Teachers and students
Teachers have an important task, they need to help students draw important connections in order to retain information that will enable them to be successful in the academic realm and in the life school. This is no small undertaking, particularly now with the oppressive constraints placed on educators due to state assessments that impact both the student and educators alike. So, what does this have to do with dogs?
Dogs and learning
The best way to reach children is by linking the act of learning to themes that they can relate to. The more connections they make, the greater the retention rate.
Children love dogs and believe it or not, this theme provides a fertile foundation in which to thread the learning across the entire curriculum. Now that school is underway, it is a great time to see how dogs can assist students in the classroom.
I. English language arts and dogs
All languages include idioms. Idioms are colloquial expressions (slang expressions) seen in conversational interchanges. It is daunting having to teach this to young children. However, given the theme of interest, dogs, it becomes easier to accomplish this feat.
1. Every dog has its day.
2. Let sleeping dogs lie.
3.You cannot teach an old dog new tricks.
4. The tail is wagging the dog.
5. I am working like a dog.
6. I am in the doghouse.
A more comprehensive listing can be found at The Free Dictionary and Macmillan Dictionary
How many words can you think of with the root, dog? Well, the list begins as follows:
“Don’t get sick as a dog” when perusing the list of words found on: Morewords
E-zine reading: Tails, This is an online magazine that celebrates the relationship between pets and their people. You will find news, events, feature articles of interest, businesses, projects and so much more.
Of particular interest, search out the April 2012 edition titled, Upcycled Sweater Toy and follow the directions to create a stuffed toy for a dog, a great way to reuse a worn out garment, provide a living legacy and infuse the arts into the curriculum.
Books on dogs
a) Love that Dog by Sharon Creech
b) Diary of a Whimpy Kid: Dog Days by Jeff Kinney
c) Walter the Farting Dog by William Kotzwinkle
d) Dog Heaven by Cynthia Rylant
More books are available at: Barnes and Noble
A great way to assist students in becoming more generative writers is to provide interesting artwork that will stimulate thought and touch their hearts. At Art.com there are a number of posters that can be used as story prompts. Students can study the work of art and write about the narrative that emanates from the picture.
II. Social Studies and dogs
Believe it or not, dogs are of service to the community. These dogs are appropriately named, service dogs. Some service dog positions are:
1. Bomb sniffing dogs and drug sniffing dogs Police Dogs
2. Therapy dogs Bide-A-Wee
3. Recovery dogs
4. Firehouse dogs
5. Hero dogs Purple Heart
6. Prison dogs Puppies Behind Bars
7. Iditarod dogs Iditarod
Service learning is also part of the social studies curriculum and money can be raised in support of the Purple Heart hero dogs.
III. Science and dogs
Did you know that petting a dog lowers your blood pressure? Well, it’s true! Therefore, studying this wonderful phenomenon through the scientific method would be intriguing to children. Students can begin their research at WebMD to learn about “heart healthy” pets.
IV. Math and dogs
There are so many breeds of dogs and a great way to learn about graphs would be through the study of dogs. Students could create polls about dog ownership and breeds and document the findings on a bar graph.
Math requires literacy and a great site to assist students in the creation of graphs is, Reading Rockets . Reading Rockets provides a comprehensive understanding of this process and also provides an exemplar and valuable resources.
Also, if the school chooses to run a service-learning program, a banking component can be added. Students can visit a local bank and learn about the banking industry in an authentic way.
V. Career and development and dogs
There are so many dog related businesses. A few of them are:
1. Veterinary sciences (veterinarians, veterinary techs and animal behaviorists)
2. Dog trainers
3. Dog groomers
VI. Physical education and dogs
Can anyone say, “dog pose?” Yes, yoga is a great way to unite the study of dogs to the body, making the learning a total mind-body connection.
How about listening to, Who let the Dogs Out? Music is a great way to enhance learning. Students could even create their own words to this song by adding in things they have learned while studying this theme.
VII. Technology and dogs
Technology is an innovative way to cajole students to learn more. Inviting apps into the academic setting makes toys into tools for learning. Some great dog friendly apps are as follows:
1. MyPetEd-Pet Health Center by LifeLearn, Inc
2. PetPlayPen by Sparebytes.com adopt a virtual pet
3. TouchPetsDogs by Ngmoco, Inc.
You can find other apps at Appadvice
“Putting on the dog”
Dogs aren’t just for show or companion, they are delightful creatures that can make learning comprehensive, experiential and enjoyable. So, invite dogs into your classroom and see your students howl for more.