Wednesday, December 31, 2014

It's Time to...HIBERNATE!

Happy New Year!
I am excited to be a part of my first blog hop of 2015!
There are 16 bloggers who have some New Year and winter themed freebies, ideas and products ready for you to implement as we embark on a New Year and head 'back to school' after a much needed and enjoyed winter break!

In case you are like me and already have your New Year plans & activities prepped and ready, I chose to show you all about our hibernation fun!  I didn't have a chance to blog about it before break, so thought this would be a perfect time to share!

On the first day of school I introduce my kinders to our class bear.  He helps out kids who are having some transition issues, and then he hangs out in our book nook!  Many choose to 'read to bear' as they learn how to read!

But come winter, our bear needs to hibernate!

So we create a den from him, give him a kiss and hug 'goodnight' and then put him in our book nook to hibernate all winter long!  Come spring, we wake him up and tell him all about the things we did and learned while he was 'sleeping!'

Come on a visit to my classroom during 'hibernation week!'

This year I found 3 new books to supplement my hibernation unit!
There were all on Amazon and reasonably affordable!
What I loved is that they were in simple 'kid friendly' language!  I have a few others I have acquired over the years through Scholastic but really like these new additions!

And this is an adorable fiction read aloud to compliment any hibernation unit!  
It is all about animals as they prepare to hibernate.  The kids LOVE that the animals put on PJs!

 So before we begin, we complete a what we 'know' chart, as well as what we 'want to learn!'
It always gives me a good sense of background knowledge about hibernation!

During our unit we learn about animals that 'hibernate' those that 'migrate' and those that 'remain active.'  I have real life photos that we sort and display.  The kids use those as reference while writing stories about animals in winter (they choose to write about those that hibernate, migrate, remain active or a combination of all).

As we learn and read about hibernation, we fill in the answers to our 'questions' and when we are all done we chart all that we learned, in addition to the answers we figured out!

A lot of our work that week centers around hibernation!
We complete this interactive activity for identifying where each animal hibernates.
Last year we did it in the 'science' section of our Interactive Notebooks.  This year I did not get that 'section' up and running, so I had them do it on manila construction paper!

In math were were working on identifying, counting and ordering sets to 5, so they completed hibernation themed number puzzles!

We were also reviewing ordinal numbers, so we played an ordinal numbers game!  
 One student hid a bear under/in a den and the others had to guess which den he was in by asking 'Is the bear hiding under the __insert ordinal number___ den?'  We would lift the den to see if the bear was in there!  If correct, that person then had a chance to hide the bear.  If not, we continued to guess which den the bear was in!
When we had practiced a few times we then completed an ordinal numbers coloring activity for extra practice!

You can find that game here:

A lot of our 'reading' that week was all centered around hibernation too!
We built sentences in the pocketchart and after several re-readings they completed and read their own books!
For some it was easier to reference our class chart to assist completing the books.
They loved adding them to their Readers Workshop baskets and reading them independently all week!

Our sensory bucket for the week was filled with beans and housed a number matching activity.
They matched a number, to a the number of hibernating animals and a ten frame of places the animal hibernates!

Our 'read the room' for the week was for students to find nests that had a picture in it and then write the letter that that pictures begins with on their recording sheet.  I thought I had a few pictures of it 'in action' but can't seem to find them!

The 'real fun' was creating a den for our class bear!
We first read this adorable story about a bear that is reluctant to hibernate!  Our bear sat in the meeting area to hear the story too!

Then it was time to build our den!
You can read about it in my Hibernation Super Pack too!
A copy box served as the base.  
I gave each kid some construction paper to rip and we glued it to the box.
We used the extra paper as 'blankets' for him!

The den was ready, but everyone needs hugs and kisses before bed! 
We didn't want anyone waking him, so we needed to make a sign for the den!
Using interactive writing, the students constructed a perfect sign!
While students came up to write on our class sign, each had a white board and was writing the same message on his/her board!

