Walruses & Groundhogs…It Was That Kind of Week :)

It was a busy week in Kindergarten, so I won’t stall any longer :)  Here’s a look at what we were up to this week!

We were knee deep learning about all things Arctic…animals, that is!  My kids were SO into it.  It was really quite precious, actually.  I can honestly say that I’m pretty sure they’re *obsessed* with walruses.  They couldn’t get enough!!!!  We started out our learning with a little tree map to organize our thinking.  After we did a little research and gathered lots of info about these 2 ton mammals, we transferred all of our knowledge into writing.  As important as it is to write about things from the heart, it’s equally important that we become great non-fiction writers as well! And my kids couldn’t.get.enough.  They kept all their writing in a little “research folder” and we’ll be organizing all of our work into a little “All About Walruses” non-fiction book to send home next week.  Whew!  Here are just a few little samples.


Top:  Walruses have flippers and tusks.  They also have blubber.

Bottom:  The tusks help them pull themselves out of the water.


Deanna Jump has an AWESOME Arctic Animals unit that I used for all of our Arctic animal learning this week.  Love EVERYTHING about it!!!  Speaking of walruses, did you know they can whistle?!  My kids were FASCINATED by this fact!!!!  I even found this adorable little 2 minute clip online that showed a walrus whistling and barking!  SO cool!  We did a fun little graph and surveyed our friends to find out how many of us can whistle. It turns out that 7 of our friends are quite the little music makers! We carried on our whistling conversation into a little writing/art activity and as always, smart before art!  We compared ourselves to other things/people that can/can’t whistle and wrote about it!  Then the kids drew themselves whistling.  If they couldn’t whistle, they drew a little red “x” over their whistles…too cute!



“I can whistle and a walrus can, too.”


“I cannot whistle and Caleb can’t whistle either.”

To carry our arctic fun into math, we did a fun little addition activity that we called, “Feed the Walrus”.


I drew this little walrus, cut a hole in his mouth, and then mounted him on the side of a copy paper box.  I grabbed a little tray and drew a couple of tens frames on them {with an expo}, used a couple of jumbo dice, and found these little sea life counters I had in my stash of random math manipulatives {gotta LOVE the Dollar Tree!}


We’ve been talking a lot about “digits”.  I explained to the kids how we have one/two/three digit numbers and for this game, we were going to see how many two digit numbers we could create with number sentences.  First up, I had one friend roll the dice.  We practiced “counting up” from the highest amount rolled and then fed the walrus that number of sea creatures. 


After the first friend rolled the dice and fed the walrus, my next friend came up, rolled the dice, and fed the walrus the next amount.


After the walrus had a full belly {two rolls of the dice}, we pulled out the “food” and used the tens frame tray to count the total amount.walrus4walrus5

Then we created number sentences to go with them!  This was a great little learning piece because the kids got to see how different number sentences can still equal the same amount.  For example…8+7=15 and so does 10+5.  They are seriously little pros when it comes to working with tens frames! 


After everyone had a turn to roll and write, we counted up the two digit numbers for a quick vocabulary review.  We had more number sentences with two digit sums than not!  Pretty cool!!

I can’t remember the last time when I didn’t get to celebrate Groundhog Day ON February 2nd.  In all honesty, I sorta forgot about it this year!!  And with my kids being SO excited about Arctic animals, our sweet little burrowing friends just took a backseat this year.  But that doesn’t mean we didn’t talk about it!  Two of my sweet school babies celebrate their birthdays on February 2nd, so we couldn’t skip this tradition altogether!  I read a couple of my favorite books…


And we did a little compare/contrast activity.  We’re still working on making connections, so we did a little text to self connection writing craftivity after reading the book, “Wake Up, Groundhog!”.  Ohmiword….too stinkin’ cute!!!



When I wake up…

     “I want to go back to sleep.”              “I feel tired and I want to go to bed.”           “I am sleepy and I have to go to school.”

SO darn cute!!  And boy was it ever easy for them to make a connection!!  HA!!!  Of course, I had to write my own…

“When I wake up, I hit the snooze button about 5 times before walking to the Keurig half asleep to make my morning cup of coffee.” 

