Papa Bear Repays a Visit

story by Garry McNulty , illustrated by Anna Bron

Learning Intention:


I am learning to examine the context in which the story is written and how this shapes characters’ reactions so that I can create believable characters.


Success Criteria:


  • I can examine stories to identify the context that guides each character’s opinions.
  • I can consider alternative perspectives.
  • I can experiment with showing a character’s context based on their behaviour.


Essential knowledge:


View the video Character from the English Textual Concepts.

Inform students that the opinions held by characters are due to the experiences they have encountered.

Oral language and communication


Ensure students understand that the context of an idea means the circumstances that need to be known to fully understand an idea.

Briefly retell the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, ensuring you include the following plot points:

  • Goldilocks visits the Three Bears’ house uninvited.
  • She eats their porridge and breaks their chair.
  • She then falls asleep in one of their beds.


Discuss the following:

  • How do you think the bears will feel after Goldilocks has been in their home? (Annoyed, frustrated, upset)
  • What might their reaction be? (They might be angry at her and try to seek revenge)


Understanding text:


Read the first page of Papa Bear Repays a Visit or listen to the audio file if you have a digital subscription, up to the end of page 32. Discuss the following:

  • How does Mama Bear feel about Goldilocks’s visit? (She is angry and upset)
  • What is she afraid of? (She believes humans carry diseases and she is worried that their home is infected with human germs)
  • How much interaction do you think Mama Bear has had with humans? (Minimal interaction, she is afraid of humans and humans are most likely afraid of bears)
  • What is the context impacting Mama Bear’s opinion? (She has never encountered a human visitor before, and she finds Goldilocks’s behaviour abhorrent as she wouldn’t behave in the same way herself)
  • How does Papa Bear feel about Mama Bear’s reaction to Goldilocks’s visit? (He sits quietly and listens to his wife complain, he wishes they could forget the whole incident, he isn’t worried about human germs, and he rolls his eyes when Mama Bear mentions this)

Continue reading to the end of the story or listen to the audio file. Refer students to Papa Bear’s reactions and discuss the following:

  • What does Papa Bear do in reaction to Goldilock’s visit? (He is hungry, so he goes to visit Goldilocks’s house. When he sees her family leave, he goes inside their home and eats their food, he accidentally breaks their chair then he goes upstairs for a nap in their bed)
  • How does Papa Bear react when he arrives back home and hears Mama Bear complaining about feeling violated? (He has a sheepish grin, which implies he feels guilty or embarrassed as he has behaved in a similar way)
  • What is the context that forms Papa Bear’s opinion? (He has behaved in the same way as Goldilocks; therefore, he has an insight into her perspective)


Creating text:


Inform students that they will be composing dialogue between Papa Bear and Baby Bear. Tell students that they will be focusing on Papa Bear’s perspective now that he has some insight into Goldilocks’s behaviour after behaving the same way.

Refer back to Papa Bear Repays a Visit to identify how Baby Bear reacts after they discover Goldilocks has been in the bears’ home. Ensure students note that Baby Bear is upset and is crying. When Mama Bear mentions human germs, Baby Bear ceases crying and inspects the pillow and blanket for germs.

Discuss how Papa Bear might explain the situation to Baby Bear. For example, he might make excuses for Goldilocks or try to normalize her behaviour.

Place students in pairs. Tell students to compose a brief interaction between Baby Bear and Papa Bear based on Papa Bear’s context. Instruct students to note their ideas in their workbooks as a script before role-playing with a partner. Tell students to ensure both of the pair have a turn acting as Baby Bear and as Papa Bear.

Once students have experimented with creating their interactions, place them in small groups. Instruct students to take turns performing their interactions to one and other. Tell students to provide feedback on the interactions to each other, focusing on how well the character Papa Bear reveals his context of having some insight into Goldilocks’s behaviour.

Those with a digital subscription can complete the interactive activity now.


Assessment for/as learning:


Display the following exit ticket questions and instruct students to respond to them in their workbooks:

  • How does understanding context provide explanations for character’s opinions? (It provides insight and perspective)
  • How might you use this when creating characters? (I might consider the context my characters are viewing situations from before identifying their reactions)