Harry Goes to Dog School by Scott Menchin
December 6, 2012 in Creative Writing activities, Elementary Educators, Making Personal Connections, Menchin Scott, Personal Connections, Picture Book, Preschool to 1st grade teachers, Reading Skills, Shared Writing, Writing Skills Tags: Inference, picture books about dogs, shared writing activities, silly picture books
*Picture book, preschool through 2nd grade, humorous
*Harry, a little boy, as main character
*Rating: Harry Goes to Dog School is right up my family’s alley. My 2-year-old LOVES “woof-woofs,” and this book teaches a lesson in a subtle way–the grass is not always greener on the other side. Although for just one day, I wouldn’t mind laying around, chewing on my bone. . . (smiles)
Short, short summary: Harry wants to be a dog. He is driving everyone crazy in the family by licking his sister instead of kissing her good night, growling and chasing a cat up the tree, and growling at his oatmeal. His parents decide to send him to dog school. At first, he loves it. He is the star of the class–rolling over and fetching. However, he isn’t so crazy about lunch or nap time. His dog teacher says she can use some help, and he likes that but it is exhausting. He soon misses all the things that boys love to do–play baseball, watch TV, and eat chocolate ice cream! He decides, on his own, that he would like to be a boy and go to regular school–most of the time. . .
So, what do I do with this book?
1. You can teach children to make a pros and cons list with this book. What are the pros of being a dog? What are the cons? What about the pros of being a kid? The cons? Then talk about how people use pros and cons to solve “real” problems–like what to play at recess. You can use this to solve a problem in your classroom or school.
2. Because the text doesn’t come right out and tell students why Harry decides he wants to be a boy again, this is a good discussion point. Students have to infer! from the illustrations and text what is going on in Harry’s mind and even in his parents’. This is a great way to introduce inferring to elementary-aged students.
3. Do your students/children ever wish they could be someone else? Start with this “story” starter: If I could be someone/something else for one day, I would choose . . . (Examples: the President, a dolphin, my mom, a teacher, my baby brother, a cat, etc.) Then they copy their sentence down on their paper (older students can write a few detail sentences, too) and draw an illustration to go with it.