Teaching Mr. Popper’s Penguins

Mr. Popper’s Penguins is one of those rare classic tales that students love! I’ve discovered that this book is perfect for both third and fourth graders who love the silliness of a family dealing with a house full of penguins.

The story centers around Mr. Popper, a house painter who longs for adventure. He writes to Admiral Drake, an Antarctic explorer, who ships him a penguin. Mr. Popper names the penguin Admiral Cook after the explorer. Soon Admiral Cook becomes lonely, so the zoo sends Mr. Popper a second penguin. The two have 10 young ones. The humorous tale begins in earnest as the penguins turn the Popper’s house and life upside down.

Mr. Popper's Penguins Teaching Ideas

Five Activities to use with Mr. Popper’s Penguins

Activity #1 [Music]

Mr. Popper had the idea of training the penguins to perform for an audience to earn money.  They moved the piano down to the cellar. Mrs. Popper played three different pieces of music. The penguins were trained to perform a certain act when each piece of music was played on the piano.

Click on this link to listen to the three pieces of music. Explain how the music and the movements work together.

Activity #2 [Penguin Crafts]

Click on the images to visit the different sites for instructions. [Note: The craft and food ideas come from various websites. The links will take you to a new window. Once you have read about the activity, you can close the window to return to this page.]

Penguin Craft


These super cut penguins are made from paper towel rolls. The website
provides step-by-step instructions with photos.


Penguin Craft

How cute is this!! The penguin is made form a toilet paper roll.


Penguin Paintings

The website explains “How to Draw a Penguin”


Torn Paper Penguin Craft

 Torn Paper Penguin


Activity #3 [Penguin Edibles]

Frozen Banana Penguins


Activity #4 [Ten Interesting Facts]

Read “Ten Interesting Facts about Penguins,” and then use the organizer to have students write their own interesting facts about penguins.


This anchor chart was created with the help of a small group of RTI students. The students wrote their facts on lined sticky notes. Students then created this simple penguin from construction paper. The anchor chart was quick and easy to make, and the students were super proud of the finished product.

Penguin Facts Anchor Chart

Penguin Anchor ChartActivity #5 [Sample Writing Activities from Mr. Popper’s Penguins Book Unit]

Click here to download this free sample from Mr. Popper’s Penguins  Book Unit.

Free Graphic Organizer to use with Mr. Popper's Penguins

Free sample from Mr. Popper's Penguins Interactive Notebook and Activity UnitFree sample from Mr. Popper's Penguins  Interactive Notebook and Activity Unit

Free sample from Mr. Popper's Penguins  Interactive Notebook and Activity Unit

Do you need additional teaching resources. Check out Mr. Popper’s Penguins Book Unit. Here are  a few sample pages below:Mr. Popper's Penguins Book Unit ~ Vocabulary Word Cards and Practice Booklet

 Vocabulary Word Cards and Practice Booklet

Mr. Popper's Penguins Boo Unit ~~ Foldable Graphic Organizers to Teach Common Core Skills

Foldable Graphic Organizers to Teach Common Core Skills

Gay Miller



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