Jedi Music

A Resource for the Beginning Elementary Music Teacher


Vocal Timbre Practice with the Three Bears

My kindergarten language support students love a good snuggle with a stuffed animal, as witnessed in a recent music class.  We had three visitors: Papa, Mama, and Baby Bear, right out of the story "Goldilocks and the Three Bears".  Using stuffed animals in the lesson helped some of my shy students gain more courage to try out their low, medium, and high voices.

A special purchase of three stuffed bears was not necessary.  As most moms will attest, stuffed animals seem to mysteriously MULTIPLY in a home with children. The kids seem to receive them as gifts, win them at church picnics, and before you know it, you have a house overrun with stuffed critters!  For the bears used for this lesson, I just searched through the collection and found three of different sizes, and off to school they went.  If you don't have children of your own, try asking a mom you know...she'll probably be glad to donate some bears for you to use!

Start this lesson on different vocal timbres by discussing each stuffed bear and their unique vocal timbre.  Of course, big Papa bear has the low voice, medium-sized Mama has a middle-range voice, and little Baby Bear has the high squeaky voice.  We try out each of the voices as I introduce the Bears to the class.

Next, I give each of the three bears to three students to hold while I begin reading the story.  There are many versions of this well-known story.  Three books pictured here are authored by Caralyn Buehner, Jan Brett, and James Marshall.  Each time the bears say their phrases ("Who's been sitting in my chair?", "Who's been eating my porridge?", etc), I give the child who is holding the bear a chance to speak in each bear's vocal timbre.   After speaking in their low, medium, and high voices, the students pass their bear on to another student to have a turn.

For an extension activity, students can color the three bears ( has a terrific selection of different Goldilocks and the Three Bears coloring pages) and label them with the words low, medium, and high.  If your students have difficulty with printing, you can pre-print their pages with these labels.  When they are finished, make them a part of a student-created bulletin board!

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