We’re going on a Bear Hunt
This is a beautiful book with captivating artwork and lots of repetition. Repeating books are wonderful for teaching language. This book and the material that I’ve put together is aimed at very young learners, I would say ages 1-5 years old. You can find this book at the local library if you live in an English speaking country, and perhaps even if you don’t, it’s quite popular. If you need to buy a copy, I highly recommend Book Depository because they have worldwide free shipping, honestly they get most of my business because I live in Switzerland (affiliate link). I have the book and CD version, which I’ve linked to. The children LOVE to listen to the CD on their own, in fact, just last week I assigned the book and CD as homework for a 3 year old student :-D.
Read listen and learn
First off, some key vocabulary that the children can learn from this book. I like to make a list for myself as well as for the children. I like to remind myself what the worlds are that I want my little ones to learn, then use those words continuously throughout the lesson and also the play time. I also have the children repeat the words back to me, and eventually ask them to use the words in our games and interactive play.
Read the book together. There is something so very special about reading with a child. Put some emphasis on the key vocabulary words. When you say the word “over” raise your hand very high and make a movement of going over something, and when you say the word “under” put your hand down low and again make a movement of going under. When you say “through” use both hands and again, mimic the movement of going through something. You can also use your hands when you say “catch” to make a movement like your are grabbing something that is trying to escape. When you say “scared” use your voice to demonstrate the emotion. Tone and facial expressions communicate more than actual vocabulary to small children, so don’t forget to use them to help you teach.
So now to some fun. Once you’ve read the book with your little learner(s) it’s time to get creative. First off, everyone needs to have a bear. I like this simple little movable teddy from over at scholastic free resource bank. Just print, color, cut and create. Tip. I prefer to glue the teddy on to card stock to make him a little more durable. If you have a variety of colors then the kids can each choose their own. You’ll also need some brads from the office supply store to make his arms and legs move. Just as a side note, this little bear also works great with the song “Teddy Bear Teddy Bear Turn Around”, a sweet song for little learners.
Make a map. I combined two free printables to make a 3D map with my students. I used the map from over at Brilliant Little Ideas and the story strips from Little Wonders Preschool. We also added our own “snow” which is actually pillow stuffing, just for a little more texture and fun. Kids love fluffy stuff and I had some extra.
Print out some bear prints. I got mine over at nuttinbutpreschool.com for free. I also laminated them so that we could play outside in the garden and not worry about them getting ripped up.
Cut them out and created a trail that the children have to follow to find the bear. You can make this as elaborate or as simple as you like. If you want to go all-out, create some tall grass (maybe streamers) a river, (perhaps a kiddy pool of water) some mud (a muddy flower bed) and a snow storm (? get creative… maybe something with ice?) for the children to go through, just like in the book. I prefer to keep things simple, and put the fun on finding and following the tracks, but it’s your English lesson 😉 so have fun.
I found two easy print and play free games to go along with this lesson.
First, a free Bingo game from over at Teachers Pay Teachers (you have to create an account but it’s free). You could also turn this into a memory game by cutting out the individual pictures and gluing them to card stock. This is a great resource for the very little ones, but the older children will find it boring because it’s only nine pictures.
For the older preschool/kindergarteners you can use this free printable board game from over at Homeschoolcreations. It’s part of a package, and has some other great resources in it that you might want to use as well, including another set of bear paw prints. You will also need a dice and some game pieces for this game. To make the game go slower you can use a dice with only the 1,2 3. You can find these at a game store,
or do what I did and take some whiteout to a regular dice ;-). I frequently use the smaller count dice with the small children, because the free printable game boards are often very short like the one I have linked too, and
also little eyes struggle to count all the dots 😉
Happy bear hunting everyone!