Going on a Bear Hunt

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Students will be able to isolate and recognize the ending sound of a given word and then find other words with the same ending sound.

Big Idea

Looking at and naming a variety of pictures helps students practice their ending sound recognition skills.


15 minutes

Gather students on the rug using a preferred classroom management technique. I like to use my “Stop, look, listen.” The students stop what they are doing, look at me and listen for the direction. I usually preface the direction with, “When I say go…” This reminds the students to listen to the whole direction before moving to follow the directive.

In this case I would say, “When I say go I would like you to clear your space, push in your chair and go take a spot on your dot. Walking feet go.” By saying walking feet I am reminding the students to use walking feet in the classroom to ensure safe movement between areas.

When all of the students are seated on their dot in the rug area I let the students know that we will be going on a bear hunt. My personal favorites are the one sung by Greg and Steve (now available on You Tube) and also the one sung by The Learning Station (also has a You Tube version).

Greg and Steve version on You Tube

The Learning Station version on You Tube

Once the song is over I have the students take a seat on their spots on the rug.

Spot on Your Dot Song

Using the Bear Hunt song helps create student interest in the topic. When students are interested in the topic they are more likely to become engaged in the activity which relates to the topic. 


45 minutes


“The book for today is called Black Bear Cub, by Alan Lind. The illustrator is Katie Lee.”

“Looking at the cover, what do you think this book is going to be about?”

“Rhys thinks this book is going to be about black bear cubs. Why do you think that Rhys?”

“I agree the title quite clearly says Black Bear Cub, there is a picture of a black bear cub eating honey right there under the title, we have been learning about forest animals and the black bear does live in the forest.”

“Let’s go ahead and read the book and see if our prediction is correct.”

During reading I will ask questions of the students to see;

(a)   If they are paying attention, and

(b)    To make connections to previous discussions we have had.

For example on page nine I will read, “When the first green leaves appear on the forest trees, Mother Bear and her cubs leave the den again. Hey wait a second, if green leaves are starting to appear on the trees the author has given me a clue as to what season it is. Can anyone tell me?”

“That’s right Rachel. The author gave me a clear picture in my mind by using the words, “…first green leaves…” Reading the words carefully allows me to understand what is going on in the story. When did we learn about the signs of spring?”

“Well done Henry. We discussed the seasons in our Apple unit and again in our Fall unit. You sure do have a good memory.”

I carry on reading.  

As we read we will discuss vocabulary words as they appear in the text; words such as, wail, slushy, drowsy, scarce, etc.


Once the book is over I will turn back to the first page and reread, “In early spring, Mother Bear and her two cubs lumber out of their winter den.” Then I turn to the last page and reread, “During the cool weather of autumn, they will find another snug den and fill it with grass and leaves. There they will sleep through the winter. Does anyone know what they are doing?”

“Well done Carson. The bears are hibernating. Can anyone tell me why animals might hibernate?”

I select a couple of students to respond to this question. The students’ responses may vary depending on their experiences with the word hibernation.

“Those were all great explanations of the word. Late in the day we will watch a video on bears hibernating.”

As I talk I open up a blank screen on the SMARTBoard.


“Boys and girls can anyone tell me what animal we just learned some facts about?”

“That’s right the bear. What is the last sound we hear in the word bear?”

“Great, /r/ is the last sound in the word bear. Right now I am going to have you tell me some words that have the same ending sound.”

I use the fair sticks to select students to give me words they feel have the same ending sound as the word bear.


Watch this video clip to see my students come up with words.  Ending r on the rug


After my students have come up with a good list of words I tell them they are going to try and find Images with the same ending sound as bear to put on their Ending r sound recording sheet.

“At this work station you will have two pieces of paper. One paper has lots of different pictures on it and the other is your recoding sheet. Your job will be to look at the pictures and find the ones which have the same ending sound as bear. When you find one you will cut it out and glue it onto your recording sheet. When you have found all the pictures you think have the same ending sound, you will need to label the items. Can anyone tell me how I could go about labeling my items?”

Reason for labels

I select a few students to respond to the question.

“Those were all good suggestions. I could tap out the sounds, ask a friend, ask a teacher, use a book, or use the word wall.”

“Now when you get to this station there is one very important job you have first, does anyone know what it is?”

“Yes. Put your name on your paper. The date stamp will be at the table too for you to date your work.”

“Does anyone have any questions?”


Once the students understand the directions I send them over to the work stations one group at a time to maintain a safe and orderly classroom environment. It sounds a bit like this:

“Station number one go have some ending /r/ fun.

Station number two you know what to do.

Station number three hope you were listening to me.

Station number four shouldn’t be here anymore.”

These are not always done in that order so the students have to pay attention to when their station actually gets called.  


Allow the students 15 minutes to work on this activity. Set a visual timer and remind the students to look at the timer so they will use their time wisely. 

Ending r Sound     Student finding items ending in r    Student finding items ending in r 2     Students working on finding words ending in r     Student labeling items ending in r

Having the students actively search through the images and say the image names out loud  themselves allows them the opportunity to practice really hear the sounds. It gives the students the chance to discriminate the image names for themselves; thus developing a discriminatory ear. 


10 minutes

When the time is up I blow two short blasts on my whistle and use the “Stop, look listen” technique mentioned above. “When I say go, I would like you to clean up your space remembering to take care of our things, push in your chair, and use walking feet to go and take a spot on your dot.”

Students know to put completed work in the finished work bin. Any work that is not completed goes into the under construction bin and can be completed throughout the day whenever the student finds he/she has spare time or it will be completed during free choice center time.   

Student sample of r ending work     Student sample of r ending work 2

Once the students are seated I tell them that their exit slip for today is to tell me one word with the same ending sound as the word bear. “Today you will need to be able to tell me one word with the same ending sound as the word bear. Here is the deal though, once someone has used the word it is off the menu for everyone else. I am going to give you thirty seconds to sit and think of two or three words so if someone else uses your word you will have another one ready to go.” I look at my watch and start timing. 

“Okay the thirty seconds are done. I hope you all thought really hard and came up with more than one word. I am going to use the fair sticks to help me pick the students. Here we go.”

Once a student has told me his/her word with the same ending sound as “bear” they are able to use the hand sanitizer and go to get their snack. If a student is unable to give me an answer, they know they can do one of two things.

  1. They can ask a friend to help, or
  2. They can wait until everyone else has gone and then we will work on a word ending with /r/ together.


For this assignment I use the Ending Sound Checklist to go over the student’s work. Once I have completed the checklist, I attach it to the students work and place it in his/her working portfolio. 


Make a paper bag bear puppet. Making bear paper bag puppets     Sample of a paper bag bear puppet


Work on measuring items in the classroom using front and back bear paws. How many front paws long is the item? How many back bear paws is the item? (Reinforces non-standard measurement)


Make a plate of food for a bear. This activity – Lunch for a Bear - can be found in the Growing Up Wild: Exploring Nature with Young Children book on page 26. Students identify the foods that black bears eat and compare it to what people eat. 


Use the bear pages which can be found on the KidZone website to do a bear book report – one on a non-fiction book and then on a fiction book