Musical Footnotes - JALT

Teachers Learning with Children 6(3), Autumn 2001, pp. 19-20
Let’s Go on a Bear Hunt!!!
上げることです。人気のある子供向けのお話 “Going on a Bear Hunt”を使って、この方法の様
In the EFL classroom, or indeed in any
elementary school classroom, self-motivated
learning is the key to success. When children
are so completely absorbed in a lesson that
they have forgotten they are in “school,” we as
teachers have a great opportunity to introduce
them to a variety of topics.
This is good news as we explore the theme of
“Teaching Content.” An effective contentbased lesson allows us to incorporate a variety
of language goals, plus integrate previouslylearned material. In addition, we have greater
flexibility to expand the lesson to challenge
our more advanced students.
I. The “Bear Hunt” approach to learning...
Many of us are familiar with the popular children’s story, “Going on a Bear Hunt.” Usually recited in
chant form and played out with dramatic action, this type of “adventure” exercise is extremely popular
with children. While walking with their teacher on an imaginary trip through the great outdoors in search
of a bear, children are being taught a content-based lesson. Here are two possible content areas, which
we’ve limited to six target words each:
1. Geography: the physical world we live in
Target language: meadow, hill, river, lake, forest, cave
2. Forest Animals: the animals that live in our forests
Target language: deer, fox, beaver, frog, squirrel, bear
Additional vocabulary could include prepositions, such as: under, over, around, through, across.
Introduce the lesson by teaching the vocabulary of one content category above. Practice the vocabulary in
an appropriate phrase pattern. One phrase can be taught each week in the following order:
a. I see a meadow.
b. Look! It’s a river, fox. (Question: What is it?)
c. Please / Let’s go around it.
The original chant, in which each line is recited by the teacher and then repeated by the children, is as
Going on a bear hunt!
(pretend to march in place)
I’m not afraid!
(shake head, look brave)
Look! It’s a meadow.
(point!, indicate meadow full of grass)
A very big meadow.
(hold arms wide)
We can’t go under it.
(make a low sweeping dip with hand)
We can’t go over it.
(make a high sweeping arch with hand)
Let’s walk through it.
(thrust hand straight ahead and create the sound of walking through tall grass using your hands
and voice)
For early learners, try this simplified version (teacher recites, children repeat):
Going on a bear hunt!
(pretend to march in place)
I’m not afraid!
(shake head, look brave)
I see a meadow.
(point!, indicate meadow full of grass)
A very big meadow.
(hold arms wide)
Come on! Let’s go!
(thrust hand straight ahead)
Create sounds to mimic walking through a meadow.
Picture cards of the meadow, forest, cave, and other physical features can be placed around the room.
Students march with the teacher around the room as they encounter each area, repeating the stanza above
with the correct words. For large classes, only the teacher moves and stands in front of each new picture
After crossing the meadow, the river, the hill, the lake, and the forest, students come to the bear cave and
see the very BIG, but thankfully sleeping, BEAR! The teacher then says very quietly...
Look! It’s a bear! Shhhhh! Let’s tiptoe!
Students tiptoe past each picture card in reverse order, naming each card and then sitting down at their
The next week add another content category to the chant. Picture cards of the various animals are then
placed around the room with the geography picture cards. Students and/or teacher then point and say, for
example: Look! It’s a deer. This phrase can be added after naming the location, such as “I see a meadow.
A very big meadow. Look! It’s a deer!”
In a later class, add prepositions such as through the meadow, across the river, over the hill, around the
lake, and through the forest. Students end the chant by tiptoeing back to their desks....tired but happy after
a wonderful and memorable adventure!