Mem Fox! A Literature Study Unit for Years F/1/2/3


Summary of Unit:

In this Unit of Work, students will investigate a range of picture storybooks written by Mem Fox and create a range of artistic murals to represent their understandings of the text as well as their favourite pages and characters from the texts. After reading each text, students will be given the opportunity to discuss what they think of the text and how it relates to their own feelings and emotions about familiar experiences and memories. Students will also participate in the discovery of how movement and dance is related to a text and the different ways in which they can express their ideas and interpretations of a text.

Australian Curriculum Links:



  • Recognise that texts are made up of words and groups of words that make meaning (ACELA1434)
  • Understand that language can be used to explore ways of expressing needs, likes and dislikes (ACELA1429)


  • Explore and make observations by using the senses (ACSIS011)
  • Engage in discussions about observations and use methods such as drawing to represent ideas (ACSIS233)
  • The way objects move depends on a variety of factors, including their size and shape (ACSSU005)

Interpersonal Development:

  • With teacher support, students begin to identify and develop the skills required to work together in a group, including taking turns, and sharing and caring for equipment and resources. Through supported reflection on their own experiences of working with a partner, in small group and whole-class situations, students share their thoughts on group collaboration and learn to describe and practice skills that contribute to the formation of positive relationships, and explain why these skills are desirable.

Year 1:


  • Understand that the purposes texts serve shape their structure in predictable ways (ACELA1447)
  • Explore different ways of expressing emotions, including verbal, visual, body language and facial expressions (ACELA1787)
  • Discuss characters and events in a range of literary texts and share personal responses to these texts, making connections with students’ own experiences (ACELT1582)


  • Through discussion, compare observations with predictions (ACSIS214)
  • People use science in their daily lives, including when caring for their environment and living things (ACSHE035)
  • Represent and communicate observations and ideas in a variety of ways such as oral and written language, drawing and role play (ACSIS029)

Interpersonal Development:

  • Students learn to work in teams to complete structured activities within a set timeframe (the teacher may select the teams and allocate roles and responsibilities). Students learn to stay on task and share resources fairly. In response to questions and prompts, they learn to reflect on the team’s challenges and successes and their contribution to the team’s effectiveness.

Year 2:


  • Discuss how depictions of characters in print, sound and images reflect the contexts in which they were created (ACELT1587)
  • Compare opinions about characters, events and settings in and between texts (ACELT1589)
  • Know some features of text organisation including page and screen layouts, alphabetical order, and different types of diagrams, for example timelines (ACELA1466)


  • Represent and communicate observations and ideas in a variety of ways such as oral and written language, drawing and role play (ACSIS042)

Interpersonal Development:

  • Students learn to work in teams to complete structured activities within a set timeframe (the teacher may select the teams and allocate roles and responsibilities). Students learn to stay on task and share resources fairly. In response to questions and prompts, they learn to reflect on the team’s challenges and successes and their contribution to the team’s effectiveness.

Overall aim of Lesson Plan/Unit:

  • Students will experience a range of Mem Fox texts and relate to their own experiences; and
  • Students will demonstrate their ability to participate in a range of cross-curricular activities.

Indicators of Success:

Knowledge What students will know…

  • How to identify the similarities and differences between different texts
  • How to create a timeline depicting significant event in individual students lives
  • How to present learning in different contexts
  • How to ask questions relating to different aspects of a text
  • How to create artwork using favourite memories and favourite parts of a book
  • How to identify the importance of animals within the environment
  • How to identify a journey taken using different resources (Map of Australia – using IWB)
  • How to present factual information in a poster form

Discipline Based Skills Students will be able to …

  • Create human movement through engaging in dance and drama
  • Create personalised learning experiences through participating in class activities
  • Identify significant events in their childhood
  • Reread a text and use new knowledge to improve understanding and comprehension of the text
  • Create artworks from the text
  • Demonstrate their ability to work with the whole class and small groups to complete a structured task
  • Listen and form questions based on their prior knowledge and new found knowledge

