K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education

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Learning outcomes

This is a whole language lesson for Speech Pathologists, designed for use with a small group of students of varied needs. Students will learn vocabulary for arctic animals and basic spatial and comparitive concepts. They will also demonstrate listening comprehension skills, writing skills, and the ability to follow 2-3 step verbal commands. Vocabulary from the story chosen can be tailored to the articulation and phonology needs of individual students.

Teacher planning

Time required for lesson

1 hours


  • Fictional story related to the topic of arctic animals such as Penguin Pete by Marcus Pfister.
  • Index cards with one vocabulary word (animal names, etc.) from the story on each one (choose words with phonemes appropriate for your articulation and phonology students).
  • a copied page with a picture of a penguin, a seal, and a polar bear and 3 differently sized icebergs for each student
  • blue construction paper, glue, scissors, crayons.


  • Discuss the word “arctic.” Explain that arctic animals live where it is very cold all the time, like the North Pole where Santa lives.
  • Show the students a globe and point out the north and south poles. Describe the winter terrain, including icebergs and icy water. Say the following: “Many animals live where it is cold all the time. Who can name some?”
  • Assist with naming by giving descriptive clues as needed. Introduce the words on the index cards and give each child several.
  • Have each student name the words on the cards.


  1. Introduce the story by reading the title and saying, “We are going to meet some arctic animals that live where it is very… (have the students answer with “cold”). Instruct the students to pay close attention to the story and listen for their words. Ask them to raise their card up when they hear their words in the story.
  2. Read the story. Slightly over-emphasize the vocabulary words as you read. Ask listening comprehension questions throughout and at the end of the story. For example, “Who did Penguin Pete meet on his trip?” Include discussion about each of the animals encountered in the story. Have the students tell how the animals are the same/different.
  3. Ask each student to tell their favorite part of the story.
  4. Give each child the copied picture of arctic animals and icebergs, a piece of blue construction paper, scissors, glue, and crayons.
  5. Have your students name the animals and describe icebergs. Review/teach concepts of top, middle, bottom, right, left, and corner using a blue page to point to corresponding areas on the page. Tell the students that they are going to make a picture and that the blue page is going to be the icy water. Instruct them to listen carefully to the directions you give.
  6. Proceed with stepwise directions to create an arctic animal scene on the blue paper. Give instructions for coloring the animals, cutting out the pictures, and placing them on the paper. For example, “Cut out the smallest iceberg and glue it on the bottom right corner of your page.” Or, “Find the animal that has wings, but cannot fly. Color its body black and its beak orange.” When the pictures are complete, have the children compare their own pictures to one that you have already prepared. Discuss the similarities and differences. (You can give directions differing from your picture to elicit more discussion.)
  7. For students with articulation goals, have them practice saying the names of animals or related vocabulary containing their phonemes. Ask them to tell about the animals to elicit the phonemes in conversation.
  8. Have them write “Arctic Animals” at the top of the page and then write the appropriate name beside each animal. Use this time to summarize the lesson.


  • During the activities, keep track of correct and incorrect responses to questions, production of phonemes, understanding and use of basic language concepts, and whether or not directions were followed.
  • Record performance on the above areas for each student as appropriate to their IEP goals and performance criteria.

  • Common Core State Standards
    • English Language Arts (2010)
      • Language

        • Grade 1
          • 1.L.6 Use words and phrases acquired through conversations, reading and being read to, and responding to texts, including using frequently occurring conjunctions to signal simple relationships (e.g., because).
        • Reading: Literature

          • 1.RL.1 Ask and answer questions about key details in a text.

  • North Carolina Essential Standards
    • Science (2010)
      • Grade 1

        • 1.L.1 Understand characteristics of various environments and behaviors of humans that enable plants and animals to survive. 1.L.1.1 Recognize that plants and animals need air, water, light (plants only), space, food and shelter and that these may be found...
        • 1.L.2 Summarize the needs of living organisms for energy and growth. 1.L.2.1 Summarize the basic needs of a variety of different plants (including air, water, nutrients, and light) for energy and growth. 1.L.2.2 Summarize the basic needs of a variety of different...

North Carolina curriculum alignment

English Language Arts (2004)

Grade 1

  • Goal 2: The learner will develop and apply strategies and skills to comprehend text that is read, heard, and viewed.
    • Objective 2.07: Respond and elaborate in answering what, when, where, and how questions.
    • Objective 2.08: Discuss and explain response to how, why, and what if questions in sharing narrative and expository texts.
  • Goal 4: The learner will apply strategies and skills to create oral, written, and visual texts.
    • Objective 4.01: Select and use new vocabulary and language structures in both speech and writing contexts (e.g., oral retelling using exclamatory phrases to accent an idea or event).

Science (2005)

Grade 1

  • Goal 1: The learner will conduct investigations and make observations to build an understanding of the needs of living organisms.
    • Objective 1.02: Investigate the needs of a variety of different animals:
      • Air.
      • Water.
      • Food.
      • Shelter.
      • Space.