschool blogs for resources.  I didn’t have to look very long since Halloween is next week.  There were spider activities galore on my search results!  This really is luck.  Remember my son is who gets to choose the themes.  

Bottom right is Playdough To Plato’s FREE 100s Chart and 10 Ways To Use It that we used over the summer.

One very similar to our spider ring math activity was really my inspiration…

 Still Playing School had a great Math spider ring activity!! I know I will be trying soon when my son is ready for multiplication. Yep! I got my eye on that one!

So, my son needed a move to think addition/subtraction activity. I did not however, find an addition/subtraction spider activity that did not require a printer or items like counters.  Our printer is down for the count….

But we came up with this…

First,  I used a large poster board to draw 2 spider webs.  To get an idea of how to easily draw spider webs, you can check out our last spider activity here. 


NOTE: With those 2 spider webs finished, I drew 3 lines using a ruler but you don’t have too. The lines I placed below the spider webs.  We used the lines as a spot to place the numbers he would find sums for.  These visuals can reduce confusion, help them remain on task, and promote independence for children that need the supports.

Now we are already on the last step!! 

Fold  2 or 3 pieces of card stock to make rectangular squares to write your child’s practice numbers on.  Fold the card stock first in half then make 2 more folds.  You will end up with 6 rectangles per piece of card stock to be cut out…. I used 3 pieces the first time we practiced and several more  later during the week for additional practice.  For the addition, subtraction, and greater than/less than signs, simply fold and cut 2 of  the rectangles out.  Then write the signs on them.!

imageimage image

   Write different numbers for your child to practice adding and subtracting.  We warmed up with single digit numbers then moved straight along to double digits.  Turn the numbers over and place a stack of numbers under each spider web for the child to chose from.  I also asked my son to write each number down in the form of a solved problem.

image image

image image

     Greater than/ less than practice….


This spider ring math activity we also used during with our spider theme week. It is Prekinders Spider Ring Counting Game with printable.

If you would like to add to this mini math spider ring round-up, please make your suggestions in the comments.  I would love to see how you have used spider rings for math!!!