Interdisciplinary Skills Students will be able to …

  • Monitor and evaluate their involvement in all activities, based on teacher input and individual student reflection
  • Use ICT to organise thoughts and ideas
  • Socialise and behave appropriately in group and whole class situations
  • Show their learning in different contexts
  • Share knowledge with others
  • Collaboratively work with others to achieve a common goal
  • Exhibit critical thinking skills through effective feedback and thinking creatively

Unit of Work Sequence:

Week 1

Wilfred Gordon McDonald Partridge

  • Weekly Topic: Wilfred Gordon McDonald Partridge
  • Learning Objective: To learn about memories through reading a text.
  • Success Criteria: ­ Successful completion of activities and ability to present learning in different ways.
  • Key Vocabulary: Wilfred Gordon McDonald Partridge, memory, grandparents, special, experiences, timeline, senses, collage.

Lesson One (Before Reading, Read Text, After Reading)

Before Reading

Invite students to share any special experiences they have had with people much older than they are.  Do students have grandparents or a favourite older neighbour or family friend?  What makes this person special to them? Ask:

  • What kinds of activities do you do with your grandparents or older friend? What sorts of thins do you talk about together?
  • Has this person ever taught you anything special, such as how to make a favourite recipe or practice a certain skill?
  • How is spending time with an older friend different from spending time with someone your own age? How is it similar?

After Reading

Assist students to have an understanding of what a memory is.  Ask:

  • What does it mean to remember something? Do you remember what you ate for breakfast this morning?  How about what you did after school yesterday?
  • Can you remember anything special you did along time ago, such as going on a trip or an outing with your family? What do you remember about it?

Explain that a memory is anything that a person remembers from the past (it can be something that happened a short time ago or a long time ago).  Discuss how Wilfred helped Miss Nancy remember important events in her life by bringing her special objects.  Ask:

  • Have you ever brought back a souvenir from a trip to help you remember it?
  • Do you have any items from when you were younger, such as a favourite blanket or a stuffed animal? What things do these items help you remember?

Invite students to talk about Wilfred’s relationship with Miss Nancy.  Ask:

  • How did Wilfred show kindness toward Miss Nancy? How did he help her?
  • What were some things that Wilfred and Miss Nancy had in common?

Lesson Two – Clothespin Timeline

  • Help students to remember and learn about memoires and the passage of time as sequencing skills are reinforces through a timeline.
  • Have students brainstorm a list of important events in their lives. These might include accomplishments (such as learning to tie their shoes) and any big changes that have taken place for them (such as moving to a new town).
  • Provide students with several sheets of drawing paper and invite them to illustrate one event on each sheet. Assist students to write captions for their pictures.  Add ages to events.
  • Hang one string of string in the room for each child.
  • Have students hang their pictures from the pegs in sequential order to create a time line.

Lesson Three – Class Time Capsule

  • Revise definitions of a memory.  Add any new learning/vocabulary to Word Wall.

A major theme present within the story is that objects can bring back memories.

  • Introduce the concept of a class time capsule.
  • Explain to students that a time capsule is a collection of objects that help people to remember a certain period of time. Tell students that they will be creating a time capsule to remember their year at school.
  • Have students decorate a large shoebox with collage materials. Create a label for the box reading “Our Class Time Capsule”
  • Have students suggest items to place in the box. If someone were to find the box years later, what items would help this person see what the classroom was like and what kinds of activities students did?
  • Invite students to continue to add items to the time capsule throughout the year. Encourage students to explain the significance of each item they suggest.  At the end of the year, open the box and share the memories.  Invite students to recall the circumstances behind each artefact and explain what made them special.

Lesson Four

  • Have students bring in a favourite item from home.  This could be a favourite memory or souvenir from a holiday or birthday.  Discuss the 5 senses.  Have students describe their favourite item using the 5 senses.   Have students discuss the memory associated with their favourite item.
  • Using a selection of materials, have students create a mobile of their favourite item using the 5 senses.  Display around the classroom.

