Polar Bear adapted by Bilms.

Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?

Learn how to adapt books for students with CVI (Cortical Visual Impairment) and other disabilities.

Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? by Eric Carl
Adapted by Marguerite Bilms

In this short video, Marguerite Bilms, a teacher in the Deafblind Program at Perkins School for the Blind describes how she has adapted this book by Eric Carle to meet the visual needs of her students who have low vision and cortical visual impairment. Marguerite describes the teaching strategies and adapted materials she has used in this book to teach a range of concepts.

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Transcript: Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?

Marguerite Bilms talk about her adapted version of the Polar Bear.BILMS: Hello, my name is Marguerite Bilms and I’m a teacher at Perkins School for the Blind within the Deafblind program, and I’m currently a preschool teacher and I’m here today to talk to you about adapting story books.

Today I’ve chosen the book “Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?” by Eric Carle. It’s a great book to adapt for toddlers and preschool learners, as it’s fun, simple, and motivating.

I’ve taken the original storybook, there’s a small as well as a large version, and for those of you who are not familiar with the book, it goes as follows:

Polar bear, polar bear, what do you hear? I hear a lion roaring in my ear.

Hand-draw image of a white polar bear.And then we move on to the lion.

So each page has its own particular animal with its color and its own sound. This is great when creating a story box or storybook because you have many options on how you want to teach the student.

So for each animal of the book, I’ve taken the main animal and I’ve chose to hand-draw it and simplify it. This way it has low complexity and high contrast, and the main point is clearly defined.

For those of you who do not want to hand-draw it, you can also take the original book and scan it in and then cut it out, or look on Google. You can find a variety of pictures of the animals on there, or if you’re interested, you can print out pictures of real-life animals, depending on the learner of whom you’re teaching.

In addition to providing the animal on each page, I’ve added a tactile component. This is for students who have Cortical Vision Impairment, low vision, or total blindness.

There’s a bunch of variety; you can work on auditory skills as far as the animal sounds. You can work on tactile skills; feeling and exploring it. My primary purpose of this book was to work on color concepts for a preschool learner who was 4 years old.

In addition, we’re working on a lot of pre-literacy skills, such as scanning left to right, top to bottom, which is essential for early learners and early readers. We are working on color identification, we are working on turn-taking skills; whose turn is it to turn the page?

Whose turn is it to pick an animal, when I’m asking for identification, as well as whose turn is it to make the more silly of a sound. If you’d like, you can add in an iPad in order to have the student press the iPad to activate an animal sound if they are unable to vocalize themselves.

Marguerite exchange the word white with bear.This book in particular was designed for a student who’s working on color identification, so for exposure, I’ve provided one word that clearly defines what I’m looking for: white. White polar bear.

For those who are working on a different concept development, you could exchange the “white” with “bear”. So we’re talking about bear, which is more abstract.

So I chose not to work on it at this early stage, but eventually, you can combine it and make a sentence, so “the white bear.”

So we go through the book, we have our white polar bear with a dried sponge, we have our sparkly lion, our blue sparkly hippopotamus, our silky smooth pink flamingo, our very bumpy black and white zebra, our bumpy, rubbery snake, our shiny-ear elephant, our plastic, bumpy cheetah, our shiny peacock, and our very fancy zookeeper wearing his very own button-up sweater.

The book has page bumpers for those working on fine motor skills.In addition to the book being held together with binders, I’ve also provided page bumpers for those students who are working on their fine motor skills to be able to turn the pages themselves and be able to orient the book.

They are provided on the bottom left hand side.

In order to create this book I first cut out the pictures and put them onto black construction paper with regular glue sticks. Then I laminated the pages and added the tactile components with hot glue after-the-fact as to not ruin the lamination.

While lamination is great and it preserves the book, it can also be a distractor, as it provides glare, so you must be aware of your environmental conditions when constructing a lesson with a student. So that was an adapted version of “Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?” by Eric Carle and that’s today’s teachable moment.

polar bear collage

Presented by Marguerite Bilm

Length of time to complete: approximately 5 minutes

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