Saturday, March 3, 2012
The Persuasion of Penguins
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!