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Foxtrot: Teaching Notes

Foxtrot, Becka Moor (author, illus.), The Five Mile Press, 2015.  

Review.

imageFoxtrot is a born dancer. He simply can’t get enough of the sport. But when his trotting and tripping feet cause pandemonium in the town, his friends step in to bring Foxtrot’s chaos to a screeching halt. Tying his shoelaces and sticking his feet to the floor make Foxtrot unhappy, as do his own attempts to expand his creative repertoire. In a satisfying finale, Foxtrot and his friends band together to refurnish and re-open his former dance teacher, Mrs Flamenco’s dance school. Of course, it is a huge success!

imageI love the endearing language that so defines this naive but gentle and considerate soul who only has the best of intentions. There are some terrific dancing terms thrown in, too, like ‘boogied’, ‘jived’, ‘tangoed’ and ‘mamboed’ that arouse interest and charm. Together with this humorous, fun-loving and charismatic storyline are the equally vibrant and animated cartoon illustrations that allow for plenty of discussion.

‘Foxtrot’ is a book that undeniably brings a pop of energy and a burst of spirit in this tale of rhythm, blues, teamwork and friendship. Tango-rrific for preschoolers.  

Available for purchase here.

Discussion.

Before Reading:
Put on some music and enjoy a boogie and a jive! Teach children the ‘foxtrot’ dance.
Make a list of words that mean ‘dance’. Eg. Dance names such as Mambo, Tango, Tap, Ballet, etc, and dance moves such as jive, prance, wiggle, spin, twirl, etc.
Look at the cover. What or who do you think ‘Foxtrot’ is? What do you think might happen in the story? Do you think everyone likes to dance?  

During Reading:
Why do you think Foxtrot likes to dance so much? Why didn’t Foxtrot realise that he was causing all these calamities? Do you think his friends are being nice by stopping him from dancing? Do you think Foxtrot should try not to dance? Why or why not?  

After Reading:
What kinds of things did Foxtrot’s friends do to help him? What were unhelpful gestures? Why didn’t his friends think that his plan to open a dance school would work? What made them change their minds? Do you think that Foxtrot will always be the best dancer?
What new dance words did you learn from the book? Add these to your previous list.  
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Literacy.

Reading:

Verbs and Nouns.
Find and make word cards with terms from the book. Sort them into ‘verbs’ (doing words) and ‘nouns’ (name of things).
Verbs include: danced, boogied, twirled, brushed, combed, jumped, jived, swung, swayed, and so on.
Nouns include: mayhem, calamities, customers, chaos, pandemonium, shoelaces, honey, and so on.
Use of alliteration / phonics.
Find and write sentences with alliterations. Illustrate.
For example, ‘He danced as he dressed and did splits as he put on socks.’,
‘He jumped and jived and swung and swayed,
‘He tangoed with his toast and mamboed with his marmalade.  

Writing.

Innovate a story.
Here are some sentence starters to begin.
‘Foxtrot’s dancing feet caused…’
‘Foxtrot tried rock climbing, and…’
‘Foxtrot held a huge opening ceremony for his new dance school, but…’
Persuasive Text. Advertisements.
Write an advert and create a poster inviting people to join your new dance school.
What is the title? Catch phrase? Price? Other details? Pictures? Colours used? Is it effective? What’s different about your dance school as opposed to others?  

Numeracy.

Measurement / Number. Time your Rhythm.
Make up a dance routine for you and your friends. Count how many repeats for each move. How many moves in total? Time your dance against the clock. Can you stay in beat with the music?
Extension: How many times can you jump / twirl / leap in one minute? Count and record.  

Science.

States of Matter: Dancing Raisins Experiment
Raisins can dance, too! I wonder if they prefer the Tango or the Mambo? Explore the matter of gas as the raisins interact with the carbon dioxide bubbles.
From Gift of Curiosity  
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Arts / Crafts.

