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Day 25 - Foxes (creative ideas for home schooling)

For anyone new to this blog, the idea is simple - each day my boys (Joshua - 9 and Archie - 8) choose a stimulus that drives the learning. We hope that you enjoy the blog and can take some inspiration from what we love doing - making learning as engaging as possible!



Having explored fire yesterday, I was itching to explore foxes today. I see such a connection in their amazing markings, their mysterious behaviour and the their air of importance. Having come face to face with a few foxes in my time, I am always surprised at their calculated response. They are not scared and yet are somewhat on edge. There is something engaging about this.

So today, we immersed ourselves in the world of the fox.



  • Narrative - an unexpected meeting

  • Poetry into prose

  • Description

I love to lead from fire into foxes. This is something I have explored with my classes in the past. There is such similarity and depth of description that bridges the two. Having written poems about fire yesterday, I wanted to show the boys how they can raid the poetry to strengthen the fiction. So today, we were focusing on an encounter with a fox.

The idea for this hails from Betsy Byars's book, The Midnight Fox. In this book, the main character, Tom, discovers a rare black fox in the woods. The descriptive narrative about their meeting is simply stunning. It is a book that celebrates the description of nature. It is this that became the focus of our writing.

Focus in on the detail:

We began by looking at an array of photos of foxes and discussed their prominent features. As the boys have done this with me many times, they were quick to name the eyes, the fur, the ears, the tail (brush), the ears and the snout.

Raid the poetry:

We then re-read our fire poems and the brainstorm of words we had generated, highlighting any that we thought we could raid and use.

Joshua chose to magpie: tongues of fire, lightning, crackle, waved wickedly in the distance

Archie chose to magpie: flickering fast, fierce, fiery, ferocious, danced in the darkness

Turn the poetry into prose:

The final step was to turn the poetry into prose. To get the boys started, I gave them a few ideas to get started. All they needed was a lead in, such as:

  • There he was.

  • It was him.

  • Finally, we came face to face.

Here are their short narrative paragraphs.

There he was. His fur was like tongues of fire, crackling amongst the greenest grass. His tail waved wickedly in the distance. His nose twitched like a witch's wart as black as soot. Tiny mountains raised up, searching for sounds. Then he saw me. Lava eyes stared directly at me. His face framed in a beard of snow. Suddenly. like a dash of lightning, he sprinted and disappeared.

by Joshua

It was him. Fierce, fiery eyes stared right at me. His ferocious tail bashed the flimsy grass, crashing it into the wild wind. Spear eyes twitched, flickering fast. Whispering whiskers danced in the night sky. In a blink of an eye, he vanished.

by Archie



  • Problem solving

  • Mathematical reasoning

As I have said in previous posts, as the boys are following White Rose maths sessions each morning, many of our maths sessions are designed to develop problem solving and reasoning skills. This is one of my favourite. The boys worked together to work out the solutions, talking through the logic behind their method. It was a joy to see!

Problem 1:

The farmer, the fox, the chicken and the grain

A farmer needs to cross a river with a fox, a chicken and a bag of grain. His boat is only strong enough to carry two of them at once.

If he leaves the fox with the chicken, the fox will eat the chicken.

If he eats the chicken with the grain, the chicken will eat the grain.

The farmer can make as many crossing as he needs, but he is the only one that can row the boat. How does he get the fox, the chicken and the grain across the river?

Problem 2: The vampires and the humans

Three foxes and three chickens need to cross the river. They have one boat to share that is only strong enough to carry two of them at once.

If there are ever more foxes than chickens on either side of the river, the foxes will gang up and eat the chickens.

How do all the foxes and chickens safely cross the river?

We hope you enjoy these. Do message me if you need a solution.


We are so thankful to those of you who have inundated us with stimulus requests. We have made a list and will do our best to explore as many as we can. Tomorrow, we shall be using the following stimulus:


My thanks to Pie Corbett and Talk for Writing for inspiring many of the ideas explored in this blog.

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