Lesson Five – Memory Collage

  • Discuss different memories and the different items associated with these memories.
  • Do all memories have a physical representation?  Can some memories be just memories?
  • Have students discuss the different memories they have collected over the years.
  • Provide students with magazines to create a collage of their favourite memories (toys, computer games, food, shoes, lollies, etc.).

Week 2

Possum Magic

  • Weekly Topic: Possum Magic
  • Learning Intention: To learn about Australia and Australian icons through the journey of Hush and Grandma Poss.
  • Success Criteria: Successful completion of set work and presentation of favourite part of the book through artwork.
  • Key Vocabulary: Possum Magic, Australia, text, map, investigate, Hush, Grandma Poss, trace, coins, rubbing, artwork, illustrator, watercolour, favourite, collage.

Lesson One – Class discovery of the text

As a class read through the text, predicting events as the story is read.  Discuss and answer the following questions:

  • There is only one word in Possum Magic that is written in capitals. Why do you think the word is written this way?
  • Only one animal in Possum Magic has things that do not belong to a wild animal. Which creature is it? Why do you think the picture book creators might have given the animal special objects?
  • What kinds of Magic were in Grandma Poss’s books? What do you think it means when the author writes:

‘Don’t worry, Grandma,’ said Hush. ‘I don’t mind.’ But in her heart of hearts she did.

As a class, brainstorm the different animals displayed in the book.  Have students draw the different Australian animals from the book.  Create a class display.

Lesson Two – Possum Magic’s Map

  • As a class, investigate the map of Australia, including the different states and territories.
  • Revise the journey taken by Hush and Grandma Poss around Australia.

Using the IWB and Google Maps to represent the boundary of the journey taken.

Have students trace the journey on their individual maps of Australia.

Lesson Three

  • As a class, discuss the different objects that students associate with Australia.
  • Use Inspiration to detail knowledge given by students.
  • Collect Australian coins and rub them with a soft lead pencil to create pictures of Australian animals featured on the coins.  Photocopy and enlarge the rubbings.
  • Have students create a fact file for an animal found on one of the coins.

Lesson Four

  • Discuss and observe the different artworks presented within the Possum Magic text.

The illustrator has used watercolour to paint the pictures.

  • Ask for student opinions on what illustrations they like and why.
  • Look at the different characteristics presented within large and small pictures.
  • What techniques has the illustrator used to make Hush invisible?

Have students create their own version of an animal that isn’t used within the book.  Make one drawing visible and the remaining drawing invisible (using the same technique as the illustrator has in the book).

Lesson Five

  • Reread the text with the class and add any new learning to the class display.
  • Have students pick a favourite page from the book.  Use the IWB to display larger versions of the books pages.  Have students give reasons as to why it is their favourite page.
  • Using pictures from magazines, scraps of fabric, drawings or other found materials, create a collage of a page opening from the book.

Week 3

Koala Lou

  • Weekly Topic: Koala Lou
  • Learning Intention: To learn about Koalas through reading an online text.
  • Success Criteria: Participation in class activities and completion of poster detailing factual information relating to Koalas.
  • Key Vocabulary: Koala Lou, brainstorm, Koala, characteristics, Bush Olympics, incorporate, key, environment.

Lesson One

  • Read through text (Can use the IWB if you want to make it bigger)
  • Before reading, discuss predictions for the story.  After reading, have students retell the story using sequencing.  Complete a character brainstorm for Koala Lou.

Lesson Two

  • Brainstorm everything that students know about Koalas.  What do they look like, feel like, sounds like, etc.  Use Inspiration to display learning.  Using the IWB, display images of Koalas and have students discuss the different characteristics.

Koala crafts activity:

  • Have students create as A3 size poster advertising for the Bush Olympics incorporating key text information.

