The Ultimate Guide to Penguins and Arctic Animals

Penguins are amazing, but studying them is even more exciting. In fact, researching penguins crosses multiple subject areas...math, science, reading, and writing, and even better than that, kids LOVE them!

In today's post, I'll be sharing ideas, book suggestions, and resources for penguin and arctic animal resources  To start off, I'll share a book collection you might consider using. The books and resources will all be pinned to the board shared at the bottom of the page. You can also print the thematic planner to the right.

Check out these Penguin Fact and Fiction Books

 This part of the post is linking up with my best blogging buddy, Andrea over at Reading Toward the Stars for her Book Talk Thursday.  As you can see, there are several excellent Penguin themed books.  Of these, my favorites are Tacky for primary and Mr. Popper's Penguins for upper. You see resources for both below.  Andrea's Book Talk Thursday is a great linky for learning about new book ideas and how to use them.  She's been rolling with it now for two years, so there are lots of great book recommendations in her archive!  You can check out her Penguin list [Here]
Penguins are amazing, but studying them is even more exciting. In this post, you'll find lots of fun penguin themed ideas for use in your classroom.

Eve of the Emperor Penguin Guided Reading UnitEve of the Emperor Penguin by Mary Pope Osborne is a book that I enjoy using with my fourth grade kids this time of year. The Magic Treehouse series are well liked by so many children, and I love the fact that Osborne includes such rich vocabulary and ties in science and social studies content into the books.  This one takes Jack and Annie to the Arctic for lots of frigid adventure.  .

Close Reading Companion: Tacky the PenguinAnother favorite Penguin book of mine is Tacky the Penguin by Helen Lester. This series is just plain fun. Our kindergarten teachers have a whole week devoted to penguins and Tacky is a favorite. His crazy behavior keeps the children engaged, and the story works well with many reading skills. You must check them out if you haven't already. I haven't made anything for Tacky, but Teresa Maguire has with this great Close Reading set, and it's free! The set could be used with the whole group to model skills in K-1, and in small group with 2-3.   

The final book I wanted to highlight is Mr. Popper's Penguins.  I have enjoyed using this book with fourth and fifth (depending on the reading level of the group).  It is an old classic and since the movie was released, children are now familiar with it.  Every group I've had read it has enjoyed it.

Hands-On Activities for Penguin

There are so many great options for studying penguins and the arctic, but I am going to start out with two set that I've made.  I plan to use them together during the same week and teach my students to make comparisons across multiple texts.  The first is a forever freebie that I shared recently on my Facebook page.  I have purchased a LOT of close reading materials to use with my students, but I've really wanted to make a few of my own.  It will introduce your students to penguin research and help your students learn the routines of close reading.  To access it, just click on the image below.  
The second set is a partner script written for two voices called Penguins on Parade.  It is a fictional story based upon the idea of Tacky.  The main character has all sorts of challenges on the ice, but he overcomes these issues by being a superb swimmer. It would work well if you are trying to teach author's message/theme or character development.  It is not free (but is only $3.00).  It includes supplementary materials for before/during/after reading.
How about a few fun finds from other places?  Here are my favorites. 
Tacky the Penguin! Kids can make a self "tacky" then write on the inseide    kids winter crafts

Making a Penguin Snow Globe   Winter Literacy Craftivities - provide teachers and students with 3 different fun, yet rigorous, craftivities for Winter.  There is a Comprehension Snowman with questions to fit any text, Penguin Paragraph with 6 different writing prompts, and a Figurative Language Snowglobe. $

All of these will be combined with my latest products, Arctic Animal Close Reading sets.


This Pinterest board has been formed to collect our planning sheets as well as other themed resources. Feel free to follow it or pin to your own collection.  

Pin for Later:
Penguins are amazing, but studying them is even more exciting. In this post, you'll find lots of fun penguin themed ideas for use in your classroom.


  1. Great post again Carla! Thanks for all the great ideas and for the opportunity to share and link up!

    1. Thank YOU for your donation, Kim. I know the lucky winner will be thrilled with your unit. :-)

  2. Thanks for the opportunity to link, Carla! I see that you noted Martin Jenkins' "The Emperor's Egg". That's a favorite of mine, and one that kids always love to hear!
    Primary Inspiration

    1. I am so glad you linked up, Linda. I had not visited your blog before, so it's nice to see a new face. :-) I used to use that with second grade, but now have 4/5. Eve of the Emperor Penguin is more my level with 4th (struggling). I still totally love Tacky though!! My kids are going to have so much fun next week.

  3. Thank you for the opportunity to link up Carla. I always enjoy reading your posts and get lots of great resources and information. I was glad to participate this time!
    Burke's Special Kids

    1. Yeah on the resources! Likewise though...I love reading your posts too. It's nice to combine all of these great ideas and make planning easy for everyone! I have way more resources than I have time to do them all. :-) Nice to have options.

  4. Love that we're all sharing about penguins, but we all have different ideas! Thanks for another great linky!

    1. Isn't that interesting! I noticed that too. So fun! Thanks for linking up today, Teresa!

  5. Thanks for linking up with me and having a fun link up this week! I love teaching about penguins, so this was easy! Thanks for all of the ideas too!

    Reading Toward the Stars


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