What's a Fox Say?

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Students will be able to recognize the /x/ sound either at the end of, at the beginning of or within a word.

Big Idea

Practicing recognizing the letter sound /x/ through the use of the fox. Students should be able to isolate and pronounce the initial, medial and final sounds in spoken words


20 minutes

Gather students on the rug using a preferred classroom management technique. I like to use my “Stop, look, listen.” The students stop what they are doing, look at me and listen for the direction. I usually preface the direction with, “When I say go…” This reminds the students to listen to the whole direction before moving to follow the directive.

In this case I would say, “When I say go I would like you to clear your space, push in your chair and go take a spot on your dot. Walking feet go.” By saying walking feet I am reminding the students to use walking feet in the classroom to ensure safe movement between areas.

When all of the students are seated on their dot in the rug area I show them the cover of the book we are going to read today.  

“This book is called Red Foxes, by Judith Angelique Johnson. Looking at the cover of the book can anyone tell me what type of book this is most likely to be and why?”

“You are right Finn this is a non-fiction book and you mentioned that a good clue was the type of picture you saw on the cover. It is a photograph of the main topic in this book and photographs can often be found in non-fiction books.”

The reason I ask the students to identify whether the book is non-fiction or not is because one of the Kindergarten Common Core Standards states that students should be able to "recognize common types of texts" RL.K.5. I want this skill to become common practice with my students so that when they are working on literary projects they know if they are working with a fictional text or non-fictional text. I also want my students to become proficient at recognizing non-fiction text as a source of information on a topic; especially when they need to use resources to complete a research assignment.  

“Let’s open the book and see if we can find any of the other features of a non-fiction book.”

We take a brief picture walk through the book stopping at the non-fiction features as we come across them.

“Now that we know this book is a true non-fiction book we are going to go ahead and read about yet another Maryland forest animal – the red fox.”


During reading we will discuss any new vocabulary words we come across, such as kit and den. We will also discuss any new information we learn about the fox. 


40 minutes

After the book is over I set it to the side and ask the students, “Can anyone sound out the word fox for me?”

I select one student to respond. “Well done Rachel; the sounds are /f/ /o/ /x/. Now can anyone tell me the letters that make up the word fox?”

I select a different student to respond.

“Good work Adam; the letters are f-o-x. What sound do we hear at the end of the word fox?”

I allow all of the students to respond at once to this question.

“Great and what letter makes that sound?’

Once again I allow all of the students to respond.

“Well done. It is the letter x. I am going to let you know there are quite a few words that have the /x/ sound both at the end. But there are also words that have the /x/ sound at the beginning and even in the middle.”

Why letter sounds?

“Here is my challenge to you – can you come up with a word that has the letter x in it? Now be careful because there are some words that have the same sound as the letter x, but we are looking for words that have the letter x in them.”

See this short video clip of the students coming up with x words.  

X sound lesson        X sound SMARTBoard picture 

Once we have a good selection I let the students know that they will be making a fox.

“At this station you will find the fox parts to make the fox and then you will find a sheet of paper that has some pictures. Some of the pictures have the /x/ sound in them and some do not. Your job will be to find the items with the /x/ sound and glue them to your fox.”

“After you have glued the items onto your fox you will need to get a pencil and try to label the items as best you can. I would like to use the strategies we have been practicing during writing and our phonics sessions to tap out the sounds you hear and write a letter to represent that sound.”


“Does anyone have any questions?”


Once the students understand the directions I send them over to the work stations one group at a time to maintain a safe and orderly classroom environment. It sounds a bit like this:

“Station number one go have some fox making fun.

Station number two you know what to do.

Station number three hope you were listening to me.

Station number four shouldn’t be here anymore.”

These are not always done in that order so the students have to pay attention to when their station actually gets called.  


Allow the students 20 minutes to work on this activity. Set a visual timer and remind the students to look at the timer so they will use their time wisely.

Students working on fox     Students working on fox 2     Students working on fox 3      


10 minutes

When the time is up I blow two short blasts on my whistle and use the “Stop, look listen” technique mentioned above. “When I say go, I would like you to clean up your space remembering to take care of our things, push in your chair, and use walking feet to go and take a spot on your dot.”

Students know to put completed work in the finished work bin. Any work that is not completed goes into the under construction bin and can be completed throughout the day whenever the student finds he/she has spare time or it will be completed during free choice center time. 

Student sample of inventive spelling        Sample of student inventive spelling

Once the students are seated I tell them that their exit slip for today is to tell me a word that has the /x/ sound either at the beginning, at the end, or within the word. Because these words are limited I am going to allow students to repeat words.

I use the fair sticks to determine the order of the students.

Once a student has told me his/her /x/ sound word they are able to use the hand sanitizer and go to get their snack. If a student is unable to give me an answer, they know they can do one of two things.

  1. They can ask a friend to help, or
  2. They can wait until everyone else has gone and then we will work on a /x/ sound word together.


Fox bulletin board display     Fox bulletin board display 2     Student sample of fox close up


The next morning the students will have the following assessment worksheet for morning work. By giving the assessment sheet the following day I can see which students are able to recall the previous day’s lesson and transfer the information over to a new assignment.  

I will read the directions to the student if they request. I have some students who are able to read the directions themselves. Due to my students entering the classroom in a staggered fashion due to the different modes of transportation I feel there will be limited opportunities for the students to copy each other and it will be easier to observe if this occurs. 


At another station we work on the short o sound as in the word fox. I use the short o book out of Reading Success Mini-Books: Short and Long Vowels, By Mary Beth Spann. ISBN 0-439-08677-9



At another station we make the fox craft from the DLK's Craft for Kids website for the students to take home to share information with their parents. This one works well with the little video we watched about the fox catching the mouse.  


We take turns working on the letter x page of the Starfall.com webpage. I use the fair sticks to select students to tap the stars on the SMARTBoard to move onto the next example. We also go to the MoreStarfall.com site and do the X page there. You will need to subscribe to this part of the site.


Discovery.com has a great picture and a little video clip of the red fox for students to watch.


My students think it is very funny to watch this little clip about red foxes on the PBS.org website. They love watching the fox dive into the snow again and again and again. 


The Arkive.org site has lots of different clips of the red fox for students to watch.


We watch the Letter X Song by Have Fun Teaching.