Make your own dancing Foxtrot marionette puppet!
Check out this gorgeous toilet roll craft adapted from Duitang and get your Foxtrot boogying all over town.

imageMaterials:
Coloured paper (white, orange, green)
Cardboard (such as cereal box)
Pens / pencils / textas (assorted colours)
Toilet roll tube
String (allow for 1.5 metres)
Two (2) small bottle lids
Straw
Sticky tape
Scissors
Glue

——————–

Directions:
1. Cut to fit and cover toilet roll tube (body) with green paper.
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2. Draw a fox head shape and tail shape on to the cardboard. Cut.
Use as a template to trace onto white and orange papers. Cut each piece, use the white head to draw inner ears and eyes. Cut a tip of white for the tail.
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3.Paste all pieces on top of each other, with the cardboard at the bottom.
Stick head and tail onto the body and add details with pens. We added a little hat!
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4. Adult to pierce two small holes in each side of the body for the arms. Cut a piece of string and thread through the holes, tying each end in double knots. Trim excess.
5. Adult to pierce two holes at the bottom for the legs. Attach string to each of the bottle lids. Thread each leg string through a hole and tape down inside the tube. Make sure they are the same length.
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6. Cut three equal lengths of string (approx. 25-30cm). Attach one end to each foot (bottle lid), and attach the other end to each end of the straw. Attach the third piece of string to the back of the head.
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7. Hold the string in one hand and the straw in the other. Make your fox dance!
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Straw Blown Paintings.
Make your paint dance across the paper with this fun activity from The Imagination Tree.
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Dance School Diorama.
Design and construct your own Dance School diorama with character puppets / figures.  

Lessons by Romi Sharp.
© My Little Story Corner 2015.
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All sourced resources have been credited. These lessons are for personal and classroom use only and not permitted for commercial use without written consent.
This post contains affiliate links. This review and lesson plans are not paid and are my own educated opinion.
 

Information about the author illustrator of Foxtrot, Becka Moor can be found here.        

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Books for Dad 2015

What makes your Dad / Granddad (or other special person) so special? What are your favourite things to do together? What important life lessons has he taught you? These are just a few picture books (trust me, there are heaps more!) that are perfect to celebrate all the special fathers and grandfathers this Father’s Day.

imageFearless With Dad, Cori Brooke (author), Giuseppe Poli (illus.), New Frontier Publishing, 2015.

What a joyous celebration of the relationship between a boy and his Dad. Whether they’re real or imagined, the possibilities for adventure are unlimited. Enthusiastic, optimistic and brave, this little boy doesn’t hold back, as long as his dad is with him. Riding big waves, kicking goals, moon travel and fast cars, discovering how to be a builder, chef, rock star and superhero, through good times and bad, Dad is always there. I love the heartwarming and positive feel of the text along with the variety and vivacious illustrations that make this book so endearing.

imageTime for Bed, Daddy, Dave Hackett (author, illus.), UQP, 2015.

It’s a role reversal of the hilarious kind. Coercing Daddy in to the bedtime routine is no easy feat for one little girl. She manages to help Daddy take a bath, put pyjamas on, and clean his teeth, but that’s when the fun and games start. In typical child-like behaviour, Daddy prolongs bedtime with a few more requests; horsey rides, checking for monsters, a story and songs, and finally one last snuggle. It’s enough to exhaust any little person! Extremely sweet, completely comical, utterly eye-catching cartoonesque pictures…it’s a winner.

imageDaddy, You’re Awesome, Laine Mitchell (author), Renée Treml (illus.), Scholastic Australia, 2015.

A gorgeous line up of baby animals forming special bonds with their daddies in playful ventures. Puppies chasing balls, bunnies building treehouses, owls spying bugs and monkeys racing bikes with their fathers, just to name a few. Written in fun rhyming couplets, each completed with the phrase, ‘Daddy, you’re awesome to me.’, and complimented with vibrant and adorable illustrations. Too sweet!

imageFly-In Fly-Out Dad, Sally Murphy (author), Janine Dawson (illus.), The Five Mile Press, 2015.

Dads can be superheroes in whatever shape or form, even if only to their children. For this young boy, life with dad may only be seldom, but when he’s home it is never boring. Dad is a Fly-in Fly-out dad, with a truck full of adventure stories to tell. But the little boy has his own stories to tell, too. When he’s home, we see a hands-on Dad helping with routines, involved in sporting events and taking the kids to the playground. I love all the little details, both in the text and the illustrations, that give this Dad and his family unique qualities. A very special, heartwarming story, particularly significant for those living with a FIFO Dad.

imageDaddy Cuddle, Kate Mayes (author), Sara Acton (illus.), ABC Books, 2015.

