Sunday, March 17, 2013

Penguin Fun!

There is so much more to reading than just *reading* when it comes to young learners. You have to make to make it real to them. We all know this. You have to find ways to get them involved and interested. My class recently read the story Penguin Chick. It's a non-fiction text that describes the life cycle of the emperor penguin. Before we read this, my students weren't really interested in penguins at all, I would guess. By the end of the week, my kids were eager to learn more! That's what I love! They were reading the other books about penguins that I had in my personal library, and were checking out books from our school library. 

One thing I did to rivet these little readers was to find a live webcam of penguins. San Diego Penguin Video Cam is the one I used. The kids absolutely LOVED watching this! Who knew penguins could be so funny and interesting! Some even went home and watched them on their own computers! I even had a parent tell me that her son went home and taught his younger sister everything that he'd been learning about penguins! LOVE that!

Another thing we did was to put ourselves in the place of the emperor penguin father. Poor guy has to carry that egg on his feet for two whole months! Fortunately, I have a good relationship with our PE teachers, so I asked to borrow some bean bags from the PE department. We went outside, shuffled our feet with the bean bag eggs on top, (yep, that was a vocabulary word) as we played a relay game to see which penguin daddy could bring the egg back home safe and secure first. They had a ball with this, as you can see! 
See how innovative he is? 
Spoke too THIS is innovation! I'm gonna tie that egg to my foot!
I loved using this text with my students. It was a precursor to our novel for the 9 weeks, Mr. Popper's Penguins, which they also loved. If you teach penguins, and/or Penguin Chick please check out my unit on Teachers Pay Teachers. You will find reading and writing activities that go along with this text. My students especially enjoyed completing a Venn Diagram comparing their family to the family of emperor penguins. We then used that Venn Diagram to write about these similarities and differences. Some of these were quite entertaining! I love when my third graders get into their writing! Enjoy! 


  1. Hi Samantha!

    I read Popper's Penguins to my students each year. What a funny story! I agree that it is so important to make stories, especially non-fiction, come to life for our little readers. I love your web-cam and egg-shuffling ideas! Thanks for sharing :)

    Read with Me ABC

    1. We loved Mr. Popper's Penguins, too! We watched the movie after we read the book, completed a Venn Diagram as we watched, and they were AMAZED at how different it was! Thanks for your comment! I love your blog! I'm your newest follower!