As the weather becomes chilly and the snow is falling my students have worked on their own winter tales with penguins at the theme. The follow tale that I am going to tell you is true with a few embellishments along the way. Every good story has them.
by Christy Berry
Once upon a time, there were two teachers who loved penguins. Mrs. Forsman’s second grade classroom was on the top floor and filled with warm sunlight from the large wall of windows. Every day at the same time Mrs. Berry traveled with her cart to her friend’s classroom. This cart contained the most amazing bottles of creativity, challenges, talent, paint, and glue. There were also paints, brushes, scissors, and yards of color parchments. On one particularly chilly winter day the cart held something special. This special surprise was in a wooden box that would change its size each day. Mrs. Berry gathered the students close on the carpet and revealed the box. She explained that right now the box was small but soon it would grow in size. She placed the box next to her while she showed the students her little black and white friend named Chilly. She asked the students if they thought penguins were artists. A great debate ensued. The chime of the bell stopped the debate and they all said their good-byes as they departed for the afternoon.
The next day came and Mrs. Berry brought her cart with the most amazing trinkets and things; most importantly the wooden box. Today is was a little bit heavier and fatter. It was still easy to move and Mrs. Berry placed it next to her as the students gathered around. A few notice the box and remembered the debate. Today the students created a live action art picture. “I’m Foreground!” exclaimed one student. “I’m Middle-ground,” another student stated. “I’m Background,” said the last student with enthusiasm. Afterwards all the students gathered in the foreground and looked at artwork from famous artists. At the end of class the art teacher packed away her box into the cart. It was a bit heavier than before.
The following day Mrs. Berry returns and exclaims, “My, my. You have become bigger.” She carries the box over to the carpet and the students gather round. She takes out her large book and all 365 penguins spill out from the pages. As she reads the penguins and words dance among the children and they spot Chilly. After all the penguins climb back into the book they say good-bye to Chilly. Mrs. Berry gives the students instructions on how to create their own picture. Again, the bell chimes and everything is put back onto the cart.
The students were so busy the next day with cutting different sized penguin bodies and painting that they didn’t notice how the box started to creak and expand. Mrs. Berry and Mrs. Forsman both noticed and smiled at one another because they knew what was feeding the box’s rapid growth. Now while Mrs. Berry helped students create their picture, Mrs. Forsman began the student’s writing journey. She masterfully helped the student develop their own penguin stories. The words began to flow and stories spun around the students. Mrs. Forsman used her purple editing pen to help students with words and structure. By now the box was rocking and getting much heavier. At the end of class, Mrs. Berry could hardly put it back on the cart.
The next when Mrs. Berry came she brought a different cart and the larger wooden box. This cart had a plug and side doors. She unlocked the lock and took out the contents one by one. Each student received a very silver rectangle box with keys and a screen. Soon the sound of tapity tap filled the classroom as students filled their box with words and characters. One by one, Mrs. Berry took each student and recorded their voice into the story. Student images were also digitally captured and placed within the story. Mrs. Forsman worked with students to navigate the student’s silver box. It was a beautiful dance to see between the teachers and students. The music enticed the wooden box to rock and it grew. As the music swelled the box fell off the cart and expanded.
Finally, when the project was completed the box stopped growing. It was the size of large elephant crate. On the outside a stamp appeared. Mrs. Berry, Mrs. Forsman, and the whole class stared at what was in their room. They all read it together, “Inside me you find knowledge, creativity, wisdom, collaboration, fun, and a whole lot of penguins.” They all laughed.
If you would like make your own box grow click on the link to the lesson Penguins of Different Sizes. You will be directed to my detailed lesson plan on Prezi. If you would like to watch one of the Penguin stories click here. This project was a collaboration project between Mrs. Forsman and me. I am going to give much credit to Mrs. Forsman for all her help with this project. She helped the students with their stories and writing. She also set up computers and was extra helpful with the students’ editing and technology questions. Without her we would only have the illustrations for the stories.