Lessons & Units :: Pierre the Penguin: A True Story 1st Grade Unit

Read-Aloud Lesson: Pierre the Penguin: A True Story

Lesson Plan

Pierre the Penguin: A True Story | AD580L

Pierre the Penguin: A True Story
Learning Goal
Enumerate the sequence of events in the story that culminated with Pierre growing new feathers in order to discuss the main idea of the story.
Necessary Materials
Provided:
  1. Detailed lesson plan
  2. Graphic organizer for guided practice
  3. Independent student worksheet

Not Provided:
Pierre the Penguin: A True Story
 
  1. This lesson is a close reading of the entire text. So it’s important to engage students often, to enhance their learning. Here are two tips:

    •   When you ask the more complex questions from the lesson, ask students to “turn-and-talk” or “buddy-talk” before answering.

    •   Once you are deep into the lesson, instead of asking students every question provided, ask them to share with you what questions they should be asking themselves at that point in the text. This is also a great opportunity to use "turn-and-talk."
       
  2. Suggested teacher language is included in the lesson.

  3. We recommend you read the book once to your students, either the day or morning before teaching the lesson.

  4. This research-based, read-aloud lesson may seem long. Why do students need the lesson to be this way?
 

Part 1: Teacher Modeling and Questioning

 

Write the student-friendly learning goal on the board, then read the learning goal out loud with the class:

We will focus on the important events in the story as we read.

 
Prepare Students for the Lesson
 
Make sure all students know what a penguin is. A penguin is a large bird with black and white feathers that does not fly. It lives near water and swims. If possible, show students the live penguin webcams made available by the California Academy of Sciences at: http://www.calacademy.org/webcams/penguins/.
 
Read page 1 out loud, then stop. Page 1 ends with, “...a hard time.” Show students the accompanying illustration. If possible, always show students the illustrations on the pages you read throughout the lesson.
1.
Teacher asks: This page has given us a lot of information. One thing we learned is that this is the true story of Pierre. Who, or what, is Pierre?
 
Students answer: Pierre is a penguin.
2.
Teacher asks: Where is Pierre the penguin?
 
Students answer: Pierre the penguin is in a museum.
3.
Teacher says: A museum is a building that people can visit to see a big collection of things. Some museums have big collections of art, like paintings and statues. Other museums have big collections of animals. That is probably the kind of museum where Pierre is.
 
Read page 2 out loud, then stop. Page 2 ends with, “...20 in all!”
4.
Teacher asks: An aquarium is a tank, or container, of water. It can be as small as a fishbowl or as big as a room. Aquariums are homes for plants and animals that live in or near water. What kind of animals live in the aquarium we just read about?
 
Students answer: Penguins live in the aquarium we just read about.
5.
Teacher says (models thinking): Think about what we have read so far. We read that Pierre is a penguin. We read that at the museum there is an aquarium where penguins live. I wonder whether one of those penguins is Pierre.
Read more
 
Read pages 3-5 out loud, then stop. Page 5 ends with, “...is nice.”
6.
Teacher asks: What kind of places do African penguins like to live in—warmer places or colder places?
 
Students answer: African penguins like to live in warmer places.
 
Read page 6 out loud, then stop. Page 6 ends with, “...by name.”
7.
Teacher says (displaying picture on pages 6 and 7): Look at this picture, which shows what we just read about. Here is Pam, feeding the penguins. Here is the wall painted to look like the sky but which is really just a wall of the aquarium. Here are the penguins that Pam calls by name. She knows what their names are because they wear bands, or little straps, on their wings, that have their names on them.
 
Read page 8. Page 8 ends with, “...bottom was bare.”
8.
Teacher asks: What is the name of the penguin that Pam examined?
 
Students answer: Pierre is the name of the penguin that Pam examined.
9.
Teacher asks (displaying picture on page 9): What did Pierre look like?
 
Students answer (make sure both of the following responses are given):
  • Pierre’s feathers were gone.
  • Pierre’s bottom was bare.
10.
Teacher asks: Pam was an aquatic biologist, or a scientist who studies animals that live in or near water. She saw that Pierre was in a jam. To be “in a jam” means to be in trouble or to have a problem. Why was Pierre in a jam?
 
Students answer: Students may respond that Pierre was in a jam because his feathers were gone, that his bottom was bare, or both.
11.
Teacher says (models thinking): We have now met Pierre the penguin, whom this story is about. We have also learned that Pierre was in a jam because his feathers were gone and his bottom was bare. Remember that our goal for this lesson is to focus on important events in this story. If the person or animal that a book is about is having a big problem, the discovery of that problem is usually an important event. So Pam noticing that Pierre was in a jam and had no feathers is an important event in this story.
 
Read pages 9-11 out loud, then stop. Page 11 ends with, “...shivered still.”
12.
Teacher asks: What was Pierre afraid of?
 
Students answer: Pierre was afraid of going for a swim.
13.
Teacher asks: Why was Pierre afraid of going for a swim?
 
Students answer: Pierre would get too cold.
14.
Teacher asks: Think about what happened to Pierre’s feathers. Why might Pierre have gotten cold if he went swimming?
 
Students answer: Pierre might have gotten cold because he did not have feathers to keep him warm.
15.
Teacher says: Pam had two ideas to help Pierre. One was getting a vet to prescribe pills. That means having an animal doctor order medicine for Pierre to take.
16.
Teacher asks: What was the other idea Pam tried?
 
Students answer: Pam tried a heater.
17.
Teacher asks: Why might Pam have tried using a heater?
 
