Number one for English language teachers

Keith's Corner: Entry 20: Forest animals

Type: Article

In his 20th diary entry, Keith invites us to explore the forest and the animals that make it their home.

Habitats

You can’t speak of forest animals without mentioning their natural habitat: the forest. In fact, habitats are something we spoke about a lot this week with our pupils.

Our youngest learners found themselves trying to grab hold of some honey without waking a sleeping bear in its cave! Props required? A table, a bear mask, a drawing of a jar of honey and a blanket. This made for a very dynamic start to the week.

Another activity we did with the toddlers and pre-schoolers, fitting in with our forest-animal theme, was a cut-paste-colour craft. It featured a colourless forest – including mountains in the distance, a lake and, of course, lots of trees – that had to be filled with different animals. After finishing, we had many colourful forest pictures to stick to our windows!

This paved the way for Create an Animal Forest, a fun, interactive computer activity that was especially loved by our pre-schoolers.

Reading

Books are an integral part of each and every one of our themes. Story time, quite like snack time, has become an Anglia School tradition and no session goes by without it. Some of the books we read to and with the pupils included: The Big Wide-Mouthed Frog with a punch line the kids quickly got the hang of; We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, an exciting tale of one family’s journey to a bear’s den; Nuts to You about a squirrel’s increasingly intrepid explorations; and Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf by Lois Ehlert. We’ve got several of Ehlert’s books stored in our humble library and re-reading them is always a pleasure. We also read: the traditional Bulgarian story The Blackbird and the Fox (with mask templates included); Oliver Finds His Way; and what proved to be the most thrilling item on this theme’s book list, The Great Kapok Tree: A Tale of the Amazon Rain Forest – it is highly recommended due to its cross-curricular content.

Action!

This week, we prepared several polystyrene dice with pictures of forest animals stuck to the sides. Whenever someone rolled one of them, the others had to say the name of the animal that landed face up. One way to make this activity even more fun is to get the kids to walk like or make the sound of that animal. Learning names and sounds was easy as pie thanks to this animal sounds video and this wonderful animal sounds song by A J Jenkins.

The action game What’s the Time, Mr Wolf? has become another Anglia School favourite. Apart from being an energizer after a concentrated activity like story time, a matching game or writing, it is also a good way to revise the hours of the day – after the sheep pose the question to Mr Wolf, he or she (with back turned) has to answer ‘It’s ____ o’clock!’ Then, the sheep, aka the kids, take that many steps forward until, of course, Wolf decides it’s time for breakfast, lunch or dinner and has to chase them! And this game is, of course, good for honing running and ducking skills.

More forest art

The theme’s stand-out arts activity exploits the Impressionist technique of Pointilism. We cut equal-sized rectangles of thick black card for each pupil. They then had the choice of using either white pencil or white crayon to mark the outlines of their forest painting. After the outlining phase, each pupil was given a palette with the main colours and a flat-ended painting stick. This was followed by instructions to paint their pictures one dot at a time and to use as much colour as they liked. The kids were totally overwhelmed by their results.

A truly rewarding end to an exciting week!

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