Kindergarten teachers Michelle Willis and Denise Johnson wanted to get their students' families a little more involved, and have some fun in the process.

The two Kyrene de la Sierra Elementary teachers hosted mostly fathers and a couple grandfathers at their room on Wednesday, to share with them what their sons and daughters had been working on. Willis and Johnson called the event "Pops and Penguins," with different stations set up to highlight the aquatic birds.

"We were learning about penguins and we wanted to do something fun and something that we could involve the fathers in," Willis said. "The other goal was to build a stronger home and school connection."

The dads followed their kids around in an open house setting and helped them with projects. They got to see what it was like during a normal day of school.

"I wanted to spend time with her and see what she is doing," grandfather Doug Gordon said of his granddaughter, Gianna Panico.

Willis said they have hosted the moms in the past, and there were even a few in the classroom on Wednesday, for a Spa Day. This was the first time they had ever done an event for fathers.

"The dads got a day to come and have fun with their children while increasing their knowledge about penguins," Johnson said. "The events that we are doing today engaged both parties."

The fathers stayed from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and most of them took their lunch break to visit the classroom.

"I took a break to come and visit her," David Rivers said of his daughter, Alayna. "I have to get back to a meeting right after this."

• Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or troemhild@ahwatukee.com

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