Lesson Three – Koala poster

  • As a class, watch the following YouTube clip relating to Koalas:

  • Have students watch and discuss the different ways that Koalas interact with other Koalas and what environments they live in.
  • Have students create a poster about a Koala ensuring that they include information about their habitat, food and general characteristics.

Lesson Four – What do I see?  What do I think?  What do I wonder?

  • Discuss the different emotions that are observed throughout the book.  What do these emotions look like?  Have students think about the different emotions that they see and use throughout the day.
  • Divide students into three groups.  Each group of students will look at selected pages to answer the following questions: What do I see?  What do I think?  What do I wonder?
    • Group One: How does Koala Lou feel now new siblings have arrived?
    • Group Two: Did Koala Klaws climb high?  How do you know?
    • Group Three: How does Koala Lou feel?   How do you know?

Students will need to think about the characters facial expressions, how they are positioned on the page, what time of day the action is taking place and the setting.

  • Have students label pictures with the different emotions that are shown.

Lesson Five – Bush Olympics

Week 4

Wombat Divine

  • Weekly Topic: Wombat Divine
  • Learning Intention: To learn about different animals and how they live and interact with the surrounding environment.
  • Success Criteria: Participation in movement activities and successful completion of wombat mural.
  • Key Vocabulary: Wombat Divine, predictions, Wombat, habitat, mural, drama.

Lesson One

  • Read “Wombat Divine” text.  Before Reading, discuss predictions.
  • Have students retell the story in sequential order.
  • Discuss what students now about Wombats, their habitats and general characteristics.
  • Have students complete a Story Map of Wombat Divine, ensuring that all events are place in sequential order.

Lesson Two – Wombat Paper Plate Craft

What do wombats look like?

  • Use IWB to show students pictures of different wombats in different environments.
  • Discuss these questions with students.
    • How do animals use their different body parts?
    • How do they help wombats to survive in different environments?

Activity: Have students create a Wombat using paper plates and related materials.  Add textured materials for skin, ears, nose and eyes.

Lesson Three and Four – Billabong Mural for wombats

  • Revise knowledge on Wombats and their habitat.
  • Research the characteristics of where they live and how they survive in different climates.
  • Have students create a mural of the habitat of wombats and include an individually drawn wombat from each student.

Lesson Five – Drama – Wombat Divine

Warm Up:

  • Back to back and face to face: Experimenting with contrasting emotion.

Students walk around the room and on cue make pairs either back-to-back or face-to-face.

  • Use sad faces when back to back and crying or disappointed when face to face
  • Explore the contrasting qualities using the same techniques (happy faces when face to face and sighs of joy when back to back).
  • Simon Says: Practicing animal motions/movements

Students face the teacher and follow instructions as per below:

The teacher calls out:

  • “Simon says skip like a kangaroo” or
  • “Simon says crawl like a wombat”


  • In pairs, students discuss the circumstances when they were disappointed, sad and happy from their personal experiences.
  • Encourage the discussion to give plenty of detail from students.
  • How did it happen?
  • How was it resolved?
  • Discuss the rollercoaster of emotions felt by the Wombat in Wombat Divine and also the difficulties faced by the other animals due to the Wombat.

Week 5

Hattie and the Fox

  • Weekly Topic: Hattie and the Fox
  • Learning Intention: To differentiate between different animals and where they live.
  • Success Criteria: Participation in class reading, use of questions to increase knowledge and presentation of learning through creation of class book.
  • Key Vocabulary: Hattie and the Fox, farm, animals, expression, sequence, recreation.

Lesson One

Read Text and discuss questions in Before Reading and After Reading.

Before Reading

Invite students to explain what they know about farm animals.  Ask:

  • What kinds of animals live on farms?
  • Why do you think farmers keep these animals? What does each animal do on the farm?  What are their jobs?
  • What kinds of animals do not belong on the farm? Why not?  What do you think might happen if an animal such as a fox or a wolf got into the barnyard?

