Create a List

List Name

Rename this List
Save to
Back to the Top Teaching Blog
August 25, 2015

Back to School with Charlie the Ranch Dog

By Shari Carter
Grades PreK–K, 1–2

    First of all, I need to give a big shout-out to these little cuties! Even though they were on summer vacation, they agreed to come back to school to help me with my post. When I promised we would be doing art, they cheerfully arrived, ready to go. They were excited to learn that we would be doing a guided drawing of a dog: Charlie the Ranch Dog! Here is a picture of them with their completed drawings. They turned out so cute that I can’t wait to do this with my very own kinders once school begins! There are many ways that students can learn from Charlie and other great characters. Read on for just a few ideas.

     

    Guided Drawing

    What I LOVE about guided drawing is that regardless of grade or age, everyone always seems to have a ton of fun doing it. My little artists here range from PreK all the way up to the fourth grade. You can tell by their smiles that they enjoyed themselves and are very proud of their creations!* Guided drawing can be done with almost any theme and once you get them excited about drawing, it's not difficult to get your students to write about what they have just drawn. Fine motor skills are improved when kids draw and research has proven that students who are exposed to art instruction do much better in reading, math, and science. 

    *To make a cute little hound dog in your very own classroom, first draw an oval for the head. Next, add a smaller oval at the base of the head to make the snout and then add the ears. Draw another long oval for the body and add two circles on the bottom sides of the body. The circles will become the hind legs of your hound dog (which will be sitting). Starting at the dog’s neck, draw two long legs that get wider at the bottom of the body. The bottom of the front legs will be circular in shape and rest just inside of the hind legs. Finally, add a tail, eyes, nose, and a mouth. When your students have completed their drawings, they can outline them with markers and then shade them in with their favorite colors. I used the Activity Village website to help me with this guided drawing lesson.

     

    Icebreakers

    Besides the fact that it is just a really sweet story, one of the reasons I love sharing Charlie Goes to School at the beginning of the school year, is that most kids love dogs. Getting kids to talk about anything during the first few days of school can be painful. Kindergarteners can be very timid; school is so new to them and being away from home for the first time ever can be very hard on these little guys. When you share a book like this, kids instantly have text-to-self connections and become surprisingly excited and eager to talk about their own experiences with dogs. Speaking and listening are important Common Core standards in kindergarten. Sharing books that help to make these connections will most definitely enhance classroom instruction and student learning.

     

    Anchor Charts

    I love anchor charts! I love them simply because they help my students. Kids are so eager to share what they know and have it recorded on the chart. They are able to “anchor” their thinking to these charts and then use them as a reference to help them in their writing. My students repeatedly go up to the charts to see how to spell words. Anchor charts are rich resources and once the kids learn how to use them, these charts can become extremely helpful in their learning. Because students participate in creating these charts, they love coming back to them over and over again. I usually leave the charts up the entire time we are learning about a particular subject. When we start a new theme, we often create a new anchor chart. My kids have quickly come to learn that when they see a new anchor chart, we will soon be learning about something new. We all seem to get very excited about that!

     

    Learning the Alphabet

    There’s no better way to teach the letters in the alphabet than with a student-generated list of words. Although I share many alphabet books, I really love making charts like these. The kids have much more ownership in charts they get to help make.

     

    In kindergarten, "back to school" means introducing and reviewing the alphabet and Charlie the Ranch Dog would be perfect to introduce the letter "D." No, David! is another one of my favorite back-to-school books to share when we are concentrating on that letter. No, David! teaches children about following rules and how important it is to be on your best behavior.

    Here is a quick little activity for the kids to make and take home. My students love any time they get a chance to paint. This craft is easy enough because they paint the spots with their fingers and it is finished lickety-split. Cut out the letter "D" from white paper and glue it to a contrasting background. Let students paint the spots. When the paint dries, the nose, ear, and googly eyes are glued/stuck on and the mouth is drawn with a red sharpie. The end result is the cutest little letter "D" dog that you have ever seen!

