Illustrated by Andrea Bowers
Text Type: Fiction: Poetry—poem
Oral Language Teaching Strategy: Using Open-Ended Prompts Use open-ended prompts that invite thoughtful reflections and deeper responses.
Time: 20 minutes
– All Together Now, page 5
– bear puppet
– crackers spread with honey (be aware of any students with allergies)
– Media Key or Online: “The Beehive” audio
Grouping: whole class and partners
Assessment: Kindergarten Oral Language Assessment Scale See especially the section on Phonological and Phonemic Awareness.
- Show the students the illustration that accompanies the poem.
Activating and Building Background Knowledge
Hi there! I’m a brown bear and I live in this forest. The poem’s called “The Beehive,” and there are bees buzzing around. Can you tell me what you know about bees, and what you think might be happening here?Using the brown bear puppet, point to the title and read it to the students. Invite them to examine the illustration and tell you what they know about bees, and what they think is happening in the picture. As you listen to student responses, be sure to use open-ended prompts to encourage students to give thoughtful responses. [Analyzing/making connections/evaluating]
We sure know a lot about bees! I’m keeping my eye on on these bees because honey is my all-time favourite food!Paraphrase students’ responses and add important information if it’s not mentioned (e.g., bees live in beehives; they make honey in honeycomb inside beehives; they move from flower to flower collecting pollen; pollen scattered by bees help plants grow fruit and seeds; bees can sting)
Setting a Purpose
- Use the bear puppet to explain to students that as they listen to the poem, they should be thinking about why the bees were in the beehive. [Making connections/inferring]
- Use the bear puppet to read the poem to the class, tracking the print as you read. Then invite the students to join in as you reread the poem.
- Focus on comprehension by offering prompts:
- Why do you think these bees are coming out of the beehive? Why do you think that? [Inferring/making connections]
- How many bees have come out of hiding? [Analyzing]
- Might there be more bees around that we can’t see in the illustration? What makes you think that? [Making connections/inferring]
Adding Playful Movements
- Setting the puppet aside, play the fluent reading and teach students the actions that accompany the poem:
- Here is the beehive,
Where are the bees?
(make a fist, palm facing in towards you)
- Hidden away
Where nobody sees.
(place other hand in front of the fist)
- Watch, and you’ll see them
Come out of their hive.
One, two, three, four, five.
(thumb and fingers of fist hand pop up, one by one)
(still wiggling our fingers) Can you see these bees flying away, just like they’re doing in the picture?Bzzzz!
(wave covering hand around and wiggle finger “bees”)
- Have students practise the actions, one line at a time, then have them put the actions together and perform the entire poem together.
When we started reading and listening to this poem, I asked you to think about why the bees were inside the hive. What did you decide was the reason? What clues made you think that?Revisit the purpose for reading by asking students why the bees were inside the hive. [Making connections/inferring]
(brown bear voice) This is the moment I’ve been waiting for! Join me for a taste of delicious honey, just like the honey those bees have been making!Conclude the session with everyone performing the actions and chanting the poem along with the fluent reading. If you have a copy of Castles, Caves, and Honeycombs by Linda Ashman (a Literacy Place for the Early Years Kindergarten Read Aloud), show students the illustration of a bear licking honey from an unseen honeycomb. Use the bear puppet to hand around the plate of crackers spread with honey.
The students will want to reread “The Beehive.” During further lessons, consider including a balance of ideas from the following areas:
Engaging in Playful Language Activities
- In small groups, have students pretend they are the bees in the poem as they chant along with the fluent reading. Students can bustle around together quietly in their group, as though they’re working out of sight inside their beehive, then they can buzz as they fly out of the hive, one at a time.
Hi busy bees! Now you’re going to imagine that you’re buzzing off together to collect nectar. Remember to fly slowly, and talk to each other about what you’re doing and what you see along the way.Invite elbow partners to imagine that they are two of the bees in the poem, and ask them to have a conversation about a busy day around the beehive.
Think about the insects and animals you might see as you fly around the forest, and talk about what they are doing as they work and play through the dayAsk students to imagine that they are bees flying above the tree in the illustration. Invite elbow partners to have a ‘bee’s-eye-view’ conversation about the insects and animals that share the forest with them. Ask some of the partners to share their conversations with the class.
I’m wondering what that bee is thinking as it heads back to the beehive. What do you think? What makes you think that?Ask students to create a picture of bees in a garden. Have each student dictate a message to you to describe the picture. Scribe each student’s message, then read it back to the student, tracking the print as you read. Then ask the student to read along with you. Revisit these read alongs at various times over the next few days, asking open-ended questions about various aspects of the picture and text.
- Brainstorm with students other animals and the homes they live in that could be substituted for the bees and beehive in the poem. Students may wish to use the puppets for inspiration. Write the animal home, name, and sound on sticky notes to place overtop ‘beehive,’ ‘bees,’ ‘hive,’ and ‘Bzzzz,’ then read the new version of the poem with students. You may wish to repeat the activity using different animals.
- Display the digital cloze version of the text on the Media Key. Working with the whole class, or with a small group, reread together and encourage students to supply the missing words (spaces for words highlighted in yellow). You may decide to pause to consider word predictions and prompt, “Does that make sense?” or “Does that sound right?” Then click on the colour-highlighted spot to reveal the word, saying, “Let’s check that out.” An option on the tool bar allows you to create your own cloze versions of the text to meet the needs of the students you are working with. Click on the ‘Help’ button to find out how to use the different features of the digital texts.
Developing Phonological Awareness
- With students, brainstorm rhyming words for ‘hive’ (e.g., ‘dive,’ ‘five,’ ‘live’) and ‘bee’ (e.g., ‘fee,’ ‘knee,’ ‘see,’ ‘me’).
- Ask students to name all of the words in the poem that begin with the letter ‘h’ (‘here,’ ‘hidden,’ ‘hive’). Then ask elbow partners to think of other words that begin with the same letter. Ask students to share their words with the rest of the class and jot them on the chalkboard, saying each word as you print it.
Enriching Print Concepts
- Read the poem without using hand actions, but instead tracking the words as you read and reread the poem, emphasizing the movement from the end of one line to the beginning of the next.
- Invite students to take turns tracking the print as they become familiar with the poem. If desired, they can use the bear puppet to help them.
- Examine the upper and lower case ‘H/h’ in ‘Here’ or ‘Hidden’ and ‘hive.’ Then ask each student to print the beginning letter of their first name using both upper- and lower-case letters (e.g., ‘N’ ‘n’ for Nadir).
- Put the bear puppet and big book at a centre and encourage students to reread the poem, tracking the print or performing the accompanying hand actions. The fluent reading on the Media Key or online can be used for support, if desired.
- Add illustrated books and poems about insects to the library corner (e.g., “I Speak, I Say, I Talk” from Literacy Place for the Early Years’ Say It Out Loud, The Grasshopper and the Ant by Deb Loughead [a Kindergarten Shared Reading text], The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and The Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle). Include recordings of the texts in the listening centre, if available, to support student reading.
- Students may work independently or in small groups to use any of the puppets to create, practise, and perform a short puppet play about insect and animal life in a forest. Ask selected groups to perform their plays for the entire class.
- Invite students to paint a picture or make a collage of a bee, bees, or beehive. Display the results and ask students to dictate a caption for their creation. Read the captions with them, and encourage them to read their own caption to other students during sharing time.