RTPI Collaborates with Lincoln School Library to Learn More about Biographies & Birds

“Roger Tory Peterson was interested in moths all summer,” said Tina Scherman, Roger Tory Peterson Institute educator, as she read from For the Birds, The Life & Times of Roger Tory Peterson. “He learned all about the lifecycle of the silkworm moth. He went out and collected cocoons of the silkworm moths and brought them into his house and put them on his mother’s curtains. What do you think happened?”

“I think they turned into a moth!” said one student.

“And they did!” said Mrs. Scherman as she turned the page in the book. “Roger thought it was super cool.”

“Is this a true story?” asked another student.

“Yes, it’s a biography of Roger Tory Peterson so it is a true story of his life.”

Mrs. Scherman recently worked with Jennie Vaughn, Lincoln and Love Elementary School’s Library Media Specialist, to bring Roger Tory Peterson to life through books and field guides for second through fourth graders. The purpose of the program was to introduce and instruct who Roger Tory Peterson is, the journey of his life, and how they can take what he created and incorporate it into their lives.

“I really liked listening to Mrs. Scherman because I just like birds,” said Lincoln Elementary School second grader Gavin Maggio. “They are so pretty. I always go bird watching with my dad and grandpa. My grandpa told me about Roger Tory Peterson but I learned even more today. When we go bird watching we usually take binoculars, stuff to clean the binoculars, and snacks, for us – not the birds. We have seen a Trumpeter swan, oriole, and a Cooper’s hawk. Today, I was excited to hear the sounds of the Trumpeter swan and the Snowy owl birdcall. I had never heard them before and they were cool.  I hope that next time we go bird watching we can see a loon, because their sound is cool.”

For the Birds is a forty-minute presentation on the children’s biography For the Birds, The Life of Roger Tory Peterson.  Roger Tory Peterson is most famous for writing and illustrating A Field Guide to Birds. He was a renowned artist, writer, photographer and naturalist who used his gifts to educate millions of people to know and appreciate the natural world. Author Peggy Thomas’s well-researched text, Laura Jacque’s beautiful illustrations, related objects and activities allow participants to make personal, social, cultural, historical and scientific connections to this famous Jamestown historical figure.

Ms. Vaughn thought it would be a perfect connection for her students during their library time. Mrs. Scherman didn’t just read the biography; she wove the story of his life, with props and various illustrations from the biography. With second grade, she told his life story and then had a variety of plush birds that sang the corresponding birdcall, used an identification poster for students to correctly match up the correct bird names, and played a take on bingo. Third and fourth graders also heard the story, but went on to play “Jeo-birdy,” a hands-on game where students used the Roger Tory Peterson Field Guides to identify specific birds on the screen in different categories.

“Mrs. Scherman did an amazing job of bringing this local author and painter to life. She is a knowledgeable and resourceful educator,” said Ms. Vaughn. “What I love most about her presentation is that it is packed with differentiated instruction and hands-on activities for all students levels and learning styles. No prior knowledge was needed for this and all students could participate and learn. Following her presentation, students were asking us, where the bird books were and do you have any field guides to sign out?  That is true learning, when students are not only engaging in content but inspired to independently seek further knowledge.”

posted on 04/08/2015 - filed under: Academics, Community, ELA, Elementary School, Spotlight, Staff, Students