"The Emperor's Egg," by Martin Jenkins, details the story of a penguin father trusted with the responsibility of watching over its baby. The mother penguin leaves the egg with the father for two months in the harsh and freezing conditions of Antarctica. This story lends itself to a variety of activities for young children and you can use these in your classroom as you read the story with students.
Have the children write a poem titled, "My Father." The father plays a unique role in the story and provides nearly all of the care of the baby egg while the mother is away. Depending on the age of the children, allow them to write a very simple rhyming poem or a more complex style of poetry such as a haiku. The poem should detail the role of the students' fathers in their lives. If a child does not have a father, ask him to write about a father figure.
Read "The Emperor's Egg" with the children. Ask them to choose their favorite part of the story and create a diorama representing this scene. Give the children small shoe boxes to use for the base of the diorama. Provide them with many craft materials to complete the assignment, such as markers, glitter, cotton balls and paint. Display the students' dioramas in the classroom.
Retell the Story
Use the story as an opportunity to assess a child's comprehension skills. Retelling allows you to evaluate the student's understanding of key concepts in the story. Read the story and then ask a child to retell it to you using his own words. The child should include all major characters in the story, such as the father, mother and baby penguin. He should also include the basic events in the story, such as the mother leaving the egg with its father. Take notes on the student's retelling skills and use this activity as an evaluative piece of his reading skills.
Penguin Fact Poster
Emperor penguins are the main characters in "The Emperor's Egg." Use this as a catalyst to teach children about penguins. Provide them with a variety of age-appropriate research materials from your school's library on penguins. Ask them to find three facts about penguins, such as their food preference, habitat or lifestyle. If the children are young, help them write the facts on poster boards and then ask them to illustrate the fact posters with drawings of penguins. Place the posters in the hallway of your school so that other students have the chance to learn about penguins.
- "The Emperor's Egg"; Martin Jenkins; 2003
- Enchanted Learning: Diorama
- "Teaching Children to Read--Putting the Pieces Together, Third Edition"; D. Ray Reutzel, et al.; 2000
- Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images