This is truly a book to treasure. It’s such a sweet story of an over-zealous early riser eager to wake Daddy for a play. In typical toddler language, the little bunny suggests every toy and accessory found to its blissfully unaware, snoring father. After a small outburst, bunny finally gets the affection and attention required. The ending is completely adorable; definitely a photo-worthy moment.

imageDaddies Are Great!, Meredith Costain (author), Polona Lovsin (illus.), Scholastic Australia, 2015.

Dog lovers will adore this book with its range of breeds enjoying quality moments with their pups; licking, swinging, climbing, digging, and cuddling. Special relationships are formed when daddies are caring, thoughtful, and loving. With beautifully soft and playful illustrations, this book is perfect for sharing intimate moments with your own pup on Father’s Day.

imageLucas and Jack, Ellie Royce (author), Andrew McLean (illus.), Working Title Press, 2014.

Powerful, evocative and intriguing. Jack, an elderly resident at the aged care home, inspires young Lucas to conceptualise the rich pasts of other people in the facility. Lucas always believed visiting his Great Grandpop was boring, but with a newfound glimpse into his childhood, Lucas becomes keen to bond with his great-grandfather and discover more about his fascinating story. With beautifully gentle and nostalgic illustrations, this book represents the importance of encouraging and celebrating meaningful memories and connections with our ageing relatives.
Interview with author Ellie Royce here.

imageMy Dad Thinks He’s Funny (2012), and My Dad Still Thinks He’s Funny (2013), Katrina Germein (author), Tom Jellett (illus.), Black Dog Books.

A hilarious, eye-rolling, side-splitting collection of ‘Dad jokes’ told from the perspective of the son, with bold, comical, retro-style illustrations.

Check out teaching notes / Father’s Day activities for My Dad Still Thinks He’s Funny on the website and on Pinterest

imageWhat’s Dad Doing?, Susan Hall (author), Cheryl Westerberg (illus.), National Library of Australia, 2013.

Gloriously interactive with its page-turning story, energetic illustrations and lift-the-flap fun, this book will keep you entertained. Pat Possum is looking for his Dad. When assuming he is involved in a typically-male oriented activity, we are pleasantly surprised when under the flap Dad is doing ‘motherly’ things. Rather than watching TV, Dad is bottle feeding the baby. He’s not mending something in the shed, he’s having a cuppa with Grandma. Some more housekeeping chores are done before Pat can finally play a rough-and-tumble game of footy with Dad. Complete with some possum facts in the back, this is an interesting look at parenting roles that families can relate to.

imageMy Dad’s the Coolest, Rosie Smith (author), Bruce Whatley (illus.), Scholastic Press, 2012.

This one’s a classic simply because how totally adorable and relatable it is. A range of animal babies tell us why their dad is the coolest. The author has used child-friendly language and human behaviours, which have brilliantly been matched to an animal. “…makes me laugh.” identifies with a clown nose-wearing puffer fish. “…and clever too.” represents a Einstein-like owl with glasses. There are strong rhinos, sandpit-digging moles, and hide-and-seek expert chameleons. Each spread beautifully illustrated and dedicated to each father, this book is humorous, lively and heartwarming.

imageMy Aussie Dad, Yvonne Morrison (author), Gus Gordon (illus.), Scholastic Australia, 2010.

Containing all the wonderful nuances that make Dad, the typical Aussie Dad. Different fathers are featured doing culturally appropriate dad things, even though they don’t do them quite so well. We see a Dad as a classy bloke in his stubby shorts and thongs, belting out songs in the supermarket. One Dad plays cricket on the beach, only to have the ball whack him on the nose. There are Dads who burn snags on the barbie, embarrassing Dads at footy matches, and Dads with very ordinary handyman skills. Hilariously entertaining, both in the text and the illustrations. But totally loveable!

imageI Love My Dad, Anna Walker (author, illus.), Scholastic Press, 2009.

Typically gorgeous gentle, watercolour illustrations by Anna Walker, with an equally tender rhyming story of Ollie and his loving relationship with his dad. A bit of baking, and some outdoor play, wrapping up with a piggyback ride to bed. This is one to keep; a must read for all the special days spent with dad.

Find some other Dad titles in the image grids below!
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Happy Father’s Day!

All books listed here can be purchased through Australia’s leading online bookstore, Boomerang Books. My Little Story Corner is not sponsored by Boomerang Books, only endorsed for a small percentage through affiliate links. These assist with the up-keep of the website and being able to provide free educational resources by a qualified teacher. Thanks!