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Welcome to kindergarten! Join me as I share my experiences in the classroom, my professional learning and reflections and my love of teaching. Teaching is an exciting journey - come along as I share mine!


Saturday, March 3, 2012

The Persuasion of Penguins

Slice of Life Challenge: Day 3

My first grader is lucky.  She is lucky to be in a classroom with a teacher who is willing to look at all the standards and expectations for a first grader and then put in the effort of making them meaningful.

My daughter has been enjoying a month-long study of penguins.  Her teacher teaches this famous penguin unit every year and it is one of the highlights of the year for her first graders.  It's the time that they all look forward to in all the days leading up to it each year and my daughter is no different.  She couldn't wait for it to begin because she had already heard so much about it from other kids and her teacher.  She'd been saving up all her penguin "stuff" for this moment!  All throughout the first 100 days of school she had been thinking about showing her teacher her penguin socks, her stuffed animal penguins, the talking and dancing penguin she got for Christmas, her penguin books...and the list goes on.

And so it finally arrived and it didn't disappoint.  My daughter has come home every day with new facts she has learned about penguins.  Her class has even decided to raise enough money (by selling tickets and raffling off a blanket) to adopt a Rock Hopper penguin.  Yes, her teacher is awesome!

Her: Do you know why the Rock Hopper penguin is on the "dangered" list?
Me: No, why?
Her: Well...(yes, that's how she talks, my little adult-child)...the sun is coming into the Earth and it gets trapped and can't get out.  That makes the ice melt.  And do you know what happens then?  ...   And do you know why?  Well...      

And on it goes.  She has learned so much about penguins!  But the beauty of it is that she is also learning about writing, both nonfiction and persuasion (they wrote letters to their parents about why we should buy raffle tickets and help them adopt the penguin), reading nonfiction, science, math (they are measuring penguins and comparing how tall they are with how tall the students are) and art (they made posters for the hallway to interest people in buying tickets for the raffle and soon they will be making paper replicas of the penguins they have studied to hang in the hall with labels that give facts about their size, where they live and what they eat). 

She is such a lucky girl to be involved in this unit of study with a teacher who is smart enough and works hard enough to integrate all those standards and expectations into a fun, meaningful unit for her students.  So, you might be asking, how is this teacher going to top this and finish out the rest of the school year with this same level of enthusiasm?  Well...(I guess my daughter gets that from me)...she will begin a unit on farming and farm animals next.  The excitement is already building and they aren't even finished with the penguin unit yet!

Yep, my daughter is one lucky girl!

9 comments:

  1. Let me try this again...you post makes me smile from ear to ear. This is what I want ALL my wanna-be teachers to aspire to be! I am sending them over to read your post right now!

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    1. Thanks Anita, glad you enjoyed it. I have loved hearing (and learning myself) about the penguins from my daughter. I love seeing her enjoy school so much!

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  2. And she will always, forever, remember this time in her life.

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  3. Yes, she is one lucky girl! Not only for the teacher she has but the mother that listens and talks and encourages the excitement of exploring, wondering, and engaging in the world of learning. And yet, I am sad for those that don't have the experiences your daughter has...and so, when I go to work Monday and talk to my students who want to teach, I will tell the story about the teacher that taught so much by engaging her students...and she even taught the "standards" needed!

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    1. Thank you for the kind words Seney. I'm sad for the kids who don't have that too. I think that is why I always feel the push to better myself as a teacher too!

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  4. A passion for learning is another thing your daughter is learning. That takes a gifted teacher. The district is so lucky to have a teacher with that kind of a gift and your daughter will benefit for the rest of her life. Why are these stories not on the front page of the paper!?

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  5. Your post made me smile! I hope I'm having that same positive impact on my first graders as I share my passion for the Iditarod!

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  6. Wow! Your daughter is very lucky to have such an great teacher that makes her excited to learn. You should have her write a post about penguins. I know I would probably learn a lot from her. :)

    jee young

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    1. That's a great idea! I am sure she would not only enjoy it but she also has a lot of information to share! Thanks for the idea!

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