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 polar animal studies To start off, here are my favorite books for the theme. Of course, we can not teach a penguin theme without using great books. The Tacky books are my favorites in the primary grades as well as nonfiction selections. It’s amazing how many different breeds of penguins there are, so there should be a great choices in your school library. For the middle grades, I love the book, Mr. Popper’s Penguins as a read aloud. You can even share the movie afterwards. You see resources for both of these below.
Eve of the Emperor Penguin by Mary Pope Osborne is another great penguin book that I enjoy using with my third/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. .
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.
Another favorite Penguin book of mine is Mr. Popper’s Penguins. It’s always fun to share it and the movie afterwards.I have enjoyed using this book with fourth and fifth (depending on the reading level of the group). It is an old classic. Every group I’ve had read it has enjoyed it. The reading level is third to fourth grade.
Hands-On Activities for Penguins:
There are so many great options for studying penguins and other polar animals, but I am going to start out with two sets 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. 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 this FREE resource, simply click the image to the right.
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
Polar Animal Research:
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.