If you are looking for a new word to work into a letter “X” or “O” lesson plan, I’d suggest giving oxen some thought. At first blush, it may not seem like an overly exciting topic. However, it can be jazzed up to make it interesting to Pre-Kinders. Here are several suggestions on how to do that:
Begin the lesson plan by showing the children several photos of oxen. For example, you could show them pictures of a musk ox and an Ayrshire. The two animals have several differences that you could point out (i.e. fur, coloring and size). Continue by talking about each one’s habitat, behaviors and place in the food web. When you are finished talking, let the kids play a memory game using the pictures.
Next, talk about what role oxen have played in human history. For instance, you could talk about how early pioneers and farmers used oxen to haul goods. One great way to do that is to read Donald Hall’s book “Ox-Cart Man.” You could also talk about how oxen have been represented in folklore (i.e. Babe the Blue Ox). Matthew Luckhurst’s book “Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox: The Great Pancake Adventure” would be perfect for such a discussion. It would also make a superior lead in to a math or art segment.
If you do decide to transition into a math segment, let the kids play a game based on the book. An awesome way to do that is to draw or tape a picture of an ox head onto a brown paper bag. The Education website contains an ox mask template that you could use to decorate the bag. Next, cut out the ox’s mouth area and create pancake circles with cardstock. You could make a variety of pancakes (i.e. chocolate chip and blueberry) or stick to just one. Afterward, let the children sort, count and attempt to pitch the pancakes into Babe’s open mouth. The child that manages to get the most cardboard pancakes into the bag could be deemed the winner.
As far as the art activities go, you have a variety of options to choose from. I would suggest letting the kids color pictures of oxen. The Education website contains a “Paul Bunyan: Babe” handout that you could use. It would be ideal for teaching the children the words “blue” and “oxen.” The 50 Birds website contains a realistic coloring sheet of a musk ox that you could give the kids as well. It could be used to teach them other color words like “brown” and “black.”
Once art class is over, let the children practice writing the unit’s vocabulary words (i.e. ox and oxen). The Twisty Noodle website features an ox worksheet that you could use during the activity. When they finish with the worksheets, close out the unit by reading Laurie Lawlor’s book “Old Crump: The True Story of a Trip West.”
Source: Personal Experience
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