How a Mini Story Opens Up a World of Learning

By
Anna Starecheski

Here at Storyworks Jr., one of our missions is to open doors of curiosity in your students’ minds. Even our short pieces are great jumping-off points for further exploration.  We were especially taken with our February 2018 Word Power feature on Stubby, the World War I hero dog that captured the hearts of Americans. The topic is a springboard for further exploration about working dogs, World War I, and America in the early 1900s. We also find that learning extensions such as these are a great way to incorporate self-directed constructed learning environments into your classroom. We love giving students the opportunity to focus some time and energy on things that fascinate them. Here are a few resources that will get your students started.

TO WATCH: The video “Into the World of Military Working Dogs”

TO DO:  Write a compare-and-contrast essay

Check out this video from the Storyworks archives about military working dogs.

LEARNING TASK: Ask your students to describe how being a military dog now is different from Stubby’s day. 

 

TO READA historical fiction book about a rescue dog

TO DO: Write a letter

Kate Messner’s delightful series of books, Ranger in Time (grades 2-5), centers on a time-traveling golden retriever named Ranger. Trained as a search-and-rescue dog, Ranger goes on all sorts of fun adventures and always saves the day. Your students are sure to be captivated by this spunky pooch!

LEARNING TASK: As a fun assignment, have them write letters to Ranger telling him what his next adventure should be and how he could use his special skills to save the day.

TO READ: A biography about Stubby the war dog himself

TO DO: Make a poster

If your students want to know even more about the courageous and charming Stubby, they can check out this immersive nonfiction book: Stubby the War Dog: The True Story of World War I’s Bravest Dog by Ann Bausum. This book tells the full story of Stubby and is chock full of fascinating photographs.

LEARNING TASK: If your students were inspired by the photographs in this book, have them find more online and make a poster about Stubby telling the story of his life. 

TO EXPLORE: Two wonderful websites about World War I

TO DO: Identify fascinating facts about WWI

To learn more about World War I, check out two great websites for kids: National Geographic Kids and the BBC's website for kids.

LEARNING TASK: Have each student create a list of at least five of the most surprising or interesting aspects of the war. 

 

 

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