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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Petunia, the Silly Goose

Have you ever read Petunia, by Roger Duvoisin? 

This book is an oldie, but a goodie! When I was teaching 1st grade, I shared the Petunia series with my students every year. If you can find a copy, try reading it to your students. It provides a great launchpad for...

WORDPLAY: The author always refers to Petunia as a "silly goose." Then he proceeds to prove that description with the story.  In this book, Petunia finds a book. She knows that reading is associated with intelligent beings, so she picks up the book and carries it with her. The other farm animals seek her wise counsel with disastrous results. I was always delighted when my students started referring to themselves as a "silly goose" when they did something foolish. It's so much more benign than some of the terms they bring from home.

GREATER THAN/LESS THAN CONCEPTS: When Petunia tries to help Mother Hen count her chicks, she miscounts and then declares that 6 is more than 9. Timing this book to that point in your math curriculum when you introduce (or review) < and >, will help implant the concepts firmly in your students' brains. You just have to help Petunia count those chicks. And, you just have to talk about the math concepts.  Then add some Petunia problems to your math journals or morning meeting.  For example: 
  • 5 pigs are ___ than 3 pigs.
  • 8 sheep are ___ than 4 sheep.
  • 2 turkeys are ___ than 6 turkeys.
  • 7 ducklings are ___ than 9 ducklings.
Let your students illustrate one or more of these math sentences. They will love it. 

Invariably, some clever child suggested that we do "Petunia math" wherein we would purposely choose the wrong symbol. Thus began some great discussions about whether a given answer was according to Petunia (i.e. incorrect) or according to us (i.e. correct). I just love first graders!

MORAL OF THE STORY: One of the most endearing parts of any Petunia story is that she finally realizes the error of her ways and corrects her behavior.  Oh the possibilities her lessons bring to a group of 6 year olds.

Other books in the Petunia series:


In keeping with farm animals, Ducks in a Row Literacy Center provides practice with letter sounds and phonological awareness.

Get your Ducks in a Row!

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