The Big Black Bear – Comprehension Lesson Plan

The Big Black Bear – Comprehension Lesson Plan
“Run!” It wasn’t the word that alerted me, it was the sound of cold hard terror that accompanied it. My mind froze. What could possibly have scared the ever tough Sam

so much as to inflict that slight tremor in his otherwise gruff voice? Whatever it was, it had to be bad. Clutching the tent peg in my sweaty right hand, I slowly stood.

I felt it before my eyes even caught sight of it. My heart stopped. It was in my throat, I was sure. Darkness swirled around me. It threatened to eat me whole. What was happening? My senses slowly returned and when I regained my eyesight, I wished that I had not. For, standing there, before me, was the biggest most terrifying sight of my life. My gaze slowly traveled downward from the swirling grey sky. The clouds, full of rain, were trying to warn me of something. I was too frightened to take heed of the warning.

My breath caught in my throat. There he was. The Big Black Bear. The snout glistened with moisture. The teeth, sharp and browned by the decades of eating raw flesh, were exposed in a sneer. The howl that rose from his mouth curdled my blood. His mighty claws, sharp from all those years of wondering the woods alone, curled like some hideous cockatoos beak. His mammoth form filled my vision and halted me in my tracks, as only those things we truly fear can. Should I run? Should I stand deathly still?

That choice was taken from me, for, with a roar that no earthly creature should possess, he pounced.

Suddenly my legs were like leaden weights. My feet were heavy, but I ran. I ran as fast as I could go. Where was Sam? Mighty Sam, slayer of the giants? My head was fuzzy, which way was the house?

The sound of splashing drew my attention. Would it be a good idea to bring this rabid beast so close to my family? If it did get near, could Suzie outrun him? If anything happened to her on my watch, mum would kill me. Well, at least then I wouldn’t have to worry about this monster getting me.

With a gruff shout, Sam saved me once again. “Look out!”
The animal took off after him at breakneck speed. I hadn’t realized how close it had come to getting me. Its horrible mouth had been mere inches from my flesh. I’d have to try to help Sam, of course, after just one more breath.

“Sam!” I shrieked trying to work out where he would have gone. Mum would kill me if anything happened to him, too. Aunty June would be livid. She was upset when he went home from holidays with us last time with sunburn.

At last I saw him. He was standing, shivering, trying to stare the beast down. The fangs of the monster dripped with saliva. I could see it was almost literally licking its lips. Its eye glistened angrily, glaring their hunger at us. The target. The next meal. It reared up, ready to pounce. The tongue lolled dumbly in its head, ready to eat us. My legs froze. The expression on Sam’s face was a frozen mask of deathly fear. The big black bear lurched forward…

“BEAR!” It was another insistent screech. Mrs Toppernickel.
“Bear, get into this house now!”
The big black bear stopped. Its tongue hung limply out of the side of his mouth. Every summer it was the same. Sam and I would spend at least five out of six days of our holiday trying to get away from that beast. Even its sweet rottweiler head never helped us to like it. It wasn’t a normal dog. Mrs Toppernickel, she never looked after it properly, and she never believed us when we told her of its evil nature.
“Oh, not Bear” she would claim, “He’s as gentle as a lamb!”
Yeah, a lamb with rabies, I say!

COMPREHENSION

1. Now that you have read the story, highlight all of the descriptive words and identify them as being either, an adverb or an adjective.
2. Try to answer the following questions.

1. What is the meaning of the following words:

a) screech b) lurched c) mere d) limply
e)gruff f) curdled g) pounced h) livid

2. What is the purpose of writing the Big Black Bear in capital letters?
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3. What kind of person is Sam? ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

4. What kind of person is Mrs Toppernickel? ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

5. Why is the persona in the story scared of the Big Black Bear? ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

6. What does the quote “mighty Sam, slayer of the giants” tell us about the way the persona feels about Sam? ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

7. What do you think the person in the story was doing when the “monster” came near him? ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

8. What physical description of the Big Black Bear helps to make the reader realize that the characters in the story should be scared? ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

9. What was happening to the protagonist when he said “darkness swirled around me..”? ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

10. Why is the author talking about being “frozen” so often? ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Now that you have completed the comprehension, think about the title of the story. The Big Black Bear!

The word ‘big’ is an adjective, a word that describes a noun. It is not a very interesting word though! Now, let’s try to find some other words to use instead of big and small.

ACTIVIY: Choose an appropriate word from the box to fill in the space in each sentence.

1. To cast out over the reef into deep water, Dad needed a big __________fishing rod.
2. During the housing shortage, people were prepared to pay big ________ prices.
3. The visiting pop star stayed in a big _________ suite in the hotel.
4. It looked as if I had mumps, as my glands were big _________.
5. The pyramids are big ____________ tomb for ancient Egyptian royalty.
6. The opposing boxer stood there flexing his bib ____________ muscles.
7. Several people began whispering to each other during his big ___________ speech.
8. The rich stockbroker lived in a big _____________ house on the waterfront.
9. The man seen driving off in the stolen car was short and big ___________.
10. The dead bull had become big _____________ after lying two days in the paddock.

ACTIVITY: Now that you have learned some more vocabulary words, use as many as you can by writing an alternate ending to the story. Try to keep to the scaffold of the narrative text type.
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