Thursday, August 25, 2011

Ask Mr. Bear

Ask Mr. Bear
This week, we rowed Ask Mr. Bear, by Marjorie Flack.  This is a story about a little boy, named Danny, who is looking for the perfect birthday present for his mom. He asked several of his farm animal friends for a gift to give to his mom.  Finally, he runs to the woods, where he finds Mr. Bear.  Mr. Bear tells him the perfect thing to give his mother.  Danny runs home and gives his mom a big bear hug for her birthday.

The first thing that the girls did was to pick out a gift for their daddy and their uncle.  I took them to The Dollar Tree, where they walked up and down all the aisles until they found the perfect gifts.  There was lots of trading of gifts, before settling on the right thing.  Originally, Ella wanted to buy her daddy a toy dinosaur or a princess make-up kit.  She wanted to buy her uncle a pack of surfer themed erasers or a box of cookies.  She finally settled on candy for both her daddy and her uncle.  Arin chose a paddle ball set for her daddy because his favorite sport to play is racquetball, so she knew he'd like paddle ball too :)  And she also chose candy for her uncle.

The day after shopping for surprise gifts, we had a fun "Ask Mr. Bear Lunch Party".  First, I read the story to the guests.

Then, the girls gave their gifts.

In the story, the hen wants to give Danny an egg, so we had deviled eggs with our lunch.

The goat wants to give Danny milk for making cheese.  We had a goat cheese spread for our crackers.  I mixed three ounces of goat's milk cheese, four ounces of cream cheese, and a couple of tablespoons of fresh, chopped dill together.  Then, I rolled it in toasted almonds.  Andrew and Ella loved the cheese spread on crackers.  It was still a little too "goaty" for the rest of us, though Arin said it was better than she expected it to be.

The sheep wanted to give Danny wool to make a blanket for his mother.  I wanted to find wool yarn, but I only went to one store which didn't carry any, so I bought a nice, thick, soft yarn and made the girls each a little lap blanket.

In the story, the cow wants to give Danny milk and cream.  I used milk to make pudding and I turned cream into whipped cream.  This was our dessert.

The story is called "Ask Mr. Bear", so during lunch, we took turns being Mr. or Mrs. Bear, by wearing a mask.  Everyone asked the bear questions.  The girls got a good kick out of this.

The goose in the story wanted to give Danny feathers to make a pillow.  After our lunch, we headed out to feed the geese, but we apparently we went to the wrong side of the lake (we saw geese after our bread was all gone) so we fed the ducks and swans instead.


Counting:  I made a set of seven (because that's all the stickers I had) bear themed counting cards for Ella.  Each card had a different number of bears on it.  She was to count them and clip the correct clothespin to the card.

Subtraction:  Arin is working on subtraction in her math book right now, so I thought we'd tie it in with this week's row as well.  Arin really loves action games, so I made her an "Action Subtraction" game.  I printed out a set of animal cards.  On each card, I wrote the action that the animal did in the story.  For example, the hen skipped, so I wrote skip on the card with the hen.  I wrote run on the cow's card, even though the cow did not have an action in the story.  I put the set of animal cards face-down on the table next to Arin.

 I also gave her a pair of dice.  She rolled the dice, wrote the subtraction sentence (bigger number minus smaller number).  Then, figured out the answer.  If need be, she was allowed to use crayons as counters.  Anything could be used of course, but crayons were handy to us at the time :) 

If she got the answer correct on the first try, she was allowed to turn over one animal card and do the action listed. 


Yes, this was a big hit.  She was sad when she ran out of room on her paper and she asked to continue on another piece of paper.

Sorting:  I found cute little boxes of farm animal cookies at the Dollar Tree.  I gave Ella a pile of them and had her sort them by animal into piles.  (I actually looked through them first and only gave her four of the animals listed in the story, even though there were more animal shapes in the box).  She had fun with this, but was even more excited when it was snack time and she got to eat these animals.

Graphing:  Once Ella had sorted the animal cookies into piles, Arin counted each pile and graphed the number of animals.

Measuring:  While at the lake feeding the ducks and swans, I gathered a baggy full of feathers.  I brought them home and washed them really good.  Then, Arin measured three of the feathers and recorded her findings.

Sight Words
I cut out 12 simple teddy bear shapes. On nine of the bears, I wrote pre-primer sight words found in the story (there were many more than nine listed in the book, but that's the number I chose to start with).  On the remaining three bears, I wrote the word "hug".  I turned all the bears face-down in front of Arin.  One at a time, she'd turn over a card and either read the word, or give me (or Ella) a big bear hug.  If she wasn't able to read the word on the card, it'd go back face-down in the pile for another try.  This was probably my favorite game - after all, a mama cannot get too many hugs :)

Letter of the Week
Ella's Letter of the Week is "Gg" (for gift).  She found the letter G and g in a simple worksheet.  She also learned the sound that this letter makes.

Originally, I was going to have Arin memorize this poem, but we ran out of time, so we just read it several times over the week.

by Eve Merriam

What kind of walk shall we take today?
Leap like a frog? Creep like a snail?
Scamper like a squirrel with a furry tail?
Flutter like a butterfly? Chicken peck?
Stretch like a turtle with a poking-out neck?
Trot like a pony, clip clop clop?
Swing like a monkey in a treetop?
Scuttle like a crab? Kangaroo jump?
Plod like a camel with an up-and-down
We could even try a brand-new way—
Walking down the street
On our own two feet.

The cow wanted to give Danny milk, so we did an experiment which included milk.  I poured milk into a shallow bowl.  Arin dropped four drops of food coloring into the bowl.  Then, I added a drop of dish washing soap to the middle.  We watched the food coloring quickly spread out. With a gentle swirl of the bowl, we were able to get the colors to combine (somewhat).

We did have more activities planned, but ran out of time.  The girls had a lot of fun with the activities that we did.

Next, we'll be rowing We're Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen.

Linked to:
Preschool Corner (5k too)


  1. Your weeks are so packed full of fun and learning together. I like the way you did the sorting and graphing with the crackers.

    I remember doing that milk experiment with my daughter years ago when she was about 5. She thought it was so cool!

    We are rowing Bear Hunt this upcoming week too! Looking forward to seeing what you do with yours!

  2. Love how you tied all the things he asked for into your lunch! So fun. We did not row this book, but it looks cute. Your girls sure look like they are enjoying it too. :)

  3. As always, I love seeing the joy of learning in all the families using the Five in a Row books!

    Thank you for sharing :)

  4. What a great week! I used that same yarn to make a hat and blanket for the baby doll that E is getting for her bday this weekend.

    Melissa A

  5. You guys are so busy! I love your teaching posts here and previously, they are so awesome to see:) Great job, Oh, The blanket was lovely, nice work!!! I love checking in on you.

    Many blessings dear friend. Glad to see you're all doing well.


  6. I love you break everything down. I love BFIAR and love all that you do. Thanks for all the great ideas:>