Sequencing and Perspective-Taking with “The Very Cranky Bear”

“In the Jingle Jangle Jungle on a cold and rainy day,
four little friends found a perfect place to stay.”

The Very Cranky Bear Book CoverThus begins our journey with Zebra, Moose, Lion, Sheep and Bear!

The Very Cranky Bear by Nick Bland is a delightful presentation in rhyme which will surely entertain Pre-K–Grade 1 students.

Below are a few activities that may be presented, modify to meet the needs of your students.

1. Retell the story

The selection from the Bear’s Perspective:

Character IconCharacter: Bear

StarSetting: Cave, rainy day

ShoeInitiating Event: Disturbed while sleeping by zebra, moose, lion, sheep, and bear

Heart IconInternal Response: Angry

Plan IconPlan: To get some rest

Action IconAttempt: Chases them out

Action IconAttempt: Chases Zebra, Moose, and Lion out from cave after they use their ideas to try to cheer him up

Action IconAttempt: Tells (roars) sheep “All I really want is a quiet place to sleep.”

Consequence IconDirect Consequence: Sheep makes him a soft pillow using his wool. Bear goes to sleep

Resolution IconResolution: Peaceful, Relaxed, Satisfied (Was he dreaming of a thoughtful sheep?)

The story could be taken from each of the character’s perspectives.


Character IconCharacter: Sheep

StarSetting: In the cave

ShoeInitiating Event: Bear chases the other characters out of the cave after they use their ideas to cheer him up. He goes back into the cave and roars at sheep, “ALL I REALLY WANT IS A QUIET PLACE TO SLEEP!”

Heart IconInternal Response: Surprised (great picture for feeling words); shocked; scared

Plan IconPlan: To help bear get to sleep

Action IconAttempt: Clips off half her wool with clippers

Action IconAttempt: Stuffs the wool into a cotton bag

Action IconAttempt: Tiptoes back inside and asks bear if he would like a pillow

Consequence IconDirect Consequence: Bear thanks sheep and goes to sleep; Sheep and his friends go back to playing cards

Resolution IconResolution: Sheep is pleased, warm, satisfied

2. The above could be acted out by students with simple costumes.

I am reminded of the time I taught kindergarten and of my teaching mentor, Gail O’Connor. She was so skilled at taking stories and adding simple props, then letting students add their own touches to characters! This story would so lend itself to a student play!

3. Each character had his/her own thought of what would cheer bear up.

Students could use this free thought downloadable (shown below). Modify it to meet the needs of your students (drawing or writing). The SGM’s Critical Thinking Triangle® is the crux of the SGM tools, focusing on the thoughts of characters for perspective taking. This book is a simple introduction to a character’s thinking.

Download Picture Page 1Download Picture Page 2Download Picture Page 3

Download Thought Development Sheets

4. This story could also be used to show the four characters and what attempts they each made to please bear, using the beads on Braidy doll.

Students could be asked to write a sentence, as modeled here, using the sequence words. Then, the sentence strips could be cut and put in order, as shown.

Sample Sentence Strip

Sentence Strips in Order

Use this downloadable and modify it as you wish.

Sheila Zagula
Sheila Zagula


Sheila Zagula works with MindWing Concepts in product development, drawing on her expertise and talents as well as many years of implementing the Story Grammar Marker® and related materials. Her teaching career spans thirty-eight years, most recently as literacy coach in the Westfield Massachusetts Public School System. Sheila has experience as an early childhood educator, a teacher of children with special needs, and a collaborative instructor within an inclusion framework serving children in grades K-5.

2 Responses

Trish Wysocki
Trish Wysocki

October 15, 2017

What a great resource you are Sheila. I miss collaborating with you! Natalya and I are teaching writing together this year. Aunt Geraldine was our example !

Cecilia Vellozo
Cecilia Vellozo

October 11, 2017

Such a wonderful resource for one of the books I most enjoy. TY!

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