Sunday, December 29, 2013

Comparing Goldilocks and the Three Bears with The Three Snow Bears {Winter Must Read Mentor Texts}

Hey there!!  I am excited to share with you a winter book that I love to use in my classroom!

One of the things that Common Core asks of us is to compare and contrast stories.  I know Goldilocks and the Three Bears is a well known story.  Or you would think it is.  However, I am always delighted at how much my students enjoy James Marshall's version of it!

Goldilocks is very naughty in this book, and I think that's why the kids love it!  She's a fun character to read about!  Plus, I love James Marshall's illustrations!   It does have some good language in it that brings it up to a third grade level or so.

Well, a couple years ago I stumbled on The Three Snow Bears by Jan Brett. I love to use this book in the winter!  And, of course, we love Jan Brett.  Talk about some gorgeous illustrations!  And, it's a different version entirely of the Goldilocks story. Now, there are still three bears, but the setting is entirely different.  And, I do really love using these books, so of course I can tie this in to the fact that we learn about the Inuit in our Native American unit, and the kids love that!
Now, in this story, the little girl, Aloo-ki, is not nearly as naughty.  She basically just loses her dog sledding team and then discovers the Three Snow Bears' igloo, tries their breakfast, their boots, and then takes a nap.  The ending also shows that both the bears and Aloo-ki are very kind.  

So, two totally different stories based around the same general plot.

Now, since I teach fourth, I feel like I have to kick it up a notch.  We use these two stories for the basis of a writing piece- our own "Goldilocks" story.  We talk about the elements that made up both stories.  The basic structure is you have a person (a girl in these stories) who goes into someone or something else's house and then gets into 3 things that aren't their own.  Usually Papa Bear's is too big/hot, Mama Bear's is too squishy/cold, but Baby Bear's is juuuuuuuuust right.  So, we use that same structure.

Now, I let them choose any character and any animal they want for their story.  It can be a boy if they want it to be.  But it has to work itself out that they can think of three things that the character can try of the owner's.

I definitely spend a good deal of time on setting.  This is one of those elements in writing where students rarely do their setting justice.  They just don't think about really describing it for their audience.  So, we talk about that because the setting for these two stories is vastly different.  Now, we have the illustrations to help us out when we read these books, but their reader really wants to READ about the setting so they can understand.

Then, we get writing using the Goldilocks structure.  I try REALLY HARD to keep them from using exact copies.  Like, the soup was too hot, too cold, and just right.  Like, maybe they went into a rabbit's den and the carrots were too crunchy, too mushy, and just right.  That way, they aren't exact replica's of the Goldilocks and the Three Bears story, but their very own version.

This will be the first narrative we write when we are off break to get back into the swing of things, which makes it pretty painless for me and the kids.  And, I get to incoroporate a fun winter book!!

Now, you've probably seen other books like this one:
This story is told from Baby Bear's point of view.  I have not read this story, but I've seen a lot like them.  You could go even further with this and have the students write another version of their own Goldilocks story (you know, the one they just wrote?) and have them tell it from another point of view.  Talk about throwing in the Common Core!  Yes, I think I will!!

Yes, I know I just shared three books and only one was a winter book.  I totally broke my own rules.  Oh well.  It'll be ok.  And if you want to share more than one book, I say, GO FOR IT!!  :O)

Oh, and I did create a little unit last year to go with Goldilocks and the Three Bears versus The Three Snow Bears if you'd like to try these books out and have some activities to go with it.  :O)  

What are some of your favorite winter books?  If you don't blog, please feel free to comment!
Please Link Up!

Next week's linky- Language Arts


  1. My students looooooved the Golidlocks Rocks! book…me not as much, but they were cracking up the whole time. We do our comparing/contrasting folktales and fairytales unit at the beginning of the year, but I should definitely find the time to read them The Three Snow Bears, I know I have it (somewhere). I'm going to link up today! I promised that come the New Year I would blog, blog, blog so I need to get moving.

    Literacy Spark

    1. Hey guys,

      I'm not seeing where to link up but I could be blind….down at the bottom where the inlinkz is, it says submissions start today at 9 PM?

      Literacy Spark

  2. Thanks for the ideas! I've done Cinderella stories, but not Goldilocks. I'll have to check those books out!

    What I Have Learned

  3. I love comparing fairy tales and fractured fairy tales. They are such great tools for looking at perspective and comparing and contrasting. Two other Goldilocks books I love are Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs by Mo Willems (love him, so funny) and Goldilocks and Just one Bear by Leigh Hodgkinson. Mo's book (I call him Mo, just Mo) is great for looking for clues Goldi should have picked up on - perhaps she needs to work on her inferencing skills! The other one tells the story of Little Bear meeting up with Goldilocks in the city years later - great for writing prompt too. Hope you ladies are having an amazing, yet restful holiday!!

  4. Love the "point of view" lesson you can throw into this mix too! Such cute stories!
    Thanks for hosting!
    Learning to the Core


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