Penguins invade Gesu School
At the end of January, Gesu School launched a new program, Gesu Reads Together. The school embarked on this project to promote family literacy and demonstrate connections between academic subjects across the curriculum.
During the months of January and February, students in kindergarten through fourth grade read the classic children’s book Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard Atwater, and class work connected to the themes of the book, covering topics such as penguins, Polar regions, and the water cycle.
Each child received a copy of the book, and the Gesu School Parent Teacher Organization arranged many activities, including a kick-off assembly featuring Mr. Popper (an actor with Great Lakes Theater Company) reading the first two chapters of the book to the student body.
Over the course of the two-month program, an ice sculptor carved a 4-foot-tall penguin on the front lawn of the school, and students traveled to Playhouse Square to see a production of “Mr. Popper’s Penguins.” Students watched videos from the Akron Zoo’s penguin exhibit, and the movie “Happy Feet,” and a DJ taught line dancing to all the students, in kindergarten through eighth grade. There were trivia contests each day, engineering challenges, and penguins decorated the entire school.
Marjorie Gessner is STREAM coordinator at Gesu School in University Heights.