Monday, November 15, 2010

Brown Bear Project

During the first two weeks of kindergarten, we use a theme based on the book, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin and Eric Carle.  Our students enjoy the repetitive nature of the story and love to predict which animal Brown Bear will see next.  Many students gain the confidence of  reading because they have memorized the story and can "read" the story independently. 

To reinforce the concepts and tie in other areas of the curriculum, I like to do a hands-on, simple paper craft for each character in the story.  During this time we are also reviewing shapes and colors, so each animal is made of the basic shapes and colors we are learning about.  This project is also a good way to practice proper use of glue, scissor skills and spatial relations as they construct each animal.  My students start the year at all levels and some have never been exposed to scissors or glue.  This project incorporates many of the skills we are learning in early kindergarten and still allows for some creativity on the child's part.
We always start with Brown Bear himself, we call it the "square bear."

This is the simplest of all the projects and I pre-cut the shapes on a paper cutter.  I normally do not like to do a lot of pre-cut art projects, but for our very first kindergarten project we have to keep it pretty simple.  I'm not sure where the pattern for this project originated, I borrowed it from a colleague when i first started teaching. 
For each bear you will need:
(1) 7"x7" square - dark brown, for head
(2) 2"x2" squares - dark brown, for ears
(2) 1.5"x1.5" squares - light brown, for inner ears
(3) 1"x1" squares - black, for eyes/nose
teacher drawn copy of bow tie for students to cut out and color
After reading the story and our lesson on squares, I model the project and pass out the materials.The students can personalize the face (some drew ferocious teeth!) and color the bow tie.  This project goes together pretty easy and very few students need help.  Cutting out the bow tie is challenging for those who've never held scissors, but it lets me know who is going to need extra practice with fine motor skills.

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