Okay, so I didn’t share that with my kids, but it was pretty darn easy for me to make a connection, too!!  HA!!! 

Incase you’re looking for some more groundhog ideas for NEXT year, you can read about what I did with my class HERE and HERE.

I think it’s safe to say that I’ll burrow in my bed an extra long time tomorrow morning and cross my fingers that our sweet little groundhog will infact NOT see his shadow!!!


  1. We did the same thing two weeks ago with the Arctic Animals unit from Deanna, but we focused more on polar bears. Love the math game! I may break that out for our addition unit this week, but change it to a huge mouth/healthy food toys since we are doing dental health this week!

  2. I just purchased this unit from Deanna Jump and I'm so excited to use it! I love the picture of Katie not whistling:)
    Those groundhogs are so cute! I'm going to have to do that next year. I kind of forgot all about groundhog day but there's always next year :)
    Learning In Wonderland

  3. This post is packed with great ideas! I love both of those groundhog books. They were the books kids got to listen to in the listening center this week!
    Owl Things First

  4. Wow! I love all your ideas and use them all the time in my classroom! Thank you for sharing! I have a question though…do you always type the kids' names for them to put on their work? Is this something new that I've never heard of!?!? I'd love to know :) Thanks Cara!

  5. You have some of the BEST ideas ever! So much learning is taking place here, what a blessing you must be!

    Amy Howbert
    Little Miss Organized

  6. These are so cute! I can't get over the x's for the mouths if the kids can't whistle. I love seeing what kids come up with!

  7. Deanna's unit is in my plan for next week. LOVE the walrus math game!

  8. I love your walrus game! It is so cute and I am sure your friends loved it :) Just read Go to Sleep, Groundhog for the first time this week, and it's now one of my favorites!

    The Brown-Bag Teacher

  9. Oh my word! The walrus game is too cute. It looks simple to put together and is great math practice. I am sure your kids loved it.


  10. I love all of your ideas! We read Go to Sleep Groundhog today. My kids were really curious about why people don't hibernate.
    Yeehaw! Teaching in Texas

  11. You're walrus game is simply FANTASTIC! I bet your kids ate that game up! Thanks for sharing your fabulous ideas with us!

    First Grade in Foxwell Forest

  12. I love your walrus activity. What a great idea! I'll have to keep my eyes open for those math manipulatives.

    Ms. Richards's Musings


  13. Hi Cara, I love your ideas!! Thanks so much for sharing!
    Science for Kids Blog

  14. I LOVE the walrus getting fed, super cute! I enjoy all your cute ideas.

  15. Love all of your MATH games! Do you typically do those whole group? :) Keep the ideas coming! You are a blessing!

  16. Your ideas are so adorable. I am so sad I just found you last year and you moved to Kdg, because I am a Firstie!:(

  17. I love Feed the Walrus...that is adorable! You are just so creative! Thank you for being such an inspiration. I hope we can have a Texas meet-up this summer. =)

    Heather's Heart

  18. Everything about all of this walrus wonderfulness is so adorable! We've never done walruses in my class, but now I really want to!! I love that little game you made for the kiddos. Terribly cute AND engaging... as always :D

    ❤Dragonflies in First ❤

  19. I am your newest blog friend! I love your work and cannot wait to see what you do next! I would love it if you would follow me back!



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  21. "Smart before art"....*LOVE* it!!! =)

  22. This doesn't have anything to do with groundhogs or walruses, but President's instead. I have used the heck out of your president's pack this year and LOVED the Washington activity you did with your class last year. I used it and was SHOCKED at how well my kids did writing a question of their own. All of your activities make things seem so much easier than they really are and I appreciate your sharing them. I actually blogged about how great I think you are and how much I loved that packet. It may even be a little stalker-y, but I think you're great! :) Anyway, I'm hoping you'll post soon about anything you're doing this year for the holiday and thanks again.

    Apples, Crayons, and Caffeine

  23. I love all the fun you have in your class. I home school my kids with my little buddy in 1st grade. We like going to the library and finding all the books you share and try some your templates out as well. Thank you for sharing all of this with us!

  24. Wow, I wish my child was in your class except I don't have any 1st graders at the moment. : - )