The first two full weeks back from break were spent learning about hibernation and polar animals. So many fun activities were created and done during this time. My students were so excited everyday.. and isn’t that what it’s all about?!

I am obsessed with room transformations and you should be too! They do take extra work but the results are so worth it.  Making my students happy is my favorite part of the transformation because it brings them to a place that they’ve never visited before.

This Arctic transformation took about an hour with building the igloo taking the most time. I have a time lapse video here> Igloo Setup Video if you want to see what goes into it! Ambiance can be achieved very quickly with a few table cloths and bulletin board paper. I am very lucky because my school’s art teacher supplies all the paper for the school.


The igloo was a huge part of the engagement for my students. They begged to go work in the igloo. Inside I had my light box and letter manipulatives (plastic tinted shot glasses and reusable ice cubes) to build sight words. The words were printed on snowflakes and hung on the wall of the igloo. Students pick a word and then use the glasses to build the word. They share what they are doing on Class Dojo portfolio for accountability and to show their families at home what they are learning. It is definitely a classroom favorite and I can’t say enough good things about Target’s Antsy Pants Building Sets. They have revolutionized my classroom!
Ice Fishing

My students also went ice fishing for sight words using a pointer stick with a magnet hot glued to the end. The fish have sight words written on them. When students catch a fish, they use the magnetic letter builders to create the word. This is how I incorporate STEM into my literacy centers! It gets students to think and look into how the letters are formed while they are also practicing words they need to read! I call that a Win-Win.

Fish Sight WordWe’ve been working really hard on learning our sight words these past few weeks. These two activities let students have fun as they are working on the skills. I strive for this in my room and you can do it too! Lakeshore sells these magentic letter builders. Click the link below if you want to check them out.

Letter Builders

Please go get them, you won’t regret it!

Hibernation Stations

When we learned about hibernating animals, I wanted students to get a full understanding of what research, development, and implementation felt like. We use the Engineering Design Process to help us through the project.

Students on Day 1 began by choosing an animal that hibernates. As a whole group, we looked at what animals do take that winter snooze and which do not. The kids picked from the list that do hibernate and we went to research in small groups. My students use the app Epic! and found some non fiction stories about their animals on there. They wrote about where they hibernated, how they create their dens/burrows/caves/etc., and the duration for hibernation. img_6110

On Day 2, were supposed to plan what materials they would use and how they would work collaboratively to complete the hibernation station. However- real life happened and we had a fire drill. So the planning day was scrapped (it is also so basic at this age that pre-planning isn’t exactly necessary) but I like to teach it so that students get used to it and are aware that it’s part of the process.

On day 3, students did their building. Working together with their partners/groups, students built the hibernation station of their animal. They thought about what would keep winter winds out and warmth in with their structures.  I used my Makerspace disposable materials instead of our reusable because they can design more and sparks more creativity that way. If you want more information on what I mean, check out my Makerspace Tab to see how I set it up.

On day 4, we tested our hibernation stations. I gave each group a container with a single ice cube in it. I mimicked the winds of winter with a blow dryer I brought from home. We counted to 30 seconds and then pulled out the ice to see if it melted. I shared it on Instagram if you want to see it > Hibernation Stations The students had so much fun and enjoyed this follow up activity.

We had so much fun these past two weeks. I have something big planned for February. I cannot wait to share it with you!

If you want to try my Hibernation Station activity, it’s available on TPT!

Hibernating STEM Research Project

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