Animal Heroes - Grades 1-3
- Understand the ways in which animals work for us or help us.
- Participate in shared listening of stories about working animals.
- Relate aspects of stories to personal feelings.
- Build vocabulary about personal traits.
- Create, illustrate and enact stories about working animals.
Children usually enjoy reading about animals, so animal stories can motivate reluctant readers. In addition, many students do not appreciate the many ways in which animals work to help us, so the content increases appreciate of our animal friends.
Curriculum Connection: Alberta Education Program of Studies
English Language Arts
Grade 1: Discover and Explore
- Share personal experiences that are clearly related to oral, print and other media texts.
- Talk with others about something recently learned.
Grade 1: Respond to Texts
- Participate in shared listening, reading and viewing experiences.
- Illustrate and enact stories, rhymes and songs.
Grade 2: Discover and Explore
- Contribute relevant ideas and information from personal experiences to group language activities.
- Talk about how new ideas and information have changed previous understanding.
Grade 2: Respond to Texts
- Engage in a variety of shared and independent listening, reading and viewing experiences.
Grade 3: Discover and Explore
- Connect prior knowledge and personal experiences with new ideas and information in oral, print and other media texts.
- Explain understanding of new concepts in own words.
Grade 3: Respond to Texts
- Experiment with ways of generating and organizing ideas prior to creating oral, print and other media texts.
Ask students if they have ever heard of working animals. What kinds of jobs can animals do?
- police dogs
- search and rescue dogs
- seeing eye dogs
- farm horses
- animal actors
Ask a few students to relate stories of seeing an animal at work. Do animals like to work? Can they do some things people can’t do?
Depending on students’ age and the story you choose to read, you may want to pre-teach:
- therapy (as used in therapy animals)
- search and rescue
- disabled, handicap
- bond ( between animal and human)
- domestic (versus wild)
Read aloud to students one or more stories about working animals:
- The Special Work of Therapy Animals
- four short descriptions.
- Dr. Dog’s Rx
- a short description of Alar the Sheltie, a therapy dog from Best Friends
- A Magical Bond
- a colourful ASPCA 4-page booklet for young students on therapy animals with information, stories, post reading questions and word scramble
- Working Animals 1
- another ASPCA 4-page booklet for young students on working animals (therapy, actors, search and rescue) with information, stories, and post reading picture matching exercise
Did students learn about some new types of animal jobs such as therapy cats?
What characteristics do animals need to be good at these jobs? Make a list of adjectives for different animal jobs (strong, smart, patient, kind, good nose, etc).
Compare jobs of animals and people:
- Training - if they like working, where they work, how they get paid/rewarded, having a boss
- What is the same? What is different? Try using a Venn diagram to organize the information.
Draw a picture about one of the stories and add a caption.
- If you were a dog(or cat or horse), what kind of helper would you be? Why?
- If your pet were able to talk about getting a job, what would he say?
Do the American Veterinary Medical Association Helping Hounds matching exercise: animal job titles with descriptions.
Invite a handler of a working animal to come and visit the classroom ( e.g. handlers for police dogs, therapy dogs)