Role Play/Teacher in Role – Thanksgiving and Bear Says Thanks

Topic: Thanksgiving – Bear Says Thanks 
CLI Strategy: Teacher in Role 
Subject: Social Studies 
Grade: Pre K, K

Students will be able to: explore the idea of “giving thanks” by enacting characters and solving problems within the story of Bear Says Thanks


  • Ask Students: What is giving thanks?
  • Read Bear Says Thanks by Karma Wilson.  Stop after: “But he looks through his cupboard, and the cupboard is bare”
  • Transition to Forest Meeting: Explain that all of the animals in the forest got together to decide how they could help Bear. Students choose an animal role. Count down and have students make a statue to show the animal role they chose.
  • Introduce Problem: Explain that Bear has no food in his cupboard and he’s bored. How can we help him?
  • Brainstorm Solutions with students: Take student suggestions for helping bear.
  • Collectively Decide: We will bring bear our favorite foods.
  • Make: Ask students what food they want to bring bear. Draw foods on plates and hand them to students.
  • Pantomime moving through the forest as animals to bring Bear gifts.
  • Teacher in Role as Bear: Explain to students that when you put on hat that you will become Bear. Once teacher is Bear, invite students in and re-explain your problem.
  • Action: Ask students what they brought. Invite them to come forward and show you.
  • New Problem: The students brought Bear all of these wonderful gifts. Bear has nothing to give back. What should Bear do?
  • Decide that maybe the story book has a solution. Invite students to sit while Bear reads them the rest of the story. Once finished, count down to exit role play and return to being students.


  • Who did we help today?
  • How did we help bear? What did bear give you back?
  • How do you show thanks at home?

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