Bear Mini-Unit
By Rebekah Calhoun (11 / 7 / 97)

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This unit is designed for my kindergarten class at Garden Hills Elementary School, Champaign. The lessons will all be taught during the letter "B" week. My cooperating teacher and I discussed possible topics and I chose bears because bears can be used for many activities. I feel that bears will be a good topic for kindergartners because bears have some interesting ways of life. There are also many resources and a lot of childrenís literature written about bears.

One goal of this mini-unit is to integrate subject areas. Since most of my lessons are about real bears, there is a strong link to science. I will also be tying in literature, music, language, math, art, and skills such as graphing and sequencing.

Another goal of this mini-unit is to meet the individual needs my students. Each lesson involves a group activity and then time for individuals to work at their tables. During the time when students are at their tables, I will monitor the student work. I will strive to assist and challenge students according to their needs.

A final goal of this mini-unit is for the students to learn about bears. They will learn about bear behavior, bear hibernation, types of bears, and patterning with bear manipulatives. Although the last lesson, patterning with bears, does not involve real bears, the children will still see the bear mini-unit continuation. I think that the students will be curious about bear behavior and enjoy the activities I have planned.

The students will be evaluated during each lesson. Since my lessons all include discussion and individual work, I will have many opportunities to hear my studentsí ideas and see them working. By observing what my students know, I can see what they learned from the whole group lesson, help them discover what they do not know, and challenge them to try new ideas.

The lessons will be presented in the following order:

Lesson 1: Bear Introduction This lesson involves making a web of what the children already know about bears, reading a story about bearsí lives, adding information that the children learned from the story on the web, drawing a picture of what each child would do if they were a bear, completing a sentence about what each child would do if they were a bear, and sharing the pictures and sentences. (integrates science, literature, art, and language)

Lesson 2: Bear Hibernation This lesson involves singing a song about bears sleeping, reading a story about bear hibernation, and sequencing bear hibernation pictures. (integrates science, music, and sequencing skills)

Lesson 3: Types of Bears This lesson involves learning about types of bears through questioning and pictures, coloring favorite types of bears, learning "bear" as a sight word, and comparing bear heights. (integrates science, language, and graphing skills)

Lesson 4: Patterning with Bears This lesson involves making patterns using bear math manipulatives and reading the pattern aloud. (integrates basic skills such as color and size distinctions, patterning skills, and language)

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(The unit is formatted for the web by Shwu-yi Leu, 1/16/98.)