Friday, January 27, 2012

Liberal Bird Agenda

"Pushing your liberal bird agenda on a captive audience under the guise of education again!!!"  This was said of me recently by a dear friend after she read a post on facebook about my unit on penguins!  We are still friends and their probably is some truth in the statement.  My students know that I am a total bird-brain.  I love the adventure of being out in the woods looking for gems in the spring called warblers. The excitement of seeing them in my backyard as they travel south in the fall is something that only a fellow birder would understand.  Standing outside in gale force winds and below zero temperatures is something my family has just come to see as normal if it means I might catch a glimpse of a Western Grebe or some unusual gull.  Most family vacation pictures have more than one picture of me behind a pair of binoculars.  I've been accused of feeding the birds better food than my family, by my family,  and my children have claimed I love birds more than I love them...Not true...Most days!
Can you find the Little Blue Penguin?  It is the smallest of all penguins!
Don't you love inventive spellings?  The author on the left "licks"
   Now you know why I couldn't leave penguins quite yet. These birds captured my students attention and they wanted to know more.  I sent each student home with a different breed of penguin to research.  They had to draw a full size replica and write three sentences about their bird.  The results were very entertaining.  I was brought to tears by their wonderful art work and knowledge of these amazing birds. They taught me a thing or two about penguins.  We were able to order them from tallest to shortest, measure them with Unifix cubes and inches.  We were able to compare and contrast, too!  They have drawn a nice flock of admirers and my favorite thing to hear is the fifth and sixth graders say they wish they could be in first grade!  I'm so glad I went to college for four years so I can stay in first grade for a very long time!


  1. How cool, I learned something too. I was wondering why that little penguin was blue! AKA Fairy Penguin. Jenny, how do the kids get the proportions right? (I don't know what a Unifix cube is, but I'll bet that has something to do with it.

    Also like the "souper star." Creative spelling, eh? I've never heard it called that but it's a good patient approach for a teacher I suppose.

  2. I gave them the paper to draw their penguin on. I marked how tall their penguin should be and they took it from there! I was amazed at how well they did. I encouraged help from home making it a family project...The parents have as much fun as the kids!

    Sometimes we call it inventive spelling, too! I wonder why Webster got to decide how to spell everything. Sum of it makes no sense!

    1. Unifix cubes are colorful, interlocking cubes that help children ages four and up learn number and math concepts (and now reading too!).
      Unifix cubes represent 'units' and link in one direction.


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