Navigating the holidays for many students with disabilities is challenging. The excitement, the bustle can serve to overwhelm many students. Further, many students may or may not celebrate the same holiday that I celebrate and I want them to know they are respected in my classroom. For me personally, it seems easier to find activities that are seasonally related with teaching strategies that continue to build them as students.
For this reason, I love the book by Martin Jenkins, illustrated by Jane Chapman, called "The Emperor's Egg". https://www.amazon.com/dp/0763618713/ref=rdr_ext_sb_ti_hist_1 It inspires activities that relate to geography, science, reading, math, and art. Here are some photos from my classroom where I used the activity I'm discussing in this post.
Here are some of the activities I did with the help of my paraprofessional, the amazing Ms. Allison!
1 - Choral Read the book in whole group
2 - Create Anchor Chart (K,W,L) before and after reading. Also, vocabulary was reviewed, students "rainbow wrote" the words to practice.
3 - From the facts learned, I printed them and cut them into strips for part of the writing center.
4 - Students were asked to write a personal narrative in either first or third POV (which we've been discussing in class with our CKLA curriculum).
5 - Students were asked to include at least 3 facts from the book in their narrative.
6 - Students were encouraged to name their penguin, and tell the penguin's story from either the male, female, or chick perspective.
7 - Artwork was created using student's hands. Students assembled these on one of the last days of school prior to the winter holiday break.
8 - We measured the dimensions in the book for adult penguin (up to 4 feet), and for the chick (6"). We put a piece of yellow tape on the wall after we measured and had the students stand near it to gain a perspective on how big an adult Emperor Penguin is! We compared it to 6". That was a great SEL moment - "How would you feel being protected by someone so much taller than you?" This was also included in their narrative if they chose to write about it.
9 - Student artwork was created against a winter backdrop with their narratives, along with Oklahoma State Standard objectives, for hallway decoration.
This is an engaging and wonderful way to invest some time on summarizing key skills for students and celebrate the winter season.