     

    Just for Fun

    Last but not least, I have to share what inspired me to do this post in the first place. Author of the Charlie books, Ree Drummond, also hosts a food show and writes a food blog called The Pioneer Woman. Her recipe for Crazy Brownies are not only ridiculously good, they are easy-peasy to make! I've made them several times since reading about them and am thinking of a special occasion I might bring them into my class this year. But warning: there is a lot of sugar in these babies so hand them out sparingly! Give them a try at home first!

    If you love Charlie Goes to School like I think you will, you can find lots of other Ree Drummond books starring this adorable Basset Hound by clicking on this link.

    For addtional information on anchor tips, please check out my fellow bloggers, Rhonda Stewart and Alycia Zimmerman's posts about anchor charts:

    "Anchor Charts as an Effective Teacher/Student Tool"

    "Anchor Charts Revisited"

    "New Anchor Charts for a New Year!"

    If you liked what you read, please take a moment to share and like on Facebook and Pinterest. Thanks so very much for your support!

    Thanks for reading, and have a happy day!

    Shari :)

    P.S. Since we've had all this talk about dogs, I couldn’t resist sharing a picture of my own. This is our dog, Cookie Cutter Twist (we call her Cookie). I'm sure I am a little biased, but I think she is the best dog in the world! 

     

     

     

     

    First of all, I need to give a big shout-out to these little cuties! Even though they were on summer vacation, they agreed to come back to school to help me with my post. When I promised we would be doing art, they cheerfully arrived, ready to go. They were excited to learn that we would be doing a guided drawing of a dog: Charlie the Ranch Dog! Here is a picture of them with their completed drawings. They turned out so cute that I can’t wait to do this with my very own kinders once school begins! There are many ways that students can learn from Charlie and other great characters. Read on for just a few ideas.

     

    Guided Drawing

    What I LOVE about guided drawing is that regardless of grade or age, everyone always seems to have a ton of fun doing it. My little artists here range from PreK all the way up to the fourth grade. You can tell by their smiles that they enjoyed themselves and are very proud of their creations!* Guided drawing can be done with almost any theme and once you get them excited about drawing, it's not difficult to get your students to write about what they have just drawn. Fine motor skills are improved when kids draw and research has proven that students who are exposed to art instruction do much better in reading, math, and science. 

    *To make a cute little hound dog in your very own classroom, first draw an oval for the head. Next, add a smaller oval at the base of the head to make the snout and then add the ears. Draw another long oval for the body and add two circles on the bottom sides of the body. The circles will become the hind legs of your hound dog (which will be sitting). Starting at the dog’s neck, draw two long legs that get wider at the bottom of the body. The bottom of the front legs will be circular in shape and rest just inside of the hind legs. Finally, add a tail, eyes, nose, and a mouth. When your students have completed their drawings, they can outline them with markers and then shade them in with their favorite colors. I used the Activity Village website to help me with this guided drawing lesson.

     

    Icebreakers

    Besides the fact that it is just a really sweet story, one of the reasons I love sharing Charlie Goes to School at the beginning of the school year, is that most kids love dogs. Getting kids to talk about anything during the first few days of school can be painful. Kindergarteners can be very timid; school is so new to them and being away from home for the first time ever can be very hard on these little guys. When you share a book like this, kids instantly have text-to-self connections and become surprisingly excited and eager to talk about their own experiences with dogs. Speaking and listening are important Common Core standards in kindergarten. Sharing books that help to make these connections will most definitely enhance classroom instruction and student learning.

     

    Anchor Charts

    I love anchor charts! I love them simply because they help my students. Kids are so eager to share what they know and have it recorded on the chart. They are able to “anchor” their thinking to these charts and then use them as a reference to help them in their writing. My students repeatedly go up to the charts to see how to spell words. Anchor charts are rich resources and once the kids learn how to use them, these charts can become extremely helpful in their learning. Because students participate in creating these charts, they love coming back to them over and over again. I usually leave the charts up the entire time we are learning about a particular subject. When we start a new theme, we often create a new anchor chart. My kids have quickly come to learn that when they see a new anchor chart, we will soon be learning about something new. We all seem to get very excited about that!

