Monday, August 12, 2013

The New Bear at School by Carrie Weston - Teaching Ideas



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When the students of Miss Clucks class learned that they were getting  new student, they were all so excited, until Boris walked in. He was big and hairy, and scary. All the kids immediately decided that they were not going to be friends with a big, hairy, scary bear. Boris was so sad! By the end of day Boris was a very lonely bear. As Boris walked home by himself he came upon the kids in the class being bullied by the rat pack. Boris however, didn't realize that they were being bullied, he thought they were playing, so when Boris walked up with a big grin on his face wanting to play, the rat pack got scared and ran away. You see, when Boris smiles his big pointed teeth make him look mighty fierce. Because Boris saved them, the kids no longer thought he was a big, hairy, scary bear!

This is a great beginning of the year book with a great lesson about judging people before you get to know them, as well as how you should treat a new student.

This book also works really well with many of the reading skills and strategies. Take a look below at the examples and ideas to help create a great lesson.

I have also created a packet including just about all of the skills and strategies listed below.

Reading level: 2.6
Theme/subject: school, friends, new life experiences
Genre: fiction

Suggested Vocabulary/phrases: squealed with delight, enormous, grizzly bear, proud, fierce, scattered, panic, scampered, plodded, the rat pack, trembled, greet,

Reading skills and strategies:
  • Asking questions - {possible questions before} I wonder how the new bear felt at school. I wonder if the other kids like the new bear. I wonder if the new bear will have a good day at school. {possible questions during} I wonder if the other kids will ever be nice to Boris. {possible questions after} I wonder if the kids will fall asleep during story time because they are sitting on Boris’s cozy lap.  **Remember to have your students answer/reflect their questions.
  • Author's point of view – Third. Be sure to find 3 pieces of evidence to support this (he, him, and everyone, Boris).
  • Author's purpose – entertain {evidence} Bear’s don’t go to school. Animals don’t talk. The illustrator drew cute pictures. All these things make an entertaining story.
  • Beginning, middle, end - {most important event from beginning} The kids in the class screamed when Boris walked in. {most important event from middle} Boris cried because he was a hairy, scary, grizzly bear. {most important event from end} Boris scared away the rat pack and saved the kids.
  • Cause and effect – Why was everyone excited? Because there was going to be a new animal in the class. How come everyone screamed when Boris walked into the class? Because Boris was an enormous, hairy, scary grizzly bear. How come Boris had to sit on the floor? Because he broke the chair he sat in.  Why was there panic in the room? Because Boris showed his teeth and sharp claws when he showed the kids the picture in his new book. How come Boris ate lunch all by himself? Because nobody would move over on the bench. Why did Maxwell start to cry? Because when Boris counted his voice boomed. How come Boris sat by himself and cried? Because he was a scary, hairy, big grizzly bear. Why were Leticia, Maxwell, Fergus and the mice trembling? Because the rat pack circled them. Why did the rat pack get scared and run away? Because Boris greeted the rat pack with his biggest, widest bear grin. Why didn’t the kids mind that there was no room on the floor at story time? Because the kids all had a soft warm place to sit.
  • Character analysis - describe Boris {looks like, feelings, thoughts, character}
  • Character changes – Boris was sad in the beginning of the story because all the kids were afraid of him. At the end of the story Boris was happy because all the kids loved him.
  • Classify & categorize – Classify ways to treat a new student. Categorize positive and negative ways.
  • Compare & contrast – compare and contrast Boris to the other kids.
  • Connections - {possible text-to-self connections} starting a new school. Feeling lonely. Not having any friends. Crying at school because of no friends. {possible text-to-text connections} Connect this book to any first day of school book.
  • Drawing conclusions & inferencing - What kind of bear were the kids expecting to start school? {text clues} Leticia held up a picture of a pink fluffy bear. Maxwell showed a picture of a brown bear with velvet paws. Fergus thought any teddy bear would be good. {what I know} If I have never seen something in real life it is hard to picture what it will really be like.  {my conclusion} I think the kids have only seen teddy bears and bears in books so they were expecting a small little bear like a teddy bear.
  • Fact & opinion{fact} Miss Cluck was the teacher. The kids screamed when Boris walked in. Boris ate his lunch by himself. Boris cried. Boris scared the rat pack away. {opinion} Boris was scary. The kids were mean to Boris. Miss Cluck thought Boris was a trouble maker. The rat pack was going to hurt the kids. 
  • Main idea & details - {main idea} Boris started school and everyone thought he was a hairy, scary, big grizzly bear. {details} Miss Cluck introduced Boris to the class. The kids screamed when they saw Boris. Boris ate lunch by himself. 
  • Plot - the turning point or climax in the story was when Boris scared away the rat pack.
  • Predict – What do you think the story is going to be about? How do you think the kids will react when they see Boris?  Do you think the kids will ever be friends with Boris? What do you think will happen when to the rat pack when Boris walks up? What will the kids think of Boris now that he scared the rat pack?
  • Problem & solution - {problem} the kids think Boris is a hairy, scary big grizzly bear. {solution} Boris scared away the rat pack and now the kids think Boris is a hero.
  • Sequencing – Miss Cluck told the class they were getting a new student. The students tried to guess what kind of bear the new student would be. The kids screamed when Boris walked in the class. Boris sat in a chair and broke it. The kids wouldn’t move over on the bench. Boris ate lunch by himself. Boris made Maxwell cry when he counted in a loud voice. Boris cried because he didn’t have anyone to play with or talk to. All the kids walked home. The rat pack jumped out and circled all the kids. Boris walked up to the rat pack with the biggest grin. The rat pack got scared and ran away. The kids told Miss Cluck how Boris saved them. The kids cuddled in Boris’s lap during story time.
  • Story elements - list title, author, characters, setting, beginning, middle, end, or problem & solution.
  • Strong thought – Boris was crying in the classroom because he didn’t have anyone to talk to or play with. What would you say to the kids about how they treated Boris and what would you tell them they should do instead?
  • Summarize - {someone} Boris {wanted} wanted to be friends with the kids at school {but} but the kids were afraid of him {so} so he was lonely and sad. {then} Then Boris saved the kids from the rat pack and {finally} was happy at school.
  • Theme – Don’t judge a book by its cover. Treat others, as you would want to be treated.
  • Visualize – Usually smiling at someone makes them feel good, but whenever Boris smiled everyone around got scared.  Visualize yourself starting a new school, what would you do to show you were a friendly nice person?


You can find this packet in either one of my stores.
Happy planning!


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