Mr. Popper's Penguins

 I suppose summer is a perfect time for reading Richard & Florence Atwater's 1938 story, Mr. Popper's Penguins, since the gaggle of cold-weather creatures in this book are being raised by an absentminded house painter in middle-America.

Read the first few pages of this 1939 Newbery Honor book courtesy of publisher Little Brown

The book's happy story is accentuated by Robert Lawson's charming and detailed black and white illustrations.  Lawson's illustrations in They Were Strong and Good; earned the 1940 Caldecott.
Lawson, Mr. Popper's Penguins
Don't be afraid to bring some penguin fun into your warm climate as well!  Hurry and read the Atwaters' original tale before you go see the very modern Jim Carrey movie version.
Popper's Penguins trailer
 (Or see the movie and then read the classic book).  Either way, similarities and differences between the novel and the film will be easy to spot, making this story a perfect theme for a compare and contrast activity.

Visit Children's Book-a-Day Almanac to find out more about Mr. Popper's Penguins and the Atwaters.

Bunches of comprehension activities for Mr. Popper's Penguins are available at Homeschool Share.  The dozens of printable penguin activities can be used individually or in a lapbook format.
 See photos of these printables all put together and in use at the homeschooling blog, Walking by the Way.

You can find this Mr. Popper's Penguins vocabulary list and several more vocabulary printables at Classroom Jr.

Refuel from all the hard work with this adorable pear penguin snack from Kiwi Magazine's "Play With Your Food" article.

Then find more penguin fun ideas here.


New Wimpy Kid Coming in November

In March, after author Jeff Kinney's fifth book, The Ugly Truth, and second movie adaptation, Rodrick Rules, had been released, he told CBS, "I'm definitely planning more books.  I don't feel like I've told all the stories that can be told about these characters."  For Wimpy fans who've been waiting on the edge of their seats, the promotional image above, from publisher Abrams, says all there is to say.  No title or cover art have been been released; just this frosty six.  But this teaser does promise that in November 2011 the sixth installation of the hugely renowned Diary of a Wimpy Kid series will debut.

While you and your students wait for November to arrive, take advantage of the anticipation to encourage students to write a description of the book they imagine when they see the frosty six.  Then, they can create a cover design for the Diary of a Wimpy Kid 6 book they predicted.

Transport yourself to a chilly climate this summer as you visit the Wimpy Wonderland at Kinney's website Poptropica.
The game was released just before the sixth book was announced and matches the wintry theme of book six press release.  Experience Greg's snowed in town as you help him find his little brother Manny.

Find out about about cool Wimpy cupcakes and how to read the first Wimpy Kid book online.  Then learn about Cheese Touch cupcakes and how you can listen to songs by the story's fictional rock star Joshie.


Mother's Day Family Tree

My Gran as a little girl with her parents and siblings.
Today is Mother's Day, a perfect time for talking and learning about family.  Let students think about who their mom's mom is and who her mom was, and soon enough you'll be mapping out an entire family tree.

Begin by reading Joan Sweeney's Me and My Family Tree; for a straightforward explanation of ancestry and how to organize family history in a tree graphic.
 Then let students begin writing out their own family's past using one of the free printable trees from Family Tree Templates.  Make sure no one feels left out with the Family Tree Kids! Junior Toolkit, which includes free templates for step-families, adopted families, and a cemetery transcription form (a great activity to help kids relate to family visits to the cemetery.)  Also check out their free digital tree-maker, which students can use to create their family tree using the computer.

Encourage kids to collect family photos to bring the bygone characters to life.

Then, try your hand at a 3D photo tree like this one from Stumbles & Stitches.