Book of the Week: Antarctica

Every Monday, I highlight a book from our school bookroom along with lesson plan suggestions. I hope you find this useful, and please leave a comment with any suggestions or additions!

Antarctica, by Helen Cowcher

Narrative nonfiction following Emperor penguins and other critters through a year in Antarctica.

In honor of Pedro and Buddy’s temporary separation, I thought you might be interested in using Cowcher’s book on the southernmost continent. (Although Pedro and Buddy are African penguins, like Pierre from Pierre the Penguin, and they would probably be chilly down there without sweaters and such)

Also, there’s And Tango Makes Three.

Mrs. Burm included a pretty comprehensive social studies-link

There is a CAFE menu included with this mentor text, and I’ve highlighted these as suggested lessons:

  • Summarize text, include sequence of main events. The small amount of text in this book would fit on one page and could be used as a shared reading. Alternately, you could remove the text, copy all the pages, and have students put the pages in order before or after you read the book.
  • Sad penguin.

    Determine and analyze author’s purpose and support with text. I hadn’t fully pondered the deeper message of this book until I encountered GoodReads reviewer Jackie‘s comment, “The subtle message in Antarctica by Helen Cowcher comes ringing through as penguins are frightened and displaced by human machinery. Kids may not immediately pick up on the environmental message, but with a little discussion its meaning will be evident.”

Please add any lessons or supplemental materials to the book bag so future teachers can utilize your good thinking!

Comments and constructive feedback are always welcomed. Please let me know if these lessons were useful in your class!


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