Students answer: Pam might have tried using a heater to warm up Pierre.
18.
Teacher asks: Did either of Pam’s ideas work?
 
Students answer: No, neither of Pam’s ideas worked.
19.
Teacher says (models thinking): Neither of Pam’s ideas worked, but they were still important. Remember the big event that we talked about earlier in the story? Pam noticed that Pierre was in a jam because he had no feathers. Now Pam has tried two different things to help Pierre out of his jam. These two things—using a heater and having a vet prescribe pills—are also important events. Even though they do not work, they are examples of Pam trying hard to help Pierre.
 
Read page 12. Page 12 ends with, “...felt before.”
20.
Teacher says: The word “brayed” means “made a loud, unpleasant sound.” The other penguins were making loud, unpleasant sounds at Pierre.
21.
Teacher asks: How did Pierre feel when the other penguins brayed at him?
 
Students answer: Pierre felt worse than he did before.
 
Read pages 13-14. Page 14 ends with, “‘You bet!’”
22.
Teacher asks: Pam came up with a new idea for helping Pierre. What was her new idea?
 
Students answer: Her new idea was for Pierre to wear a wetsuit.
23.
Teacher says: A wetsuit is something people or animals sometimes wear when they swim. It is a piece of clothing that goes over their whole body and keeps them warm underwater.
24.
Teacher asks: Think about the important events in the story that we talked about earlier. Now think about Pam coming up with the idea of Pierre wearing a wetsuit. Is Pam coming up with the wetsuit idea an example of an important event in the story? Why or why not?
 
Students answer: Responses may vary, but students should recognize that Pam coming up with the wetsuit idea is an example of an important event. Like her ideas of using a heater and having a vet prescribe pills for Pierre, the wetsuit idea is an example of Pam trying to help Pierre solve his big problem.
 
Read pages 15-23. Page 23 ends with, “Splash! Whee-e-e!” As you read, define “neoprene” on page 16 as “a soft rubbery fabric used to make most wetsuits.”
25.
Teacher asks: How did Pierre feel in his wetsuit?
 
Students answer:
  • Pierre felt warm. (make sure this response is given)
  • Pierre felt nice.
26.
Teacher asks: What did Pierre do after Pam put the wetsuit on him?
 
Students answer (responses may vary but should resemble the following):
  • Pierre dived into the water.
  • Pierre went for a swim.
27.
Teacher says: Pierre went swimming! That is definitely an important event.
 
Read pages 24-27. Page 27 ends with, “...and behold.”
28.
Teacher asks: After six weeks went by, Pierre was no longer cold. What else changed about Pierre?
 
Students answer: Pierre grew new feathers.
 
Finish reading the story.
 

Part 2: Guided Practice and Discussion

 
For this oral lesson, it is suggested to have the completed graphic organizer on the board with the answers concealed. After students provide a correct answer, reveal the corresponding answer on the graphic organizer.
1.
Teacher asks: What was the first important event we identified in the story?
 
If students cannot remember, ask them what Pam first noticed about Pierre when she was observing the penguins in the aquarium.
 
Students answer (responses may vary and include the following):
  • Pam noticed that Pierre was in a jam.
  • Pam noticed that Pierre’s feathers were gone.
  • Pam noticed that Pierre’s bottom was bare.
2.
Teacher asks: What idea did Pam try in order to warm up Pierre?
 
Students answer: Pam tried a heater.
3.
Teacher asks: What was Pam’s other idea at that time to help Pierre?
 
Students answer: Pam’s other idea was to have the vet prescribe pills to Pierre.
4.
Teacher asks: Neither of Pam’s first two ideas worked. What was the next idea Pam tried?
 
Students answer: Pam tried making a wetsuit for Pierre.
Read more
5.
Teacher asks: What did Pierre do after Pam put the wetsuit on him?
 
Students answer: Pierre went for a swim.
6.
Teacher asks: After six weeks went by, Pierre was no longer cold. What else changed about Pierre?
 
Students answer: Pierre grew new feathers.
 
After the answers for the graphic organizer have been completed and discussed with the class, ask the following two extension questions.
 
Teacher asks: Now we have a list of the important events in the story in the order they happened. Based on this list, what is the main idea of the story? The main idea of a story is a statement that tells us what the story is mostly about. Support your answer with information from the list.
 
Students answer (responses may vary but should resemble the following): The main idea of the story is that Pam helped solve the problem Pierre had with his feathers. All the events on the list are about Pierre’s feather problem, his problem getting solved, or Pam trying to solve his problem.
 
Teacher asks: Why was Pam able to help Pierre? Give at least two reasons. Your reasons should be based on information in the book.
 
Students answer: Responses may vary, as long as they are supported by the story. Examples include the following:
  • Pam was able to help Pierre because she observed him and noticed his problem. If she had not paid close attention to the penguins, she would not have noticed Pierre’s problem and would never have tried to solve it.
  • Pam was able to help Pierre because she was very determined. After her first two ideas for helping Pierre did not work, she did not give up. She came up with the idea of a wetsuit for Pierre, and it worked.
  • Pam was able to help Pierre because she was creative. She noticed her dog wearing a raincoat and thought of something like it that Pierre could wear.
 

Part 3: Student Independent Practice

 
Read each question out loud to your students and have each student complete the worksheet independently. For questions 5 A) and 6, you can have students draw their answers, answer orally, or write their answers depending on your students’ progress. If you have them write their answers, you may want to write the word(s) on the board for them to copy. Question 7 is a class discussion question.

Texts & Materials

Standards Alignment

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