This post is about Fuzzy Wuzzy, a book by Theodore Jerome Cohen with a free educational resource including letter sized teaching posters and paper stick puppets. My recent blog posts have been about two other books by Theodore Jerome Cohen, including Pepe Builds a NestandRufus Finds a Home.I made free educational printables for both of those books as well as this one. All PDFs are free instant downloads with no password required.
Fuzzy Wuzzy is a story with real photos of bears and a wolf that helps children learn to listen when given directions. The pictures are clear and further the story line. The bears are real and adorable. The wolf is . . . realistic! For a child who might need reminders about listening to parents, this is the perfect read aloud. Children who like science and animals will like it as well. Many of my students preferred nonfiction photos to cutesy clip art, and they paid better attention to real photographs. Of course, the story is fiction and ends happily as all good children’s stories do!
Behavior is a constant issue in the classroom and at home. While this book makes a somewhat dramatic point using Ivan the Wolf as the antagonist, it also ends well and should reinforce good behavior in children. What if Mama Bear had not shown up at the perfect moment? Because the photos are of real bears and nature, children will eagerly listen and engage with the text. Then, using the ideas from the story, a teacher can work on further ideas and learning with the class at home, homeschool, school, or daycare.
Paper Puppets on a Stick and Letter Sized Teaching Posters
The free printable includes a teacher talk page of ideas, a picture discussion guide, letter-sized teaching posters, and paper puppets for craft sticks. The posters may be used in a discussion, on a bulletin board, or as an activity with the pictures posted to walk-stop-discuss around the classroom. For a discussion, simply hold up each printed page at a time for a guided discussion on listening or not behavior. The “not” part means when children are not listening and/or not following parent directions.
PREPARATION: Print the pages that will fit your class or teaching situation. Arrange chairs and classroom furniture (or home furniture) and display one page per walking around the room stop to make the ideas very concrete for the children. Plan the path the class will take around the room or area. Print as many copies as needed of the following pages you select. Optional: Tape pictures to closed doors, open doors, and chairs.
ACTIVITY: Have children quietly walk around the classroom stopping at each sign. Ask the children what the picture on the letter sized poster might mean, applying it to their own lives. Is the child in the picture listening and following directions? When the pictures show misbehavior or not following directions or not listening, let the children discuss it as it might relate to their own lives. Questions to ask are on the picture discussion guide page at the end of the PDF.
Focus on the fact that listening, following rules, and good behavior are in the children’s own best interests. Stress the fact that not listening or following directions could lead to putting children in danger or unpleasant situations. Say parents help children by giving warnings and advice. Have children share possible natural consequences of not following advice from adults. What is Fuzzy Wuzzy’s mother had not arrived on the scene at the right time?
Color and black and white every pupil response puppets are included in the PDF. Use the bear for “is listening” and the wolf for “is not following directions.”
Character stick puppets are intended so children can re-enact the story. They could be used for a retelling comprehension check, or even for students to create their own story with the same characters.
Here is a video showing some of the pages in the freebie.
Carolyn Wilhelm is the author of The Wise Owl Factory site and blog. She has an MS in Gifted Education, an MA in Curriculum and Instruction K-12, and has completed the KHT Montessori 12 month program. She makes mostly free resources for teachers and parents. Her children's books are available on Amazon. She was a public school teacher for 28 years, three of those in a desegregation school, five in schools with the Minneapolis Choice is Yours program as a Wayzata teacher. She has been trained in numerous areas such as CGI Math, the National Urban Alliance, reading strategies, writing workshop, and others listed on her about page.