Bears for Back to School


I found a new bear book that is perfect for back to school recently and shared it today on Instagram. Along with the book-share I quickly brainstormed ways it could be expanded upon in a day, or even a week in your classroom or homeschool.

I'd love to share them with you here on the blog too! Firstly the book is called Never Take a Bear to School by Mark Sperring and Illustrated by Britta Teckentrup

Some features I loved:
  • it's the perfect length for new kindergarteners, who love a good tale but are only new to sitting and listening at length
  • it is a rhyming text, but maintains a good story structure
  • it is funny
  • it gently explores the feelings of being new at school
  • it provides for a springboard into discussing some serious issues of school
  • the end, which explains that some special things have to stay at home, gently reminds students that they have embarked on a new journey, their school life,  in a new place with new expectations
Here are some of my randomly brainstormed ideas for activities and learning experiences that could follow from this reading.

Book Chat

  • analyze the cover before reading - make predictions
  • talk about how the illustrator has used color 
  • list the ways a bear was unsuitable for school (persuasive text)
  • list the school experiences (bell rings, hanging art work, listening to a story) - make personal connections

Literacy

  • brainstorm the names of other animals that start with 'b'
  • write some 'b' words
  • talk about words that rhyme with bear
  • talk about pets at school and ask students to give a short opinion on pets at school 'I think pets should be at school because...."
  • make a class book and ask students to illustrate their page - Never take a ... to school
  • talking/language activity - tell a partner about your pet, tell a partner about an animal you would like to bring to school
  • bear finger play - language, expression, listening

Play with words

  • use title structure and create a list of alternatives: Never (verb) a (noun) to/at school.
  • Never ride a bike to school. 
  • Never bounce a ball to school. 
  • Never sail a boat to school. 

Math

  • research the size of grizzly bears - mark it on the ground to see the area
  • fill the area with objects and talk about space
  • make a list of things bigger and smaller than this grizzly bear
  • play counting and number games with teddy counters
  • Bear Bingo

Rules and School

  • talk about why we have rules
  • talk about home, school and classroom rules
  • talk about safety at school
  • compare and contrast home and school - how are they different, similar
  • discuss what we take to school
  • discuss what 'belongings' are
  • discuss how we care for belongings and school belongings
  • talk about safely using equipment and belongings at school

Bears

  • discuss what students already know about bears
  • research bears - what questions do the students have
  • describe the bear in the book using senses 
  • paw prints (on front cover) - explore print making 
  • talk about why the author has chosen a bear for the story character 

Creative

  • move like a bear
  • sing 'Going on a Bear Hunt' with actions
  • paint a picture of a bear
  • cut and paste a craft bear
  • make a 'no bears at school' poster
  • create a bear from objects like Lego, blocks or recyclable materials
I hope you love this book too and can think of more wonderful ways to incorporate it into your class program. 
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