Mem Fox Author Study

Mrs. Opyr

Kindergarten and Grade 1


This project evolved out of using Mem Fox's books to support other subject areas. Many of the titles related to Health and Life Skills in grade one. One of the other books I used as part of the science unit, Needs of Plants and Animals. Other titles related to Religion and our study of space in kindergarten.

Grade One Health and Life Skills:

We started our lesson with reading Wilfred Gordon McDonald Partridge:

After we read the story we talked about good memories and bad memories and why we remember them (because we had such strong feelings about the event at the time). Above are some of the memories the children recalled.

Then I asked the children to bring in a memento that triggered a memory for them from their past. We used the digital camera to take pictures of the item and then typed a sentence or two to go with it.

This memento reminds me of my grandma because when I was a baby she gave him to me. His nickname is Eddie, but his real name is Yeddy.            Ashton

This bear reminds me of the time my dad got me a whole pack of these bears and a dog. My sisterís friend gave one to me and my sister got one. I like to play with it.               Lilybeth

This medal reminds me of the soccer team that I played for. We won the finals.        Tommy


My teddy reminds me of my uncle who is my momís brother. He gave me my teddy bear a long time ago.                          Avery

This bear reminds me of my dadís work because I got it from one of my dadís special workmen who is really nice.           Teigen

My angel bear is special because it reminds me of my grandpa when he died. I bought the bear in my grandpaís shop in the hospital.                     Steven

These shells remind me of the time my family and me went to the beach. I just found them lying on the sand.    Christopher

This bandana reminds me of Jasonís birthday because we dressed up as pirates.    Sheldon


As a class we talked about friendship and what it means to be a good friend. On a second reading of the story we talked about how Wilfred Gordon McDonald Partridge was a good friend to Miss Nancy Alison Delacourt Cooper. The children independently  created a chart that demonstrated three traits that make a good friend. This activity correlates with Alberta Learningís Health and Life Skills outcome: The student will identify the characteristics of being a good friend.

Following a discussion about ways we show people that we like them or love them we read the stories: Koala Lou and Harriet, Youíll Drive Me Wild! These activities supported the learning outcome: The student will compare and contrast positive and negative nonverbal communication and associated feelings.  We created a class list suggesting ways that we can express our feelings without hurting others.

We decided to do an associated book review for the story Koala Lou. The students rated the book on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the best and then told why they rated it this way. To support the review they drew a picture of their favorite part.


I think you'll like the part where Koala Lou thinks his mom doesn't like him anymore.                                     Jason

Book Reviews

The part where Koala Lou climbs the tree is the best.                                          Gina

When mom gave baby a hug was the best part.                                      Jenae When Koala Lou was sad it made me sad.                                                 Tommy I liked the book because Koala Lou came in second place.                                Patrick

This book is great because Koala Lou is a good climber.                           Elizabeth The best part is when Koala Lou hugged her mother.                                         Teigen I like the part when her mom said, "I love you Koala Lou.                                      Lilybeth

In response to Harriet, Youíll Drive Me Wild we also explored strategies we could use to solve problems. We discussed how to be a good listener and show youíre interested in solving the problem by being interested in the conversation, paying attention to the other person and not interrupting while the other person shares his/her feelings. This was done by role playing a situation that arose at recess time over soccer and being in goal. These activities support the Alberta Learning Health and Life Skills outcome: The student will demonstrate ways to resolve conflict, with limited adult assistance.

Grade One Science:

Our discussion for the unit of the Needs of Plants and Animals began with brainstorming what animals provide for us that we value. The children were divided into groups and given a piece of chart paper and asked to share ways that animals provide for us.



One category was recreation or entertainment. We spent some time discussing zoos and I shared Mem Foxís book, Zoo-Looking. We furthered our discussion by talking about how the needs of these animals are met and how this is the same or different from how the needs of animals in the wild are met.

I used art, language arts and technology to respond to this book. First we practiced drawing some animals that you might see in the zoo. Next we followed the illustratorís technique in this book to make our own zoo animal page. Following this we created a class book following the pattern, I looked at a ___________ and a _________ looked back at me. The students wrote a rough draft of the pattern and then typed the sentence up on the computer. Here are their pages for you to enjoy.

I looked at the ape and the ape looked back.


I looked at the giraffe and the giraffe looked back.


I looked at the snowy owl and the snowy owl looked back.                        Jason

I looked at the bear and the bear looked back.


I looked at the panda bear and the panda bear looked back.        Avery

I looked at the swan and the swan looked back.


I looked at the hippopotamus and the hippopotamus looked back.                      Sheldon

I looked at the tigers and the tigers looked back.        Tyler


I looked at the duck and the duck looked back.


I looked at the panther and the panther looked back.                  David

I looked at the elephant and the elephant looked back.


I looked at the lion and the lion looked back.


I looked at the sloth and the sloth looked back.



 looked at the turtle and the turtle looked back.


I looked at the flamingo and the flamingo looked back.                     Gina

I looked at the rhinoceros and the rhinoceros looked back.



I looked at the ostrich and the ostrich looked back.


I looked at the bunny and the bunny looked back.     


I looked at the fish and the fish looked back.


I looked at the horse and the horse looked back.



I looked at the leopard and the leopard looked back.



Kindergarten Math and Religion Outcomes and Space theme:

One of our topics for exploration that evolved out of student interest was how we get night and day. We spent some time exploring the location of the sun in relation to the earth when it is night and when it is day. This conversation was in response to a book called Night and Day from Pearsonís Collections series. 

Following this we talked about the activities that take place at night. We had a school wide pajama day where all the students gathered to hear Mrs. Cunningham read, Audrey Woodís story, The Napping House. This is the perfect story for role-play. Following this we shared Mem Foxís stories that have to do with nighttime in our class: Night Noises, A Bedtime Story, and Time for Bed. As a follow-up activity to the stories: A Bedtime Story, Time for Bed and the Napping House we did a graph to see which book was the favorite in our class.

Please e-mail us with your favorite Mem Fox story we would love to hear from you.

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