Brown Bear Retold

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SWBAT listen to and create materials to retell a story. Student Objective: I can listen to a story, and make a beaded bracelet to retell the story.

Big Idea

Learning strategies can help promote better reading, and retelling a story builds comprehension.


10 minutes

I have a set of picture cards from the story of Brown Bear, Brown Bear that I have on display on the chalk ledge.  You will need to make a copy of the bear card as well since it is not included with the picture cards.  My students have done this type of retelling before, but not for this particular story.

Boys and girls, are you familiar with these characters?  Where have you heard the story beforeI will only call on three children to respond for the sake of time. Indicate with a “thumbs up” if you have heard the story at the library?

I was wondering how you know what order to place these cards? What do you need to know first?  If you had not heard the story first would this be an easy task?  

Now I need some helpers to put the cards in the right order.

We talk about if this is an easy task or a challenging task, and I ask them why they think that it is so. I talk to the class to see if they think it is easy because the book is familiar to them and has a pattern to it. Is the ordering of the cards difficult because it has been a long time since they last heard the story? 

The objective for the first part of today’s lesson is: I can retell the story of Brown Bear, Brown Bear including key details.  Do you think it was easy to put the cards in the right order without using the book or hearing the story first?  What made it hard to do?


20 minutes

Being able to retell a story will help increase the student's comprehension.  We do retellings quite often, so the class should have a good idea about what to do.  When readers do this, they should include enough details to make the listener interested.

I will then present the book, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, by Bill Martin, Jr. and Eric Carle, and look for volunteers to see who recognizes our author and illustrator. Does anyone here recognize the author or illustrator of this book? The illustrator, Eric Carle is our Author of the Month, so we will be looking at many of his books soon.

I have chosen this book because we are learning about pattern books and this book has an easily recognized pattern. I would like you to start looking and thinking about the pattern to start listening for the pattern as we read this book over and over this week, but today’s lesson is not focused on this too much. Realizing that there is a pattern can help us to retell the story, and that’s what we are focusing on today; however, the first time through the story, we listen for enjoyment.  ( We identified the pattern of this book in a previous lesson.)

Before reading the story second time, I want to check with you to see if we originally put the cards in the correct order.  Are there any changes to the pictures’ order that you would like to make? We will make those changes, if needed.

Do you think it was easier to make the changes after hearing the story again? Why?

I want you to remember our objective: I can retell the story of Brown Bear, Brown Bear including key details. At this point, I will pass out the picture cards to a selection of students and tell them that they will put the cards on the ledge as I mention the characters in the story. I reread the story to the group.  


10 minutes

When the story is complete, I will check with the class to see if they agree with the cards’ arrangement. In response to my questions, the children will want to shout out. I have taught them the strategy to blow their answers into their hands instead of blurting. This gives the children that need some wait time an opportunity to respond. When I tell them to release, they will give a choral response.

Do you think the cards are now in the correct order?  Do you think the retelling was easiest this time?  Why so?  Who has a guess as to why I am teaching you these reading strategies?  Who remembers what a reading strategy is?  A reading strategy is like a little trick to help the reader better understand the story that they are reading or listening to.

Finally, each child will get a baggie that contains a piece of pipe cleaner and eleven beads—one bead to represent each character(s) in the story: brown, red, yellow, blue, green, purple, white, black, orange, shiny, and pink. The shiny bead represents the children’s shining faces and the pink is for the teacher. With the beads and pipe cleaner, the children will be making a story-retelling bracelet. Once these are complete, I show the children how to use their bracelets and then, I ask the children which way they thought made it the easiest to retell the story. (Hopefully, with the bracelets.) I ask the class to tell me our objective, and then I have them turn toward a friend and using their bracelets, retell the story of Brown Bear, Brown Bear.

Now children we will be making another tool to help you when you want to retell the story of Brown Bear, Brown BearIt is called a story retelling bracelet, and we have made these before when we were learning about the Pilgrims.  Just like before, we will be stringing beads onto a pipe cleaner In the baggies that I am giving you, there are eleven beads--each bead represents the color of the animal that we are talking about. As I say the character's name, I want you to find that bead from your bag and slip it onto the pipe cleaner.  This will help you to put the colors in the correct order to be able to retell the story.  Brown is for Brown Bear, red is for Red Bird, yellow for Yellow Duck, blue for Blue Horse, green for Green Frog, purple for Purple Cat, white for White Dog, black for Black Sheep, orange for Goldfish, a shiny bead for the children, and a pink bead for the Teacher.

Pretend that I am working with one of you.  You are my buddy.  I would have my bracelet on my wrist and I would slide the bead over as I tell you the story.  This helps me to keep track.  When I am finished telling the story to my buddy, I listen with my good listening ears as my friend has his turn to share.  So who can help me remember our objective?

These two activities help to bring the story together for the children. To extend and reinforce the retelling portion of the lesson, the children will get a “take-home activity sheet”. They can use the picture clues and the story retelling bracelets that the children have made to tell the story to their families.