“We’re going on a bear hunt. We’re going to catch a big one! Are you afraid? I’m not afraid!”
Greg & Steve’s lyric to the classic story Going On a Bear Hunt thrills every child, every time. No doubt you have joined in on the “hunt” in your classroom. In a recent visit to Kasson, MN, we discovered a S.M.A.R.T. theme in a preschool that focused on this song.
Want to come along and see how Mrs. Sullivan set it up in a classroom that doubles as a S.M.A.R.T. space? We have created a brief slideshow of photos that display a S.M.A.R.T. course designed to go on a bear hunt for you to enjoy and find some fun ideas!
Slap/Creep Track: Using simple pictures of a bear and a cave on the cards, the students called out “bear – cave – bear – cave” (an A/B pattern) while gently slapping the cards. After a week, the pictures were switched out and students practiced rhyming using pictures of bear - pear – chair (an A/B/C pattern).
Free Creep: A tunnel was set up in the room as an additional area for creeping. Of course bears would love to creep through these “caves”!
Alligator Crawl: Students had to stay low while quickly and quietly crawling under the cave created with a table and butcher paper. Mrs. Sullivan put a table over the vinyl where students do the Alligator Crawl. She added some paper to make the table appear to be a cave. Little pictures of bears under the clear vinyl encouraged students to extend their arms as they crawled along.
Hopscotch: A simple addition of bear paws on construction paper made the Hopscotch rug fit the theme. Students hop along the bear tracks as they search for the bear.
Loop de Loos: This eye movement vision activity is how Mrs. Sullivan incorporated the camera and wheat field from the song. Different rows on the Loop de Loo have them finding a camera, a bear in the wheat field, trees in the forest, and some letter identification too.
Cross Patterning: We all remember the part of the song that requires us to row the boat across the river. Throw down a blue towel or blanket and cross the midline a set number of times to cross that river! Mrs. Sullivan has access to a wooden boat. She had students climb in and cross the midline by having the right hand tap the left knee and the left hand taps the right knee six times each to make sure they made it to shore. If you don’t have access to a boat, have students Cross Pattern march across the river.
The students in this program LOVED the fun ideas Mrs. Sullivan came up with for the S.M.A.R.T. room. Creating a story theme with fun variations was one way she added to the intensity of brain stimulation these young learners were receiving. Remember, you don’t have to change up all of your activities to keep the fun going! Choose what to use. Add them all or pick a few to add some fun. It might just be all that your students need to get excited.
Have you incorporated a book into your S.M.A.R.T. program? If you have, let us know about it! Send us some photos or description of activities to firstname.lastname@example.org
S.M.A.R.T. at Home
Movement is a powerful tool in the growth and development of your child. Movement keeps the mind and body healthy. It builds a stronger brain and supports emotional stability.
But is ANY kind of movement beneficial?
In our S.M.A.R.T. program, children are exposed to purposeful, specific movement designed to stimulate and mature areas of the brain necessary for success in school.
Each month, we strive to provide hands-on, practical S.M.A.R.T. strategies that can be done at home. This month, we are happy to share a fun game that uses these same types of movements, which target the development of critical foundational skills.
Children of all ages can play this game that pairs a movement or action with the letters in their name. The movements help spell their name. Older children can use this activity to practice spelling their middle or last name. You can even use this as a fun brain break when practicing spelling or vocabulary words!
Print out the game and post on your refrigerator for a fun, interactive, and S.M.A.R.T. family activity. Oh yes, and you may just find that your child is S.M.A.R.T.er and able to attend to their homework better after using some of these movements.
S.M.A.R.T. Name Game (PDF)
Time Saving Tips
Keeping S.M.A.R.T. activities fun and exciting for students is important and it takes TIME! Yet we know there is precious little of it when you consider all that you need to accomplish in a school day.
Our S.M.A.R.T. Spaces section this month highlights a fun theme we hope you will try with your students. To make it easier, let us do the creating so all you need to do is the implementing.
Below you will find content to use with various S.M.A.R.T. activities to create your own “Going on a Bear Hunt” theme. Just print, place, and enjoy!
Hopscotch: Follow the bear tracks by hopping along.
Bear Paw Hopscotch (PDF)
Slap/Creep Track: Cards with a bear and a cave are available with the image only or with the word printed on.
Bear Cave Images (PDF) and Bear Cave Words (PDF)
A set of honeypot cards can be used add to the bear theme. Above the honeypot, write in academic content that students need to review. The content could be a letter, a shape, a color, a sight word, or even a sequence of numbers to practice skip counting.
Honey Pot (PDF)
Loop de Loo:
Mrs. Sullivan is happy to share the Loop de Loo she created for her theme.
Bear Hunt Loop-de-Loo (PDF)
That's One S.M.A.R.T. Teacher!
Do you have students who race through the Balance Beam? Do you need help slowing students down, adding a challenge, or promoting excitement? Well, no need to stress because One S.M.A.R.T. Pre-K Teacher from Stewartville, MN has a simple solution for you!
Krista found that many of her 4 and 5-year old students were getting bored at the Balance Beam. When they got bored, the execution of the activity got sloppy. (This is very typical, in fact; we discuss it during the “Keeping it Fun” section in the workshop.)
Looking for something quick and accessible in her classroom, Krista grabbed four plastic drinking cups and attached a heart on each. The cups were lined up on the Balance Beam and the challenge of stepping over each cup while still walking heel-to-toe was explained and modeled.
Krista has noticed this quick and easy addition to her tapeline beam has significantly improved the focus and attention of students at this station.
For more tips on adding some fun or even a little challenge to the Balance Beam check out the S.M.A.R.T. Pre-K CORE guide pages 40-41 and S.M.A.R.T. Curriculum Guide pages 51-53.