Show students the cover of the book and read the title aloud.  Invite students to make predictions by asking:

  • Do you think a hen and a fox would get along well together?
  • What kind of expression does Hattie have on the cover? How do you think she is feeling?  Why?
  • What other animal’s do you think you will see in the story?

After Reading

Encourage students to sequence the story by asking:

  • What body art did Hattie first see through the bushed? Do you think she knew it belonged to a fox?
  • What did Hattie’s farm friends say when she warned them of the danger? Why didn’t they listen?
  • What part of the fox did Hattie see next? What did she do?

Lesson Two – Class recreation of the text

  • Reread the text and have students choose a favourite page.
  • Discuss reasons as to why students chose it as their favourite page.
  • Was it the colours used on the page, pictures?
  • Have students recreate their own page for the story using the same words and different illustrations.

Lesson Three – Barnyard Relay

Have students act out their favourite farm animals with a movement related activity.

  • Write on slips of paper animal names such as sheep, cow, goose, pig, horse, hen and so on. Place all slips into a container.
  • Divide the class into two teams and mark a starting line on the floor with masking tape. Have each team line up behind the starting live, and place the animal container between them.
  • Let the relay begin! When “go” is said, have the first students in each team reach into the container, read the animal word and then move the way that animal would to the end of the room, and back.  Encourage students use both movements and sounds to portray their animal.

Lesson Four – Hattie and the Fox Animal Collage

  • Provide students with art materials to create a collage of Hattie from the text.  Students can use different textured mediums to create the collage.

Lesson Five – Favourite Mem Fox Book – Class Mural

  • Revise all texts covered throughout the unit.
  • Have students give an oral retell of the story in sequential order.
  • What was each book about?
  • Encourage active discussion about what book what students favourite and why.
  • Split students into 5 groups, each representing a text covered throughout the unit.
  • Give each student materials to create a mural of their favourite parts of their books.
  • After the completion of the individual group murals, place all together to create a sequence of the texts.  Have students share their learning with peer and teachers.


  • Observations made and recorded by the teacher – anecdotal records (occurs each week)
  • Successful completion of activities
  • Participation in class and small group discussions and activities (knowledge attained through this)
  • Questioning is used throughout the unit to help students develop their higher-order thinking skills and process content
  • Assessment of key vocabulary

Week One

  • Ability to create a timeline of significant individual events
  • Ability to identify favourite items from a selection of objects
  • Selection of objects for Class Time Capsule
  • Completion of Memory Collage of favourite items using a range of different materials

Week Two

  • Ability to identify Australia from a selection of images and using knowledge of text to complete journey of Hush and Possum Magic
  • Comparison of artwork from within the text and creation of artwork mirroring one found in the text

Week Three

  • Creation of factual poster about Koalas
  • Participation in Bush Olympics

Week Four

  • Ability to identify surfaces that affect the movement of different objects

Week Five

  • Reflection of learning throughout the unit – Favourite Mem Fox Book
  • Sharing of learning through continual discussion and sharing


The following is a list of resources that can be utilised to support the learning tasks, activities and assessments throughout this unit.

Teacher Resources

  • IWB
  • Laptop
  • Camera


  • Hattie and the Fox
  • Wombat Divine
  • Possum Magic
  • Koala Lou
  • Wilfred Gordon McDonald Partridge

Koala Images –


  • Poster Paper
  • Pegs
  • String
  • Whiteboard Markers
  • Large Shoebox
  • Art materials
  • Permanent Markers
  • Magazines
  • Group Labels
  • Gold, Silver, Bronze Medals
  • Paper Plates
  • Strips of Paper
  • Container
  • Collage Materials
  • Australian Coins – range of coins
  • Lead Pencils

Blackline Masters


Student Resources

  • Favourite memory/items/souvenirs from home
  • Pencils
  • Textas




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