Penguins on Parade

My very favorite children’s book is called Tacky the Penguin by Helen Lester. She is a wonderful children’s author. Check her books out HERE The story is all about a comical, odd bird who does not conform and doesn’t fit in. (hmmm…maybe I feel a kinship to this bird, ya think?)  I love books like this because of course, by the end of the story, all those who didn’t really like Tacky, grow to love him when he saves the day. The author has written a slug of similar books starring Tacky, and he cracks me up in every single one. It teaches kids a lesson too: that just because somebody is different doesn’t mean they don’t have a lot to offer. (yeah, all of us oddballs have something to offer!)

My Favorite Children’s Book Author. I want to
be just like her someday….HELEN LESTER

So we start by reading and laughing at Tacky and all his antics in several books. Tacky does odd things because he is an “odd” bird.” (It repeats this phrase throughout the story). We brainstorm other types of penguins like scientist penguins, doctor penguins and football star penguins, and I ask what kinds of things each would like to do?  I take all their crazy ideas and we do a brainstorm on the board. For example, a rock star penguin might like to play guitar on stage and sing in a microphone. A football player penguin might like to tackle other penguins and throw football spirals, or make touchdowns in an icy stadium full of screaming penguin fans. This takes time and energy. But I may have a future Mark Twain or Hemmingway in my group, who knows?

Every day during Penguin Week we read a Weekly Reader, or Scholastic
News, or a Science Spin and add facts to our “Waddle You Know” Penguin Facts Booklets.

Then we use a story frame.  It goes something like this: My penguin’s name is ____. He lives in a place called ____. He loves to _____.  One day something awful happened…..Pretty basic. we write every day.  It’s just like soccer….it just takes daily practice to get good.

 I always ask them to add 2 describing words to their stories after they are done. Word choice is an important feature. We like $100 words like “fantastic” and “awesome” and “humungus” a lot better than $1 words like “good” and “nice”And our word wall is papered with $100 words the kids have come up with. So you don’t have to reinvent the wheel every writing. A cute art project using a toilet paper roll can be found HERE

We did the story frame and story illustrations over 2 days. I gave them a little sheet of black and white penguins to cut out similar to those above, and I always leave space at the top of paper for illustrating. So 1st two days were “sloppy copies” and illustrating the story.(So I’ve had time to edit them all after school!) 3rd day we started the tear art penguins and we write our final copies. This keeps the kids engaged with variety. We kept reading penguin stories, non fiction penguin books, and poems and songs along the way.

Yankee Doodle Tune to this goofy song… We love
to sing in my classroom…people should SING MORE!

For the penguins we tore little, 1 cm strips of white paper into a pile of “snowflakes bits”. Then we used a  9 x 9 inch square of dark blue construction paper and glued the little snowflake bits on the bottom of the page forming a small “hill” for penguins to stand on (or snowboard on….LOL ).

We then drew a black “potato” shape on black construction paper and tore around it. This was the body. Glue that on the hill. Then we tore a black round head and tore 2 “finger shaped” flippers. I punched out white holes from a hole puncher and went around each desk and dropped 2 holes for eyes. They glued those on their heads and used a sharpie fine point marker to make tiny black dots on the eyes. Then they tore 2 small, orange feet and  cut out a yellow triangle beak.

I use this bulletin board to see where everybody is in the Writing
Process…each student has his own car with velcro and they
move them as they move through the process.

The little cars and the road are just from border packs I bought at Lakeshore Learning.

Lastly we tore white oval tummies shaped like smaller potatoes and glued them on.  Most kids wanted to add some “snowflakes” coming down…with the leftover white bits, and some hats and scarves with leftover scraps.  And then of course some added guitars, snowboards, microphones….gotta love it!


“I Know a Little Penguin”
(“I’m a Little Teapot” tune)
I know a little penguin
Who sat on some blocks.
He swam in the ocean
And he climbed on the rocks.
He snapped at a seagull.
He snapped at a seal.
He snapped at a fish.
And had a fishy meal!

Fun song we sing to the tune of I’m a Little Teapot
Here’s Katy the Singer Penguin on stage…do you see the microphone? So cute!

The stories they came up with are hysterical. My favorite is Katie the Singer Penguin! (I’m thinking she likes Katie Perry’s California Girls?) This is why we become teachers. Art imitating Life.  Oh yeah!

Paper Bag puppets we do on white lunch bags from Costco
We add this cute poem on the back and SING!

Here’s our cute finished bulletin board. penguins on parade! Too bad I don’t love the cold like I love January projects….yeah…the snow is getting to me kinda…..Bring me my arctic parka P-P-P-L-E-A-S-E!

 Notice some of the kids wrote “Head” and “K2” on their snowboards? I had to chuckle at that. We obviously have some little skiers and snowboarders  here in good old UTAH! Swish…:()

2 thoughts on “Penguins on Parade”

  1. I'm planning a penguin unit and needed some inspiration. Thank you so much for taking the time to post your creative work.

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