Toward the end of October, we watched a Red Fox wander into our playground. We studied him from the safety of our classroom windows and then through the outside doors. For a good five minutes, we watched him and he watched us. Then he slipped stealthily through a hole under a portable to rest for the day. This encounter fascinated the children and started us on an exploration of animals and their habitats.
We pored through informational texts discovering interesting facts about Canadian animals. We read fiction starring animal characters and learned about hibernation, migration and camouflage. We demonstrated our learning at the Dramatic Centre by role-playing bird families in our nest, by playing veterinarian at our ELP zoo and teaching our friends animal facts just like our Earth Ranger friends do.
The story of The Little Red Hen created an interest in acting out stories with puppets and masks. It also sparked an interest in bread-making through which the children learned the importance of following a recipe closely. It turns out that adding several extra scoops of flour and a bucket of water from the bathroom is very enjoyable, but makes for bread that is the size and weight of a curling stone. Fortunately for us, our Co-op student, Rochelle is an avid baker and made us some very yummy bread. Our home-made butter turned out much better since we stuck to the instructions and we all enjoyed Rochelle’s warm bread spread with our sweet butter. Mmmmmm.
Having been bitten with the acting bug, many of the students put on the play Bear Goes Over the Mountain to rave reviews. It was introduced by the other children singing “The Bear Went Over The Mountain”. Thanks to our Grade Eight reading buddies for assisting with mask-making. A follow-up to this performance was a Reader’s Theatre presentation of Bird Homes.
Animal literature starred in our Math activities too. One of our favourite stories was My “Sister Ate One Hare”. We explored different ways to answer the question, How many animals did the sister eat? We enjoyed it so much that we even wrote our own story, Mr. Poli Ate One Tarantula. We demonstrated our learning by calculating just how much Mr. Poli really can eat. It’s a lot!
One of the highlights of our animal lead was the Earth Ranger’s presentation. The children enjoyed the snake and the antics of Timber the Pine Marten but were absolutely spell-bound as the owl swooped closely over-head. The entire school enjoyed the exhibition and now the staff and students of St. Mary School are campaigning to raise money to help the Earth Rangers save endangered animals.
All in all, we’ve had a lot of fun learning about our animal friends and how we need to respect the environment. We know now that together we CAN make a difference.
For more info on the Earth Rangers please follow link:
(Some images shown of those children approved for this sharing through image release, professional fox photo found at;http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/red-fox/)