Bear Necessities of Writing



“How often during a writing activity does a student write - I have a dog, and the teacher responds, “Okay, but I want more detail.” The student writes, it is a cool dog and then the teacher asks, “What color is your dog?” The student then writes it is a pretty color. Teacher asks, “How big is your dog?” The student responds, it’s a nice size. Teacher asks, “What does his face look like?” The student responds, it is really cute.


 In the end the writing looks something like this…


“I have a dog.  It is a cool dog.  It is a pretty color.  It is a nice size.  It is really cute.”

The Bear Necessities of Writing was created by Debbie Quick to teach her grade 1 students how to be better writers. Debbie, a teacher for 30 years has a Masters in Literacy and currently works as a Literacy Consultant in Alberta, Canada.


The Bear Necessities Writing Toolbox provides a variety of tools children use as cues to help them add detail to their writing. They learn to "crack open" words like "old" or "cute" to make a sentence that better describes what "old" or "cute" looks like, creating a vivid picture in the minds of their readers. When the children have developed the vivid description they re-read their story and highlight words that create the pictures in the minds of the reader. Finally they  dress their model bear with one accessory for every descriptive word.

The better dressed their bear becomes the higher the quality of their writing. An interesting looking bear is a result of an interesting story that created images in the minds of the reader.


Students learn to turn plain sentences like, "The lady was old" into sentences like, “The wrinkled face, grey haired lady scuffed her feet as she slowly walked down the street.”


Which sentence creates the more vivid image of the lady in the mind of the reader?




In The


The Bear Necessities of Writing APP is now available at the iTunes APP Store.

Find out more about the Bear Necessities at ATA Teacher Conventions: North Central Feb 5,

Calgary Feb 13, Red Deer Feb 19, Palliser Feb 20, Edmonton Feb 26 and Grande Prairie Mar 6, 2015

Pick up the latest edition of the Bear Necessities Lesson Plan Book. Available in print format.