“Bear Feels Sick”
By Karma Wilson
Spending many years teaching in the primary grades, I became obsessed with children’s books. My family has even accused me of needing “book” rehab. What better way to teach young children how to read and write, but for the love of books. Bear Feels Sick by Karma Wilson is one of my all-time favorites. Isn’t that what we all want when we get sick, someone to tend to our every need until we get back to good health? Bear experiences just that, a menagerie of doting friends that nurse him back to health. This entertaining story sparks a creative writing lesson emphasizing the idea of showing rather than telling how you feel.
The lesson begins by analyzing genre and author’s purpose. Students look at the book’s cover and title and make predictions about the genre, discussing the organization and structure of this particular genre. Then they use the summarizing framework to summarize the book, heightening their understanding of a narrative story.
Next, the students enjoy revisiting the story, recalling how bear felt when he was sick. From these charted descriptions, students help the teacher create a writing sample “showing” what sick looks like and feels like. The art connection along with an extended lesson on word referents result in skill-building and fun at the same time. Click on the lesson and help Bear feel better by showing off your writing skills!