 And now our den, sign and bucket of hibernation books are in our book nook for the winter!  We can still read to him- with whispers of course!

But everyone wanted their own bear and den, so it was time to make our own bears and dens!
You can also find all the directions for this in my Hibernation Super Pack!
I pre-cut the den doors, but they each added 'snow' to the dens and wrote 'shh' so the bear would not be disturbed!  They created a bear with the information they had learned about bears throughout the unit!

They gave their own bears 'hugs and kisses' before it hibernated too!

Bears and dens are drying and almost ready! 

SO cute!  I especially love the triangle 'warning' sign on this one!

We put the bears in their dens, and I stapled the tops.  They are hanging on a bulletin board in our room, but for some reason (I am thinking Christmas crazies!!!) I did not get a picture of our dens hanging!

When Spring comes rolling in and it is time to wake the class bear, we will wake our own bears too!
I use this book as our read aloud right before we wake them:
The text is in rhyme, the pictures are adorable and its about all the 'spring' animals that both wake and are born so it is a great lead-in to our Spring discussions!

As part of the hop, we are each offering a 'forever freebie.'  I have had this freebie in my store for about two years, so if you have not already downloaded it, here is the link:
It is a book where students cut/paste hibernating animals into a foldable reader.  
It can be used stand-alone, but is a great book to use with my hibernation unit

I have marked this pack 20% off  for the duration of the hop (January 1-4) and would also love to give one away!  If you are selected as the winner, but purchased it during the sale, I will give you a $10 credit to my TpT Store!
Simply leave a blog post comment about whether you would like to hibernate, migrate or remain active during winter!

Ready to find more fun, new, fresh and exciting winter and New Year ideas?!
Head over to my blogging buddy Kourtney from:
Mrs. Payton's Precious Kindergarteners

Hope your New Year rang in with a blast and your worries and troubles are left in the past!
Happy New Year!
Until next post,
post signature


  1. What a great post, Jennifer - so many creative ideas that will help your little ones not just learn but also remember! By the way, Animals in Winter is one of my favorite books on the topic.
    Me? Although I wouldn't mind migrating, I think I'll choose to hibernate!
    Happy New Year!

  2. Great post! Thank you so much for joining in the hop! Happy New Year!

  3. I really enjoyed reading your post and can only imagine how fun the week was for the kids.
    Thanks for sharing!


  4. This is so cute! Another teacher at my school has a bear that hibernates but I've never tried it. Maybe this year, I will! I would love to fact that is my plan for today. Lay in bed and watch Netflix. :-)

  5. What an awesome post. Love the ideas you shared. I need someone to explain sensory bins to me, because I really don't understand them. Hope your new year is blessed.
    Burke's Special Kids

  6. First off, happy new year! Hope you dad good holidays! I airways teach the hibernation unit during this time of year. And I use several of the books you mentioned in your post, including the free resource for your store. This unit would be a perfect addition to your free resource when I teach this unit. Being from NY, I have to say that every winter I wish that I could migrate to somewhere warmer, such as dine south or to the Caribbean:-)

    1. Sorry for the typos. Auto correct isn't always "correct".

  7. You are so creative! I love all of your hibernation ideas! Our classroom bear is a beanie baby so we were able to make him a den in a shoebox last year. At this point I would really like to hibernate but tomorrow I will be back in school! I would love to have some more days to sleep in!

  8. I'd like to migrate and see the world! 😊

  9. Love your ideas for teaching hibernation! I would love to migrate to Hawaii!

  10. What great ideas! I'd be happy to hibernate with the bears and catch up on my sleep (and maybe finally kick the cold I've had for three weeks . . .).

  11. I love your ideas. I would prefer to hibernate. BTW I love your work.

  12. I would totally love to hibernate! :)

  13. My 4 year old son has formed a fantastic relationships with all of the teachers at Phoenix pre-k. He would hug each one before we were leaving for England. His classes were full of excellent teachers.

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