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Teaching dynamics in your elementary music class? Then you need to teach your music students the song Grizzly Bear.
This song is one of the main reasons that I decided to do a bear and mouse unit for my kindergarten and first graders this year. We did Grizzly Bear, Hickory Dickory Dock, Mouse Mousie, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, and Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do you see? We related forte to bears and piano to mice, like I outlined in this post.
Out of all of the different songs and activities that we did, this was the favorite.
There are a bunch of different games that go along with this lesson. I will include a few versions that I have seen/heard of along with the one that I actually did with my students.
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Grizzly Bear Lesson
- First, I had the students warm up with the rhyme Hickory Dickory Dock (you can check out my FREE product on TPT here)
- Ask your students: are mice loud or quiet? Musicians call quiet a special word– piano. What kind of animal is loud? (keep going until students guess a bear)
- Sing the song for the students and have them listen the first time. It is extra fun if you walk around while you sing it because the students get really shocked at the end. Sing it again and have students hold their hands up high when it is forte, low when it is piano, or in the middle when it is in the middle.
- Then ask for the students to join you in singing.
- Ask them: If we don’t want to wake up the grizzly bear, what dynamic level should we be singing?
Also read: Free Music Lesson: Bizet Scarf Routine
Like I said, there are many different types of games for this song. I know of at least three different versions.
- Sing the song and walk around in a circle. One student is in the middle, laying on the floor. This child is the grizzly bear. At the end of the song, the teacher walks up and taps the child. The child jumps up and roars at everyone else. (I have also done this without anyone touching the child, they just hopped up at the end of the song.)
- Sing the song and walk around in a circle. One student lays on the floor in the middle– this child is the grizzly bear. At the end of the song, the bear gets up. All of the students have to be frozen. If they move, then they bear pretends to eat them. They have to get out of the circle (or just sit down).
- Sing the song and walk around in a circle. One student lays on the floor in the middle– this child is the grizzly bear. At the end of the song, the bear pops up. The other students try to get to a safe place in the room (maybe a wall or a carpet). The bear tries to tag the students before they get to the safe place.
Also read: Favorite Activities for Piano and Forte
I used the first version until I heard the second version of it– then we switched. The third version looks like fun, but it is a little bit too chaotic for my population of students.
Don’t forget to sign up for the exclusive FREE RESOURCE LIBRARY so that you can download the lyric and rhythm sheets to go along with this song.
Which one do you like? Is there a different version that you like? Let us know in the comments!