A literature-inspired, Bible-based, living study…
A Brown Bear’s Language Arts Study is a literature-inspired, Bible-based language arts unit written for nine-to eleven-year-old children. This multifaceted unit is designed for the educator to read aloud the delightful story by Thornton Burgess, The Adventures of Buster Bear. The primary focus of this unit is writing structured paragraphs with a topic sentence, detail sentences, and a conclusion. The basic anatomy of a bee serves as a model for writing structured paragraphs. The research of brown bears, note-taking, and the application of all the skills taught in the study, results in a five paragraph informational piece with a strong lead and a conclusion that ends with a sting. The student is given the opportunity to transform the paragraphs into a creative presentation, a nonfiction picture book. This living study pairs well with third though sixth grade language arts curricula.
What is in the Teacher’s Handbook?
The “Teacher’s Handbook” section of the study contains the following:
- Materials List
- Book recommendations
- Ideas for a culminating event
- A list of student objectives for the entire study
- Two different schedules: Schedule A and Schedule B, The educator chooses the schedule they like best
- An answer key
- Discussion questions with answers to Burgess’s story, The Adventures of Buster Bear
What is in the Student Workbook?
The “Student Workbook” section of the study contains the following:
- A place to record Buster Bear’s character
- A place to take notes for the brown bear study
- A mini-lesson on note-taking
- Scripture copy work from Proverbs and James
- Wholesome Bible lessons to build character
- Memory verse
- The study of the four types of sentences, subjects and predicates, common and proper nouns, writing using quotation marks with detail, and alliteration
- Lessons on writing structured paragraphs
- Instructions on writing a strong lead
- Instructions on writing a concluding paragraph by ending with a sting
- For various activities, several options are given to help meet the different needs of your student
- Detailed lessons
- Picture studies
- Nature themed illustrations
How long will it take to complete the study?
It depends on the schedule you choose and how many lessons you complete in a day. Schedule A is slower paced and takes longer. Schedule A completes Burgess’s story, The Adventures of Buster Bear, and begins the study of brown bears before beginning the lessons in the student workbook. If you follow Schedule A as it is suggested, it will take approximately 40-45 days to complete. Schedule B is faster paced. The student works in the student workbook after the educator finishes the scheduled read aloud sessions. The lessons may take longer while using this schedule. If you follow Schedule B as it is suggested, it will take approximately 24-30 days to complete. I prefer Schedule A. Schedule A focuses on Burgess’s story first and the brown bear study. After the story is complete, then the student focuses on all the lessons in the student workbook. Both schedules work, both schedules will meet the objectives outlined in the unit, and both schedules accomplish the same goals. The schedules are based on the educator’s and student’s preferences. Please remember, the schedules serve as a guide. You as the educator can tailor it to your student’s individual needs as you see fit. Work at a pace that best fits you and your student.
I am unfamiliar with reading chapter books to my children. What is the best way to get started?
I understand the unsure feelings of moving beyond short picture books to read to your children. When I first started, I fretted. I also worried whether they would lose interest. I have actually found quite the opposite! No matter if I stumbled over the words while reading; the time, conversations, and bonding that results from a read aloud is beyond worth it. They enjoyed hearing a story and spending time together. The best way to get started is to just read to your child and don’t worry about the rest. The rest will take care of itself. In time, the consistency and effort you placed into reading to your children will reap many benefits and all the fruit that comes with it. The more you read aloud longer books to your children, the more comfortable you will become. Many books written by Thornton Burgess contain short chapters, so his books are wonderful and ideal books to start with! This is not needed for this study, however, you can familiarize yourself with the text of Burgess’s story by reading it beforehand.
I have younger children, how do I manage reading the text to my older children with minimal interruptions?
Trying to read aloud longer books while you have toddlers in tow can sometimes present challenges. I have found ways that help in our household. Timing can help. For example, depending on the ages of your younger children, reading during their nap time helps a lot. If your toddler takes a nap at 10 a.m., schedule that time for the read aloud of Burgess’s book and the study right after you lay your toddler down for a nap. Many of Burgess’s books contain shorter chapters. Shorter chapters present the option to include your younger ones. This also depends on the age of your children. I have found that providing snacks during reading time helps. Snacks can consist of something simple like crackers your toddler enjoys with a sippy cup of their preferred beverage. Providing coloring pintables, play dough, sensory activities- items that will hold your toddler’s interest and keep busy helps. You will know when the activities have lost their novelty. I like keeping boxes or containers from the Dollar Store with different toys and activities tucked away on my shelves. When the newness of toys or activities have worn off, something new on hand may help minimize distractions while reading to your older ones. Also, reading at bed time without being overly concerned about the discussion questions in the teacher’s handbook provides a wondrous time to just read and snuggle in close!
I have older children who have a hard time sitting still during a read aloud. What can I do to help them focus while I read?
I have a child with special needs. He does love being read to, but there are days when he needs a little extra something to help him focus. Again, timing can help. Is there a time that you can read aloud and work on the study after your child has been exploring outdoors for awhile? Or perhaps after they have been busy riding their bikes or running around. Many times, I have found that my children who get the wiggles just need to let out a little extra energy before sitting down.
Providing printables that pertain to the lesson can help them focus while you are reading. For example, in the story The Adventures of Buster Bear, some of the characters consist of an otter, a frog, a farm boy. The setting takes place in The Green Forest. Finding free nature themed printables of forests, otters, frogs, and bears may help motivate their minds to focus while they color or draw. Play dough and kinetic sand also aid in staying focused and still. Baking cookies, pies, and providing simple snacks they can munch on while you read, I find, really makes for a successful read a loud time! Again, this story serves as a wonderful bed time read aloud! You can read it to your child/children at that time.
Copyright © 2021 Jamie Gault