     

    Learning the Alphabet

    There’s no better way to teach the letters in the alphabet than with a student-generated list of words. Although I share many alphabet books, I really love making charts like these. The kids have much more ownership in charts they get to help make.

     

    In kindergarten, "back to school" means introducing and reviewing the alphabet and Charlie the Ranch Dog would be perfect to introduce the letter "D." No, David! is another one of my favorite back-to-school books to share when we are concentrating on that letter. No, David! teaches children about following rules and how important it is to be on your best behavior.

    Here is a quick little activity for the kids to make and take home. My students love any time they get a chance to paint. This craft is easy enough because they paint the spots with their fingers and it is finished lickety-split. Cut out the letter "D" from white paper and glue it to a contrasting background. Let students paint the spots. When the paint dries, the nose, ear, and googly eyes are glued/stuck on and the mouth is drawn with a red sharpie. The end result is the cutest little letter "D" dog that you have ever seen!

     

    Just for Fun

    Last but not least, I have to share what inspired me to do this post in the first place. Author of the Charlie books, Ree Drummond, also hosts a food show and writes a food blog called The Pioneer Woman. Her recipe for Crazy Brownies are not only ridiculously good, they are easy-peasy to make! I've made them several times since reading about them and am thinking of a special occasion I might bring them into my class this year. But warning: there is a lot of sugar in these babies so hand them out sparingly! Give them a try at home first!

    If you love Charlie Goes to School like I think you will, you can find lots of other Ree Drummond books starring this adorable Basset Hound by clicking on this link.

    For addtional information on anchor tips, please check out my fellow bloggers, Rhonda Stewart and Alycia Zimmerman's posts about anchor charts:

    "Anchor Charts as an Effective Teacher/Student Tool"

    "Anchor Charts Revisited"

    "New Anchor Charts for a New Year!"

    If you liked what you read, please take a moment to share and like on Facebook and Pinterest. Thanks so very much for your support!

    Thanks for reading, and have a happy day!

    Shari :)

    P.S. Since we've had all this talk about dogs, I couldn’t resist sharing a picture of my own. This is our dog, Cookie Cutter Twist (we call her Cookie). I'm sure I am a little biased, but I think she is the best dog in the world! 

     

     

     

     

Comments

Share your ideas about this article

Shari's Most Recent Posts
Blog Post
5 Days of Gingerbread Fun!

The weeks before winter break can become long, so take a little extra time to plan some exciting activities to ensure you and your students are having fun learning this month. Read on for a fun and festive Gingerbread Man unit.

By Shari Carter
December 7, 2016
Blog Post
A Thankful Teacher and a Thanksgiving Recipe

I love spending time reflecting on the blessings in my life and hope you do too! Here's my list of things that make this teacher’s heart happy, plus a recipe for a Thanksgiving dish I can't live without!

By Shari Carter
November 22, 2016
Blog Post
5 Stories and Activities for Thanksgiving

If you are planning to read to young students during the days leading to Thanksgiving, these books are perfect! Each story is paired with activities to enhance your learners’ reading experience, and make your teaching just a little bit easier!

By Shari Carter
November 8, 2016
Blog Post
Hip, Hip, Hooray . . . It’s the 50th Day!

Although it seems like we just had our first day of school, here we are, soon-to-be celebrating 50 fabulous days of learning! And with a little preparation, you and your students will be twisting, shouting, and learning 1950s-style.

By Shari Carter
October 25, 2016
Blog Post
Spider Activities Your Class Will Love!

Young children are fascinated with creepy crawly creatures. Teaching a spider unit in the fall is a perfect way to take advantage of this interest. Engaging themes help kids make connections to the real world and get them super excited about learning.

By Shari Carter
October 10, 2016
Blog Post
World Smile Day: Celebrating Kindness at School!

World Smile Day is celebrated on the first Friday of October. When we have more kindness, we will definitely have more smiles! Read on for ideas of introducing and reinforcing compassion and kindness in our students.

By Shari Carter
September 27, 2016
My Scholastic

Susan Cheyney

GRADES: 1-2
About Us