Friday, January 18, 2019

Arctic Animal Fun: Arctic Fox Lesson

Arctic Animal Fun

A month-long unit of preschool ideas 
for different Arctic animals

Welcome to the second week of my Arctic Animal Fun unit. I am really enjoying teaching the Pre-K class at our homeschool co-op. Back in October I did a Pumpkin lesson which included reading books, songs, motion rhymes, and crafts. For the month of January I decided to focus on something cold. In the past I have done snowmen and penguin activities, so I decided to focus on the Arctic this time around. 

Each week there will be books I recommend to go with each topic, a craft or two, songs, motion rhymes/finger plays, and a fun game to play. 

This is the tentative schedule:

Week 2: Arctic Fox
Week 3: Walrus
Week 4: Narwhal
Week 5: Orca or Beluga Whale

As I mentioned last week, we start each class with the song "Good Morning to You" as I used to do at the Montessori. Just a song to get us focused on our day. Then I found some snowy songs/fingerplays in a book I reviewed last year called I'm a Little Teapot!: Presenting Preschool Storytime compiled by Jane Cobb. 

We sang: 

(to the tune of Mary Had a Little Lamb)

Snowflakes whirling all around,

all around, all around

Snowflakes whirling all around,

They are covering the ground.

(The original last line was, "Until they cover all the ground," but it didn't sound quite right to me, so I changed it. We fluttered our fingers all around through the song and spread our arms out for the last line.)

We also did the following finger play:

The Snow Fell Softly

The snow fell softly all the night
flutter fingers downward

It made a blanket soft and white
spread arms out

It covered houses, flowers and ground,
make pointed house, finger flowers, flat hands

But never made a single sound

get quieter and put finger in front of mouth

Then we got into the actual lesson.
Arctic Fox Lesson

As we did last week, we started out by skimming through the book, What Lives in the Arctic?. This book gives some brief information for a handful of arctic animals. This week I only focused on the details for the arctic fox though. 

Then I wanted to connect our lesson to last week's so I read the book, Ice Bear and Little Fox by Jonathan London.

This book is told as a story but gives factual information about arctic foxes following polar bears to find food. However, in this story the arctic fox ends up helping the polar bear by warning him of danger. In real life the fox would either be picking at whatever the polar bear leaves from a kill or trying to snitch it while attempting to not become the polar bear's meal.

We also read the following non-fiction books, both of which have lovely photographs of arctic foxes:

Arctic Foxes by Emily Rose Townsend has one photograph on each double page spread, with information given in easy to read sentences, usually just one or two per page, in large font. It gives physical characteristics, plus information about where they live and what they do. The book concludes with a glossary, suggested books and websites, plus an index.

Arctic Fox: Very Cool by Stephen Person is actually more appropriate (in my opinion) for elementary school children. There is a lot of information on each page, and more detail. However, I did use the book to share some of the pictures, such as what a den would look like, what baby foxes look like, the difference between their summer fur and their winter fur, plus an encounter with a polar bear.


We then made our Textured Paper Plate and Tissue Paper Arctic Fox that I highlighted in this week's Littles Learning Link Up. This was a craft that was included in my Arctic Fun Round Up at the beginning of the month.

Science Lesson

This week we focused on how the arctic fox is designed to stay hidden in its surroundings. We talked about the big word "camouflage" which some children recognized once they heard it because of their parents wearing camouflage when going hunting. We saw how the brown fur helps the arctic fox stay hidden in the summer, and how the bushy white fur keeps it camouflaged in the winter.

Then we made a "Camouflage and the Arctic Fox" booklet.

I just folded a piece of cardstock in half. On one side I wrote "Summer" in brown, and on the other, I wrote "Winter" in blue. 

We used brown construction paper cut into a hill shape, plus brown and green markers for the summer side, and more white tissue paper squares and cotton balls for the winter side. Plus I found a fox template on Google, put it in my word processing program, shrunk it down to size and printed out enough for each child to have one brown and one white fox.

Here is my sample of what the finished books were to look like.


We sang our "Did You Ever See a Polar Bear?" song from last week, but I added a verse for the Arctic Fox.

Did You Ever See a Polar Bear?

(To the Tune of Did you Ever See a Lassie?)

by Karen Waide

Did you ever see a polar bear

a polar bear, a polar bear

Did you ever see a polar bear

Sliding on the ice?

Sliding this way and that way

Sliding this way and that way

Did you ever see a polar bear

sliding on the ice?

Motions to go with first verse.
Shrug shoulders with hands raised as in questioning for the first three lines.
Then step and slide left and right a few times.
Go back to shrugging for the last line and step to the side one last time.

Did you ever see an arctic fox

an arctic fox, an arctic fox

Did you ever see an arctic fox

following a bear?

Creeping this way and that way

Creeping this way and that way

Did you ever see an arctic fox

following a bear?

Motions to go with second verse.
Shrug shoulders with hands raised as in questioning for the first three lines.
Then put your hands in front of you and pretend to creep.
Then creep quickly left and quickly right on tiptoes.
Go back to shrugging for the last line and finish off by pretending to creep forward.

And we sang one more song I came up with

Oh Can You See the Arctic Fox

(to the tune of Do You Know the Muffin Man)

Oh can you see the arctic fox
Shrug shoulders and hold hands up questioning gesture

the arctic fox, the arctic fox
Continue to shrug shoulders

Oh can you see the arctic fox
Still shrugging

hiding in the snow.
Cover eyes with both hands

You can’t see the arctic fox
Shake head 

the arctic fox, the arctic fox
Continue to shake head

You can’t see the arctic fox
Still shaking head.

he’s camouflaged so well.  
Cover eyes with both hands


Then we played a game where the children had to take a beanbag (that I made with white socks and beans) and toss it onto the white snow on the top of the brown dirt so it would become camouflaged.

And then we played follow the leader to remind us that the arctic fox followed the polar bear. Each child took a turn being the leader.

We ended our class time with the following finger play, also from the book I'm a Little Teapot!: Presenting Preschool Storytime compiled by Jane Cobb.

Dressing for Winter Weather

Let’s put on our mittens
put on mittens

And button up our coat
button coat

Wrap a scarf snugly
throw scarf around neck

Around our throat.
Tug one end down

Pull on our boots now
pull on boots with both hands

Fasten the straps
fasten with fingers

And tie on tightly
Our warm winter caps
pull on cap and tie

Then open the door
turn doorknob and pull

And out we go
step through pretend door

Into the soft and feathery snow
look up and pretend to catch snow

Stop by next week for the Walrus lesson.

Joining in with other homeschoolers at:

Homeschool Collection {Monthly Round UP}

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